Posted on May 21 2018
If you’ve ever stepped foot in a gym, watched a ‘health and fitness’ programme, or even just spent some time online you’ll know what there are hundreds, if not thousands, of myths about the gym.
It’s really hard how to know who to trust, too, and it’s always worth questioning the wisdom of the guy who’s clearly on steroids and constantly flexing in the mirror.
So here we are, ready to get those myths debunked!
You Need to Train Every Day to See Results
So, yes, you need to train consistently, in a focused way and following a programme that meets your goals but you do not need to grind in the gym seven days a week. In fact, that can impede your progress more than anything. You need to eat right, sleep enough and shake up your schedule every few weeks to constantly challenge your body.
A Particular Exercise is the Only One that Works
The best style of working out or fitness training is the one that you will enjoy and stick at. (hey, cheesy comment!) But it’s true. So whether that be powerlifting, swimming, running, CrossFit, yoga or netball, make sure you try different things and mix it up.
You Need to Cut Out Carbs to See Gains or Lose Weight
Instagram: “no carbs before Marbs”. Reality: “Give me all the carbs, all damn day”.
Your body needs carbohydrates for energy. Some people follow a ketogenic diet, which is currently very trendy, but they tend to have specific health needs. The best diet is the one that works for you and which allows you to eat that way for the rest of your life. Cut out junk carbs such as sugar and processed food but eat whole food in its most nutritious form and focus on vegetables, fruits and whole grains in small amounts.
You Need to Drink Protein Shakes
Protein shakes and meal replacement bars are useful when you are short on time, but they are by no means essential. Add some protein to every meal, whether meat, fish or eggs or a vegetarian alternative and you won’t need to buy expensive protein powders.
Sleep is for the Weak
We feel very strongly about this one: Sleep is actually for the successful. Your average professional athlete is in bed before 10pm and focuses on getting at least eight hours of quality sleep a night, if not more. Sleep rebuilds and repairs your body, making you stronger. So pass us the duvet and off to sleep we go!
You Don’t Need Cardio
The success of strength training programmes has led some people to think that cardio is an optional extra. But your body needs to be strong in all ways, which means that cardiovascular health must also be considered. This doesn’t mean, however, that you need to run a marathon. Add in Tabata or HIIT training if you hate the treadmill and remember that a weights session with lower weight and higher reps will also give you a cardio workout.
You Don’t Need Strength
By the same token, there will always be people who simply pound the gym treadmills when they are working out and focus entirely on cardio. If you want to see your body change, start to add focused strength training into your gym programme.
Powerlifting Is for Men
No, no and no again. Head over to Instagram to see plenty of inspiration when it comes to strong and powerful barbell-wielding women. Olympic lifting, powerlifting and strongman (or strongwoman) are all superb training regimes for women and the social scene welcomes both sexes equally. If you’re a little unsure about entering the sweaty basement of heavy weights in your gym, then try a CrossFit class for expert strength tuition and to master lifts such as the squat, deadlift, clean and jerk, and snatch. But, honestly, it’s 2018 – a girl can lift if she wants to lift.
Weightlifting Makes Women Bulky
No, lifting heavy weights makes women lean, strong and defined. The female body simply isn’t designed to look like Arnie, and bodybuilders who achieve those looks have to train at elite levels in an extremely specific way to do so. Lifting heavy weights creates that sculpted look that everyone wants, and results can be seen quickly.
You Need to Eat Every Three to Four Hours
This is an interesting gym myth and one that nutritionists are still debating. The traditional advice is that protein should be eaten every three to four hours for maximum muscle building and retention. However, there is emerging evidence that some intermittent fasting of 12–16 hours (say, with a delayed breakfast) can help the body to repair, lose fat and meet training goals faster without affecting ‘gains’. It’s worth reading up on the subject if you are interested in new strategies to see fitness progress – it’s something you can try and assess for yourself.
There’s a Template Model for Success
This is one of the biggest gym myths of all. Every personal trainer, coach, sports programme or fitness model claims that they have cracked the code to perfect fitness and wellbeing. But everyone is different and will need to find what works best for them through trial and error. Remember, a few years back the F-plan and Atkins diet were seen to be the ‘ultimate’ models. Today, it is all about programmes such as ‘IIFYM’ or flexible dieting, paleo and primal, ketogenic and ‘clean’ eating. Try different approaches and see which one works for your body, supports your training and makes you feel great.
With training, mix it up, keep challenging yourself and make sure you are having fun. The best results come when you enjoy working out!
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