Can you exercise ‘off’ bad eating habits? Will lifting weights really make you bulky? If you do an ab workout challenge, will it help you lose stomach fat? If you’re into health and fitness, these are likely all questions you’ve asked yourself at some point. Not to worry, in this blog we are busting 5 of the most common fitness myths to help clear things up!
Don’t Fall For These 5 Common Fitness Myths
Busted! We’re dishing up the science
20 Jul, 2022
1. You can exercise ‘off’ a bad diet
If you’re trying to lose weight, technically yes, exercise may help you lose weight. However, it would be pretty impractical. You see, when it comes to weight loss, calories in must be less than calories used. As such, since exercise helps you burn calories, it can be useful for weightloss. But, if you’re going well above your daily caloric needs (easy to do on a diet high in unhealthy fats, sugar and processed carbohydrates), then relying on exercise alone would be unsustainable – you would need to set aside a lot of time and effort everyday to burn off the calories you’re consuming. Instead, the easier option is to start making healthier choices when it comes to the foods you eat. For example, eating plenty of fruits and vegetables – foods that are naturally nutritious and lower in calories.
The second part to busting this myth is that a bad diet can put you at risk of certain health issues, such as type 2 diabetes, certain cancers, and cardiovascular diseases. Unfortunately, exercise can’t reverse these risks if you continue to eat an unhealthy diet. Eating a balanced diet full of fruits, vegetables, lean protein and healthy fats is key to decreasing your risk of these diseases, while also doing exercise.
2. Lifting weights will make you bulky
Becoming ‘bulky’ from lifting weights is a common belief and concern many women have when embarking on a fitness journey. However, it’s simply not true. In fact, becoming ‘bulky’ is actually quite difficult. For this to happen, you have to be consistently lifting heavy weights and eating in a calorie surplus. On top of this, women generally have lower levels of the muscle-building hormone, testosterone, compared to males (on average about 90% lower!). This makes it even harder for women to ‘bulk’ up. If you’re a male looking to build muscle, lucky you! You naturally have higher levels of this hormone, helping you to build more muscle and build it faster!
Fun fact: The muscle you do build from weight training will actually help increase your metabolism (muscle is metabolically efficient), helping you to burn more calories at rest and lose weight.
3. You can target fat loss
Who else has done an ab challenge in hopes it will shed some stomach fat? Unfortunately, when it comes to fat loss, the body does not discriminate which parts you will lose it from. This is because muscle cells do not use fat as fuel. They use glucose, which it stored in the muscles as glycogen. When these glycogen levels are low (i.e. after about 30-60 minutes of aerobic exercise), or when you’re in a calorie deficit, your body only then turns to its fat reserves for extra fuel. This fat comes from anywhere in the body, not just one specific area.
Although you can’t choose where to lose fat, you can increase fat loss by eating a healthy diet and including a mix of cardio and strength training in your fitness regime. You can also decide what areas you want to look more toned and defined by doing workouts that target certain parts of your body.
4. You need to eat lots of protein
Protein is important when it comes to achieving your fitness goals as it aids in muscle growth and helps you feel fuller for longer. However, eating lots of protein is not necessarily better. Most experts agree that eating a healthy balanced diet where you hit a modest protein intake should be enough. So, hold off on purchasing that expensive protein powder if you’re already eating a nutritious diet – your body will just excrete any excess protein you consume!
How much protein should you be eating then?
Most experts agree you should consume 0.8g of protein per kilo of body weight. However, if you’re exercising regularly, this could be around 1.1-1.5 grams per kilogram, or up to 1.2-1.7 grams if you’re lifting heavy weights or training for an event.1 Additionally, it’s a good idea to spread your protein intake out across your meals throughout the day. That is, having a protein source with each meal and potentially snack – don’t save it all for one big meal at the end of the day! This is because research suggests spreading protein intake out throughout the day can lead to better muscle growth.2
5. You need to do intense workouts daily
With the fitness world promoting many rigorous HIIT style workout challenges for weight loss, you’d be forgiven for thinking this was the only way to get fit! Although its true that vigorous exercise is most efficient, you definitely don’t need to do it on a daily basis to reap the benefits. In fact, research suggests just getting off the couch and going for a walk will give you some impressive health benefits.3
So, how many times a week should you do rigorous exercise? For adults, its recommended 1.25-2.5 hours per week, and supplementing this with 2.5-5 hours of moderate intensity exercise.4 Additionally, its also good to do strength training twice a week.
We’re all unique, your workout regime should be too
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