I tend to get a lot of fitness based questions. Really anything… workout tips, full exercise routines, my diet, diet suggestions, or my sleep schedule. I’m happy to answer any and every question, but I always get hit with a couple main questions (or comments) that I feel should really disappear from our collective psyche. So, I’ve listed the top 10 fitness misconceptions I have witnessed that are completely wrong.
I can’t lift, I don’t want to bulk up
Here’s the thing, if picking up heavy things made you bulk up, every other guy would look like Arnold Schwarzenegger. But that’s not the case, and you wanna know why? Because mass is a function of diet, strength, and testosterone. So in order to start looking like a female body builder you’ll have to train and eat specifically to put on mass and increase the amount of testosterone in your body. So pick up some weights, you might actually like it
It’s cool, I got the fat free stuff
The issue with ‘fat free’ is that the flavor and texture needs to come from somewhere. Often times that means a lot of sugar (or sugar substitutes), salt, thickeners, and so much else. And to be quite frank, you need a healthy balance of fats in your life. So get whole milk, whole fat yogurt, and full fat whatever else. Just use some self-control and manage your portions
If I want to lose weight, I should start with cardio, right?
Short answer? No. There’s two issues here. 1) Weight and fitness aren’t correlated. As I’m sure you know, muscle weighs more than fat, so you may get lean and not lose a single pound. Stop using that as a measure. And 2) Cardio is good for you, but that 20 minute jog will only burn calories for 25 minutes, once your heart rate settles so will your calorie burn. Instead, you should actually start with a balance of weight training and cardio. Muscle needs to continuously burn calories to exist, so the more muscle you have the more calories your body will continuously burn
No pain, no gain!
The idea that you have to continuously push your body beyond the point of exhaustion in order to see results is really popular, but it’s also really wrong. If you’re new to exercise, then pace yourself and take the time to learn your limits. Yes, you should push yourself to increase your limits, but do it strategically and give it time. If you think you’re going to vomit or pass out, stop, you’re pushing too hard. And, rest is just as important as diet and exercise. Your body needs time to recover and rebuild, you can’t go 120% all the time and expect things to go well
I’m just gonna skip lunch
If you don’t like eating lunch, that’s your call. But if you’re skipping meals so you can be “healthy”, you’re doing it wrong. There’s still much debate about how the number of meals you’re eating every day will affect your metabolism, but one thing is true – when you skip a meal, you start to get really hungry and tired. When you’re in a situation like that, your body starts craving forms of immediate energy (fats and sugars) and you’re more likely to binge eat. So instead of skipping a meal, maybe try having smaller meals
They’re so skinny, why are they in the gym?
I’ve heard this one before, both targeted at me and at others. The thing is, the gym isn’t a place to lose weight, it’s actually just a place to become better. That means a place where you exercise your dedication, control, strength, and patience (for all those days when someone is doing curls in the squat rack). And, as a matter of fact, if you want to gain weight, the gym is the perfect place to do it.
I’m afraid everyone will judge me
I get it, but don’t be afraid. Like I said in #6, the gym is a place to improve yourself. Everyone is there because they’re working on something, some people are at the beginning of their journey, some people are starting a new one, and some people are somewhere in the middle. Does that mean there won’t be people judging you? No, not in the least. But don’t let someone else’s flawed and incomplete perception of you stop you from bettering yourself. Focus on your goals and the people who are being helpful (or just minding their own business) and ignore the judgmental assholes
How do I get abs?
By working on your entire body. Unfortunately there’s no way to just work on your abs (or any other muscle). Typically, guys need a body fat percentage below 9% and women need one below 15%, and even then it’s not guaranteed that your abs will show (trust me). So instead of focusing on a 6-pack, focus on just getting healthy, strengthening your core, and eating healthy
How much protein do I need?
You probably don’t need a protein shake, if that’s what you’re asking. Most people consume enough protein in their day-to-day diet that they don’t need a protein supplement. Unless you’re an athlete or pushing yourself to become one, you don’t need protein. Eat whole foods, maybe increase how much lean meat you consume, and rest up
I just need to lift really heavy weight
No. Focus on your form. The amount of times I’ve seen someone squat 300 pounds or deadlift 500 pounds with horrendous form makes me want to cry. Doing a single repetition with low weight but really good form is 100x more beneficial than 10 repetitions with heavy weight and exceptionally shitty form. Focus on your form. Focus on your form. Focus on your form. It’s important. Bodybuilding.com has videos that show you exactly how you do pretty much every exercise possible. It’s a free resource, use it, and focus on your form. You can increase your weight as your strength increases. Until then… focus on your form
I hope this list of fitness misconceptions was helpful for you. Let us know if you have any questions or concerns, we’re all ears!