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Health and Fitness Myths

02nd November 2016

Don’t you just hate that feeling you get when you look in the mirror over time and the results of your hard work just aren’t what you expected? You’ve probably turned your lifestyle upside down to get the body you desire and what do you see? Nothing! But could you have been making mistakes without even knowing it? I mean, not eating a McDonalds every night is obviously a great place to start, as well as switching bad foods for healthier choices -but unfortunately sometimes what we think is right is oh-so wrong! So we’re going to the record straight and tell you which health and fitness ‘facts’ have been fibs all along.

MYTH: You can target certain part of your body to lose weight

Why aren’t those agonising lunges we’ve been doing for months making my legs slimmer?! Don’t we all wish it was that simple to target specific areas - hate to break it to you, but that’s just not how it works. You can’t pick and choose which body part you lose weight from, but through a mix of different workouts and a healthy diet, you can reduce your total body fat percentage – meaning you can then focus on which areas you want to tone up and build muscle on.  

MYTH: Lifting weights will make you bulky

I bet a lot of you avoid the weight rack for this reason! Don’t believe everything you hear. Everyone’s body responds differently to various workouts - that’s what makes us all so unique.  It is correct that some of us are naturally prone to be bigger and some people have muscles that show more than others. However, unless you are going out your way to lift weights like The Hulk, then you are pretty much safe; occasional weight training will be a great addition to your workout. In fact, the combination of weights, cardio and healthy eating can slim you down as well as tone you up, so maybe heading to the weight rack isn’t such a bad idea after all.  

MYTH: Low-fat products are better for you than full-fat products

We know the guilt disappears as soon as we purchase that low-fat option because we think we’re choosing a far healthier option. But let me tell you the truth – a lot of low-fat products can be filled with extra carbs, sugars and sweeteners to ensure it tastes just as good. Just try to remember the helpful phrase ‘everything in moderation’ – a little fat and sugar in your diet isn’t bad for you – especially if they’re the right kinds. For example, monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fats help to maintain healthy cholesterol levels and provide us with essential fatty acids like omega-3, which are important for good health. So sometimes it can be better to opt for the regular product, as opposed to one which contains a mountain of artificial ingredients!

MYTH: If you’re not working up a sweat you can’t be working hard enough

Some people drip buckets of sweat and yet others can stay bone dry during exercise - stop comparing yourself to others! Just like some people have thick hair and some people have thin hair, there is nothing you can do about it. Sweating is your body’s natural way of cooling down; whether that’s from getting too hot sitting in the sun or from a hard workout. You might not be dripping in sweat, but you could be out of breath instead or feel it deep within your muscles. You know yourself if you’ve worked hard, gave 100% and trained to the best of your ability, so don’t let anything else affect your positivity.

MYTH: Running beats walking

Running and walking are very similar in the sense that they target the same muscle groups. They also almost produce the same results too, as both methods are great for weight loss and improving general health. If you’re in rush then running is ideal as it allows you to get a higher intensity workout in a short space of time. However, if the sun is shining or you aren’t feeling as motivated for some reason, then taking your dog for a walk or lowering the speed on the treadmill to a steady pace is still an effective way of working out, and will be just as good as going for a run in terms of sticking to a healthier lifestyle.

MYTH: Carbs are bad for you

This is a classic – almost every dieting article you read online shuns carbs as if they are the key to obesity. Who knows how this myth began, but carbs are in fact an essential part of your diet. Trust me - without carbs, you would be falling asleep on the cross trainer! Carbs are our main source of energy and if you want to achieve your goals faster, then carbs are the ideal nutrient before a workout! Try eating some fresh fruit and veg before your workout and you’ll be bouncing around the gym in no time. A word of warning however: caution is needed when it comes to processed carbs, which have little to no nutritional value and strip away beneficial fibre – keep an eye out for them in frozen ready meals especially.

MYTH: You need to drink 8 glasses of water a day

Obviously, there is nothing wrong with drinking a lot of water except from the fact you might be running backwards and forwards to the toilet all day! However, you do not need to push yourself to drink 8 glasses - food itself contains a lot of water so your natural daily intake is in fact already more than you think. Of course, ditching the fizzy drinks and juices for water is a great healthy change, but certainly don’t sicken yourself off your new regime by downing too much water. Just make sure to stay hydrated, especially during and after exercise!  

So, remember - don’t be fooled by fitness fibs! If drinking 8 glasses of water a day is totally fine for you, or you prefer running to walking, then that’s great! Each individual person is different and what works for one person may very well not work for another - just as long as you know that what you’re doing is going to benefit you and not slow your progress down, then that’s all that matters. Remember – one little change is still a big step forward!