Since I started getting serious about fitness stuff, I’ve been getting a ton of inspiration and ideas from the Internet. YouTube videos, blog posts, academic research studies, you name it. The Internet is a fantastic resource for finding everything from workouts to recipes to general wellness advice. However, there’s always misinformation spreading around online, and some of that false info is particularly pervasive. In today’s post, I’m sharing some of my biggest pet peeves when it comes to the fitness myths I find online.
“How to Lose Fat From Your *Insert Body Part Here*”
I’d love if you could somehow target where you lose your fat from, the way that so many Pinterest graphic workouts say you can. I’d lose it all from my stomach and not at all from my boobs, thank you very much. Unfortunately, fat loss doesn’t work like that. Fat loss occurs all over your body – genetics largely determine where you lose fat from the fastest – and you lose fat from a caloric deficit and cardiovascular exercise. Lunges alone won’t give you a thigh gap.
1,200-calorie a day diets
Your body needs fuel to do its best, and 1,200 calories more than likely isn’t enough fuel for someone who is exercising regularly and living an otherwise healthy lifestyle. Diets like this aren’t sustainable and cause your body to go into survival mode, which actually makes it harder to lose fat. Figure out what your basal metabolic rate (BMR) is, factor in the calories you burn from exercise, and subtract around 500 calories from there (that’ll put you on track to lose about 1 pound per week). For me, that number is close to 1,800 calories, which is totally off from that 1,200 number I was once aiming for. Give your body the fuel it needs.
High emphasis on cardio
Cardiovascular exercise is great. There are all sorts of health benefits associated with regular cardiovascular exercise, like a reduced risk of heart disease and Type 2 diabetes. It’s also important if you want to lose weight, because it’ll help burn off calories and put your body in a slight caloric deficit (notice I said slight, see previous section for why anything more extreme probably isn’t a great idea). However, a truly balanced exercise routine should also include some sort of strength training. Building muscle will help raise your metabolism, which will, in turn, help you lose fat faster. Whether you like lifting weights or going to a strength-based class like Pure Barre, adding some sort of strength training to your workout routine will help you achieve your fitness goals much more effectively than cardio alone.
Lifting weights = making you bulky
This myth isn’t as common as it used to be, but it still gets perpetrated nonetheless. The way that you put on a significant amount of muscle is by “bulking” – aka workout out and eating in a caloric surplus. If you’re not eating in that surplus, your body won’t be producing some massive amount of muscle that’ll turn you into a female bodybuilder. (If you want to turn into a female bodybuilder though, by all means, go for it. Those women are impressive.) You can lift weights and still stay relatively lean.
The only way to lift is to lift heavy
Yes, if you’re trying to put on muscle, lifting heavy is the fastest way to do that. That doesn’t mean that lifting lighter weights or doing bodyweight workouts won’t get you results. If you don’t want to lift heavy, whether it be due to risk of injury or just a dislike of heavy lifting, you don’t have to. You’ll still see results doing high-rep, low-weight workouts if that’s what you’d prefer to do.
Any other fitness myths you’ve spotted on the Internet that get on your nerves?