Ever felt like you were striding to be healthier, fitter, and stronger… but just couldn’t seem to progress past a certain point?
Ever wonder if you’re implementing the right habits to lose weight or tone up?
Wouldn’t you like to know the truth?
If you answered yes, then you’re most likely stuck on a plateau due to a health/fitness myth that you read or heard somewhere that is obstructing your advancement. Let me also take a moment to state that your athletic ability is largely affected by the fuel you’re in-taking. Therefore, diet and fitness go hand-in-hand.
Don’t feel bad: the food and fitness industry is often deceptive, usually in the name of profit. Thieves!
Below are 5 of the most commonly misconceived health and fitness myths, with an explanation as to why they are wrong. May the truth set you free!
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Comment below about how you overcame your fitness plateau!
1. “Low-Fat” or “Fat-Free” are a Better Alternatives
It seems appealing, doesn’t it? The truth is, fat doesn’t make you fat. Carbohydrates do.
Just because the cookies you’re eating are “fat-free”, does not mean that they are healthy! In the attempt to mimic full-fat flavor, most all low-fat/fat-free products are high in salt and sugar. Sugar is a carbohydrate. Excess carbohydrates = excess energy = weight gain. No bueno.
Do you know what else gets added to try and compensate for the less palatable, lack-of-fat taste? Chemicals. Want to really destroy your health? Ingesting added synthetic chemicals is how you do it.
I know what you’re thinking. “Fat can be… good for me???” I’m here to tell you that, yes, my friend, it can.
Dietary fats are essential in keeping your body’s energy levels up and to support cell growth. They also help protect your organs and help keep your body warm. Fats help your body absorb nutrients and produce vital hormones.
So, skip the sugar and chemicals, and opt for the full-fat product. Just be sure to watch your calories! 1 gram of fat is 9 calories, whereas 1 gram of carbohydrate or protein is 4 calories.
2. Diet Soda is Better For You Than Normal Soda
All of the guilty pleasure, none of the repercussion. If only.
Sure, 0 calories sounds tempting. But is really how it works?
The sugar substitute that is commonly added to diet soda in lieu of sugar is aspartame. It was discovered in a lab when a chemist accidentally tasted it and found that it was rather sweet. Today, its sold under brands such as NutraSweet® and Equal®.
Do you know who doesn’t think it’s sweet? Animals. Ants, birds, mammals alike: they do not eat aspartame. And neither should you.
The American Cancer Society lists aspartame in the carcinogens category. It has also been speculated to cause Alzheimer disease, birth defects, diabetes, ADD/ADHD, Parkinson disease, lupus, multiple sclerosis, and seizures.
What’s more is that aspartame doesn’t make you lose weight. Instead, it keeps you hungry, increases your appetite, makes you crave more sweets, and prevents you from knowing when you’re full. Aspartame contains the chemicals phenylalanine and aspartate, which both increase fat storage. They interfere with insulin and leptin, which control how fat is handled in the body.
Calories do matter, but not at such a high cost to your health. Opt for tea, infused water, or carbonated water, and save yourself the damage.
Tea is way better for weening yourself off sugary drinks than boring water is. It has taste, lots of health benefits, and 0 calories.
3. Cardio Makes You Skinny
We all know that one girl. The elliptical bunny who endlessly rides that machine, pushing herself to exhaustion, all with the hopes of being thinner.
Sure, she might be slim. But, her arms and legs vaguely resemble the noodles you ate last week at PF Chang’s.
That’s because cardiovascular exercise (above a certain threshold) burns not just fat, but your precious, hard-earned muscle. *cue horror music*
So, what is that threshold above which the body ceases to stop burn fat, and starts to burn fat and muscle? Well, it’s different for everyone. Click here to calculate that heart rate for you. By this calculator’s labels, you want to stay in Zones 1-3 for long cardio sessions.
Does that mean that you should never workout above that threshold heart rate? Absolutely not.
Let me introduce you to the only form of cardio that you need if you’re trying to lose fat and gain muscle/tone up: HIIT. High Intensity Interval Training: doing really hard work for short, powerful bursts, repeatedly.
It gets even better! You get to take breaks. Think: a weightlifting set, or a 100 meter sprint. Sound too good to be true? Let me enlighten you.
You’re not spending enough time up in that muscle-torching zone to actually enact any deterioration. And interval training (opposed to steady state cardio, like running for miles and miles at a time), you’re enacting something called EPOC: Excess Post-exercise Oxygen Consumption. EPOC makes your body burn extra calories after you’re done training. Bonus fat burn! Who doesn’t want that?
Still curious about this amazing phenomena? Find more about EPOC and how it works here.
Point end blank: stop doing steady state cardio, and start doing interval training if you want to be strong, fit, and cut.
4. Lifting Weights Makes Girls Manly
I have lifted weights consistently, 4-5 days a week, for 3 years. And, *newsflash*, I am not anywhere near “bulky”. But, I AM strong, toned, and fit. How can this be?
Women simply do not have enough testosterone to support the colossal muscle growth that is exemplified by men who lift weights (1/10th to be exact). Women bodybuilders who are giant have spent years of relentless training to gain such size. And a lot of them are on some form of steroids. No hate, just truth.
Women who lift are known in the fitness industry to be sexy, toned, and strong. Think Tammy Hembrow.
Plus, you want to build muscle. More muscle means a higher metabolism, which in turn equals lower body fat. Heck yeah.
5. Açaí Bowls are a Healthy Snack
“But, it’s a super fruit!” squealed my friend when I told her that in reality, her açaí bowl is just a large dose of unnecessary carbs and sugar. Sorry to rain on your parade.
Açaí IS a super fruit, rich with antioxidants. But it’s quite tart, and so it’s common practice to mix it with copious amounts of sugar, topped with loads of honey. Sugar is the enemy.
The Jamba Juice açaí primo bowl has 70 grams of sugar. That’s 17.5 spoonfuls, plus 100 grams of carbohydrates, all while you’re feeling good about ‘making a healthy choice’. Not so healthy, after all.
In summary, these things are NOT true:
- Fat-Free or Low-Fat products are healthier.
- Diet soda is better for you than normal soda.
- Cardio makes you skinny.
- Lifting weights makes girls manly.
- Açaí bowls are a healthy snack.