When it comes to getting fit, it can be tempting to believe that doing squats every day can give us results in no time, or that eating a daily protein bar can change our lives. Unfortunately, there are a number of common myths about getting fit that are just not true, no matter how many times we read them on the internet. If we really want to get fit, we need to be able to separate the fact from fiction.
"Think about the last time you were out with friends and someone was looking particularly svelte," says certified trainer Brynn Putnam, founder of Refine Method, over email. "Whether they were swearing by spin classes, Pilates, pole dancing, or P90x, you probably wanted to sign up immediately. Maybe they didn't mention they also overhauled their diet and stopped taking elevators. Maybe this friend was a college athlete and always looks amazing. The point is, you owe it to yourself to look at the science and not be drawn in by anecdotal evidence."
It's hard to know what to believe when it comes to fitness, so it's not uncommon for these myths to be perpetuated, but they doesn't necessarily mean they work. If you're on a mission to kick that booty into shape, you might want to pay attention to these 11 super common myths about getting fit that have been busted, once and for all.
1. Weight Lifting Makes You Bulky
I've heard this one time and time again: "I don't want to lift weights because I don't want to look too ripped." Well, there's no need to worry. "The vast majority of women who engage in resistance training will not blow up to the size of a professional female bodybuilder," says certified personal trainer Travis Pollen over email. Plus, there's nothing wrong with wanting to build muscle and get strong — that's not a bad thing.
2. It's Expensive
You don't need to spend big money to eat well and get in shape. "Walking is 100 percent free (and one of the most under-rated forms of exercise) and everyone has a pair of sneakers," says healthy living blogger GiGi Dubois over email. "Also, a $6 meal from a fast food restaurant might sound like a 'great deal' but you can get a pound of chicken breast for the same price."
3. You Should Cut Carbs
"Carbs are not the enemy," says online trainer and health coach Tangia Renee Estrada over email. "The key is to cut back on simple carbs like white bread, crackers, and granola bars. Switch out simple carbs for quality carbs like veggies, beans, and oats."
4. You Need To Eat A Low-Calorie Diet
"While it's true the average American consumes more calories than they need, it's not necessarily because they eat too much food," says certified fitness trainer and exercise nutrition coach Stephen Box over email. "Instead of focusing on eating less, focus on eating better. The average fast food meal contains in excess of 1,000 calories but doesn't pack much nutrient value. Instead focus on getting a quality protein, complex or smart carb, non-starchy vegetable, and healthy fat at each meal."
5. It's Only A Good Workout If You Sweat
"Although being drenched in sweat post-workout may indicate that you've had a rather intense workout, a lack of sweat doesn't necessarily mean that you didn't," says Reebok trainer Jamie Eason over email. "Some people can exercise with very little intensity and sweat a lot while someone else could be working very hard and sweat very little. Gender and the number of sweat glands a person possesses can also be factors."
6. You Can Work Off A Bad Diet
Most of us have had a moment where we ate too much of our favorite food and thought, I'll just run one extra mile tomorrow. "The idea that if you just work out harder, you'll counter balance the bad meals has no scientific basis," says certified personal trainer Rui Li over email. Eating healthy food is just as important as working out, and trying to outrun a bad diet only messes with your hormones and makes it harder to get fit. Healthy, mindful eating habits are more important than never eating one of your favorite foods — moderation is key.
7. Crunches Give You Crazy Abs
"Sadly, no amount of crunches or any abdominal exercise alone will give you a flat stomach," says Eason. "Spot reducing is just is not possible. You cannot pick and choose where you lose weight. You must take a comprehensive approach to both exercise and nutrition." Weight loss doesn't necessarily equate to better fitness, and more comprehensive exercise can help benefit you in other ways such as building muscle and improving your energy levels.
8. More Is Better
Going to the gym for one hour isn't necessarily better than going for 30 minutes. Time-efficient workouts that target major muscle groups and work on a deep level are far more effective than lengthy, un-targeted workouts," says fitness expert Erica Gragg, founder of Escape to Shape, over email. In fact, research from McMaster University found that even just one minute of all-out exercise in a 12 minute workout routine can be equivalent to 45 minutes of moderate exercise.
9. You Need To Load Up On Protein
"Everybody needs protein to rebuild and repair muscles, but overloading on protein will get you nowhere," says Gold’s Gym Fitness Institute Member, Robert Reames over email. "There’s only a certain amount of nutrients your body can handle before it just turns to waste."According to the Academy Of Nutrition And Dietetics, six to seven daily ounces of lean meat provides enough protein for most athletes.
10. Diet Teas Can Help Get You In Shape
Fitness teas are all over Instagram, but they're not all they seem cracked out to be. "[Teas] can have some positive effects on fitness, like providing energy for workouts, hydration, and speeding the metabolism a bit," says physician assistant Kate Martino over email. "Teas will not be the magical cure and undue a bad diet. They act more synergistically with good food choices and consistent exercise."
11. Morning Is The Best Time To Workout
"Although a sunrise workout might help to clear your head before the day starts, the time of day that you choose to sweat it out doesn’t necessarily matter," says Karena Dawn, co-founder of Tone It Up, over email. "The most important thing to consider when deciding on a time for your workout is making sure you can stick to it and that it works for you."
When in doubt, eating well and regularly exercising can help you get fit — quick-fix schemes and short-cut tricks aren't usually the answer.
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