Fitness: fact or fiction
Dispelling the myths of exercise
Within the fitness industry, we are so fortunate that there is a huge amount of information available at our fingertips! Whilst largely helpful, due to the sheer volume of information there has been a wealth of false information that has weeded its way into fitness culture. We’re dispelling some of these myths as they can often deter people from starting on their fitness journey or could even cause them harm when they do…
Fiction: ‘Calories are all that matter’
Fact: ‘Giving your body the valuable nutrients it needs, is far more sustainable’
Whilst it is important to create a calorie deficit to lose weight, or a calorie surplus to gain weight, they aren't the be-all and end-all of nutrition.
The truth is it does matter what you eat but it’s better to opt for mindful eating: listening to your body’s needs rather than restricting.
It’s important to fuel your body with the nutrients it needs to replenish, and these nutrients come from every food group. Choosing a balance of foods that are high in protein, nutrient-dense, healthy fat or high-fibre as well as making sure you enjoy what you eat, is a far more sustainable way to achieve long-term success whatever your goal.
A good consideration for both calories and exercise is that they work hand-in-hand and whilst calories are not the ‘be-all and end-all of nutrition’, exercise is not a ‘band-aid’ solution. A healthy balance of both factors will ultimately lead to a healthy, sustainable lifestyle.
Read our Gut Health Pointer to find out how to get to grips with the gut.
Fiction: ‘Lifting weights will make you bulky’
Fact: ‘Lifting weights will make you bulky, when accompanied by a calorie surplus’
One of the oldest myths in the book is the idea that weightlifting will make you appear bigger, or that it is only suitable for men or younger individuals.
Whilst weightlifting will increase muscle growth, it will promote the appearance of a leaner, more toned body as well as contributing to better balance and mobility – crucial as you start to age.
Muscle also contributes massively towards increased metabolism long-term, making resistance exercise an efficient way to increase your output.
It is worth noting that weightlifting alone will not create a ‘bulky’ appearance, it is the process of eating within a calorie surplus (ingesting more calories than the body needs to maintain its current level) in addition to weight training that will cause the muscles to appear bigger.
Fiction: ‘No pain, no gain’
Fact: ‘Focus on good form and give your body time to rest and recover’
Sweat and feeling sore are not signs of a ‘good’ workout. In fact, actively trying to achieve any of these things can be dangerous – leading to injury and long-term counterproductivity.
Many people experience DOMS (delayed onset muscle soreness) – otherwise known as the pain you feel following a workout – when they are new to a movement or weight.
Often associated with progress, the reality is that the feeling is an inaccurate measure, with some people never experiencing the feeling.
Instead, focus on good form and progressive overload at your own pace when it comes to your workouts and take time to properly rest and recover.
Fiction: ‘The longer the workout the better’
Fact: ‘Consistency and longevity over time is more important’
Duration is not a sign of effort. In the same way that pain isn’t.
Any amount of time spent in the gym, a workout class, pool or simply a gentle walk outside in the fresh air is beneficial and should be rewarded. But when it comes to progress – shorter workouts like HIIT (high intensity interval training) are still underestimated.
Find out why a 30 minute workout can actually be more beneficial than a longer one, and why you should listen to your own body and honour consistency and longevity over short bursts of motivation when it comes to your journey to better fitness.
Sources: https://www.health.harvard.edu/staying-healthy/stop-counting-calories | https://www.parkview.com/community/dashboard/does-weight-training-make-you-bulky | https://health.clevelandclinic.org/is-your-exercise-causing-good-or-bad-pain-how-to-tell/