One of the most irritating and widespread things in the fitness world is the amount of misleading or outright false information there is. When you are starting out, you not only need to deal with a gigantic load of information, but you end up without knowing it coming across factoids, things that are repeated so often they ultimately come to be seen as facts. There is even a term for it in the men bodybuilding community: bro-science. As the name implies, this refers to misinformation circulated in the community that is sometimes too ridiculous to be true but is nonetheless taken to be veridical in spite of not being backed by science. Nevertheless, false information is, of course, not restricted to bodybuilding, but materializes in other fitness activities across all age groups. Unfortunately, even experienced gym-goers and athletes occasionally fall prey to these claims.
Let’s read over and analyze 5 of the most popular myths or misconceptions in fitness:
1- You will become huge: This fear seems to be more prevalent in women. The fear stems from the wrong idea that lifting weights will make you look more masculine and bulky. First of all, this type of thinking underestimates the amount of time, effort and sacrifice needed to reach a level where you would look like that. Unless you are competing professionally or prioritize your exercising to the point of obsession far beyond what is needed to look fit and healthy, you won’t end up looking anywhere near like a female version of Arnold Schwarzenegger. You will not bulk up on accident.
2- Carbs make you fat, fat makes you fat, and the list goes on: This is the myth that won’t die. You get fat when you go over your caloric limit for the day. In other words, if your daily maintenance is 2000 calories and you go up to 2300 because you had a slice of pizza extra, you will gain weight or get fat. As long as you stay within your daily recommended caloric intake, you will not get fat. It might be hard to believe, but it is possible even to lose weight while eating only junk food. Of course, this is hugely detrimental to your health and not recommended, but the point is this: if you eat less than 2000 calories, assuming that’s your daily maintenance, you will lose weight; if you go over, you will gain weight. This is regardless of what you are eating. Of course, it is much harder to go over that if your diet consists of healthy foods — calories in, calories out.
3- You need supplements to progress: Supplements should be at the top of your pyramid of fitness needs. They can help you reach your goals, but they are generally not necessary. Supplements are great time savers and can add that extra nutrient you need or cover a deficit, but they don’t carry anything you wouldn’t find in food. Treat it as an add on or complementary to your diet.
4- One cheat meal a day or cheat day a week is fine: This is walking on thin ice and is related to the second myth we went over. It depends on what you are cheating on. If your day is over and you cheated on a whole pizza, you will undoubtedly go over your caloric limit and thus jeopardize your entire day’s progress and gain weight. Same if your cheat day for the week consisted of excessive calories. If you’re focused on cheating or calling them cheat days, there probably isn’t enough variety in your diet.
5- Crunches or ab workouts burn belly fat: Let this be clear. It is impossible to target a specific area in your body or other words, spot reduce. The best way to reduce your belly fat is to work out all your body muscles. You will not like this fact, but your belly fat is the last thing to go and the first to come back.
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