We all have these “truths” about fitness that we’ve either heard from others or made up ourselves. Most fitness “truths” are passed down from person to person. I am calling them “truths” because until now we probably believed them wholeheartedly. Some common “truths” we tell ourselves are “weight training will make women bulky” or “cardio is more important for fat loss than weight lifting” another common one is “exercise can erase bad eating habits”. There are many more but let’s take a look at these three “truths” and understand why they are fitness myths.
First myth—“Weight training makes women bulky”
As a woman, and a dancer, that was engrained in my head from a very young age. So, for a very long time I avoided weight training thinking that it would make my bottom half bulkier than it already was. The fear of looking like a “bodybuilder” or looking too manly as a woman is constantly pounded into our heads. But, the reality is, unless you are on steroids you will not look manly. I think tone and definition is very attractive on females and I wish there was more of an emphasis on the healthy ways to gain muscle for women.
Second myth – “Cardio is more important for fat loss than weight lifting”
I feel like this statement is very common and may go hand-in-hand with weight training making people (women) bulky. And, to be honest, I think this is also something that women may deal with a little more than men. I feel like a big goal for a woman is fat loss and men are more likely trying to build muscle. Cardio is great for all people and for multiple health reasons and you will burn calories doing it. However your biggest concern when you are trying to lose weight should be muscle loss. Fat loss programs should be first about controlling the ratio of calories in/calories out, and second about doing everything in your power to prevent losing muscle, that means a good diet combined with a good weight training routine. If you have time for cardio, that comes third.
Third myth – “Exercise can erase bad eating habits”
This last myth is definitely a popular one, and one that I know I am guilty of. With that said, when I do eat healthy and am conscious of not eating EVERYTHING I love I do look and feel better. I know a lot of people who believe that because they work out a lot that what they eat is not a factor but 80% of what you look like is based on diet. If you want to see long lasting results you must include diet in your fitness goals.
With all of that said, the only way to make these myths go away is to not talk about them. Be informed, do your own research but also understand that if that’s what you want to believe make it a conscious decision. I also feel that we may make these myths true by just wanting to believe in something. Ultimately we believe in things that may or may not be true because we are uninformed. If you are making the effort and taking the time to work out or change your fitness goal that’s the first and biggest step.