In the world of health and fitness there can be a lot of conflicting advice. Magazines and blogs are full of rules about what you should or should not do and sometimes it can be hard to know who to listen to. One of the reasons I started this blog was to try and filter out some of that noise and share some of the knowledge I’ve learnt that has delivered real results. Here are just a few of the misconceptions that I’ve come across so read on as I debunk 5 fitness myths!
Fitness Myth 1. Cardio alone will get you a six pack
Cardiovascular exercise like running, cycling, rowing or swimming is of course really important for maintaining a healthy body and your overall fitness levels. It’s also the most effective way of burning fat and is a key part of your workout toolkit for revealing those abs. However, depending on your goals, frequent and intensive cardio is not always the best solution. Building a great physique means increasing muscle mass first otherwise you’ll have nothing there to ‘cut’ back to. Don’t overlook the importance of resistance training (weights) as this should form the bedrock of your workout plan.
Instead, try switching your weight training sessions to high volume (high repetitions) with lower weight to increase muscle size and burn fat by increasing the intensity of your training – aim for repetitions of 15-20 and rest breaks of only 30-60 seconds.
Fitness Myth 2. Lifting heavier weights will increase muscle size
A classic mistake you see in the gym is people trying to lift weights that are too heavy for them and as a result they have terrible form. One thing I’ve learnt over the last few years is that it is so important to really focus on getting the full range of movement when you contract or extend your muscles in each exercise. Tempted to up the weight? Focus on perfect technique first. If you’re finding an exercise too easy then slow down the speed to make it tougher, do drop sets or ‘negatives’ – check out this great post for an overview.
Fitness Myth 3. Cutting out carbs is the best way to get lean
I’ve mentioned this before but it’s important to remember that carbs are not bad! They are an important part of a balanced diet, helping to fuel the body. Reducing carbs significantly for a sustained period of time can ultimately have a detrimental impact on your physique as your body will start to eat into its own energy stores and you will lose that hard earned tone or muscle mass. If you’re trying to get in shape for a specific event like a holiday for example, then gradually reduce your carbs as you get closer to the event instead of cutting out carbs altogether.
Fitness Myth 4. Cardio exercise is all about hitting the treadmill every day for as long as possible
You don’t have to do boring cardio for 40 minutes every day to get a great beach body. When I’ve been training specifically to get lean I have only ever done 3 sessions a week of 20 minute high intensity interval training (HIIT) – check out my post for some examples on how to save time and see maximum results.
Fitness Myth 5. You can deliver miracle ‘transformations’ in 6-8 weeks
Now this one is a bit of a hard home truth. Yes it is possible to deliver some serious noticeable progress within 6-8 weeks if you have a consistent and disciplined diet and you show real commitment in the gym. But many online training programmes really are selling a myth if they tell you it’s possible to go from overweight to a cover model physique in under 10 weeks. This is a long term game which is all about consistency and steady progress. That’s the only way you can deliver sustainable gains that won’t disappear as soon as you eat a pizza and chips!