We are living in a time of information overload, especially when it comes to health and fitness. Between detoxes, clean eating, HIIT workouts and intermittent fasting, we’re constantly bombarded with the latest trends and crazes. But how are we to separate fact from fiction?
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It’s time to bust through some common health and fitness myths.
1. Cleanses Are Necessary To Rid Your Body Of Toxins
We underestimate the power of their own bodies. Our bodies already have built-in mechanisms for detoxification, including our liver, kidneys and gastrointestinal systems. So the next time you think spending $300 on your next “cleanse” after a weekend binge of pasta and too much wine, trust your body, and focus on eating clean, wholesome foods rich in nutrients. If you want your body to be better at eliminating toxins, then give it the vitamins, minerals and exercise it needs to fight for you.
2. You Have To Spend Money To Get Fit
You’re eyeing those compression tights for $120 and that gym membership that will cost more than a car payment, aren’t you? Well stop! You don’t need to spend a small fortune on fitness gear and a gym membership in order to get on track.
Sure, it may help if your gym has certain equipment you like to use or there are particular classes you want to try, but there are plenty of at-home, equipment-free, bodyweight workouts you can do that are completely free. In the end, it’s you who has to put in the time, sweat and effort into your workouts to stay fit and healthy.
3. Lifting Weights Will Make You Bulky
How many times have you heard this one? While it’s true that lifting weights will help you build muscle mass, that does not mean you will subsequently bulk up like a bodybuilder.
Bri Wilson, certified strength and conditioning specialist with the National Strength and Conditioning Association (NSCA) and personal trainer, says that women especially should not worry about strength training due to the lack of testosterone in their bodies, which makes it extremely difficult to add bulk. Incorporating strength training into your routine will make you look toned and lean; the opposite of bulky.
4. What You Eat Doesn’t Matter So Much As Long As You Exercise
No matter how often you hit the pavement to go on those long morning runs, you can’t outrun a bad diet, unfortunately. Stick to a balanced nutrition plan and back it up with some valuable time at the gym, and you’re bound to hit your overall fitness goals. It’s all about having a healthy balance.
5. Counting Calories Is The Best Way To Lose Weight
It’s important to be mindful of how many calories you’re putting into your body, but it shouldn’t be an obsession. Those 100-calorie packs of cookies and crackers aren’t necessary good for you just because they only have 100 calories.
“Awareness of lower calorie choices, consistency in making those choices, and looking at the diet overall (vs. single foods/meals) tends to keep people on track for losing weight slowly, steadily and for good,” says Leman.
A better way to reach your goals is to focus on eating clean, natural, wholesome foods, like fruits and vegetables, lean meats and fish, and legumes and complex carbs.
6. Eat Less Fat To Lose Fat
Fat makes food taste good and it keeps us feeling fuller, longer. Cut too much fat, and you’ll likely overcompensate with more sugar or calories elsewhere. Healthy fats such as olive oil, avocados, nuts and olives can really benefit your weight loss efforts — in fact, up to 40 per cent of your daily calories can come from fat. Instead, if you’re trying to lose weight, load up on those healthy fats and cut out junk food, white carbs like bread and pasta, and sugar and alcohol.
7. Eggs Are Bad For You
It was once believed that high cholesterol foods such as eggs were the culprit for high blood cholesterol. Now, nutritionists have recognized that high dietary cholesterol is not the cause of high blood cholesterol, and that a high consumption of eggs actually has no impact on cholesterol levels. Eggs are cheap, versatile, and have the highest biological value for protein, iron, vitamins, minerals and carotenoids, and are therefore an excellent addition to any healthy diet.
8. You Should Cut Carbs Completely To Lose Weight
While cutting bad carbs can certainly help with weight loss, removing carbs from your diet entirely may end up sabotaging your efforts. The key is to eat the good kinds of carbohydrates: Fruits, vegetables, beans and legumes provide energy that your muscles need to perform properly while also providing the body with vitamins, minerals and phytochemicals the body needs to maintain a healthy life. You need roughly 45 to 100 grams of carbohydrates per day just to fuel your brain, grow hair and breathe, and this may be increased if you’re extremely active.
9. The Longer I Work Out, The Fitter I Will Be
Just because you’re putting in extra time at the gym, it doesn’t guarantee that you’ll reach your fitness goals any faster. The American College of Sports Medicine’s exercise recommendations are 30 to 60 minutes of moderate-intensity exercise five days per week or 20 to 60 minutes of vigorous-intensity exercise three days per week. That means if you’re doing short, but hardcore HIIT workouts that run you ragged, you may see better results than if you simply go on hour-long jogs.
10. You Have To Take Supplements To Be Healthy
The decision to take supplements depends on an individual’s health and diet. Vegans, for instance, may be missing B12 which is found in meat and nutritional yeast. Also, if you can’t eat dairy, you may be missing out on the recommended amount of calcium per day (about 1,000mg for adults). However, you can also find calcium in other foods such as kale, almonds, dried figs, tofu and white beans. If you have certain dietary restrictions, you can always look into other possible food sources instead of purchasing pricey pills.