After 15 years of my work within the fitness industry, I have started to feel that before setting the fitness goals with my clientele, it is important to discuss the common myths about the subject!
Here are some of the beliefs about exercise:
1. Only overweight people need exercise!
Regardless of size and frame every one needs exercise. If you are lucky to have a healthy weight and can maintain it without any effort whatsoever this doesn’t mean exercise is not required in your daily routine. Exercise is required to maintain healthy heart and prevent it from blockage and cardiovascular disease. To maintain muscle mass and bone mass, weight bearing exercises are the only way. Moreover, to keep the joints moving to optimum range they are required to be trained or exercised to maximum range which is only possible through a structured exercise program. Benefits of exercise are endless and they are not limited to fat loss or weight loss but to each and every individual who wants to lead an active and disease free life.
2. Walking is the best substitute for exercise!
Walking is one of the good exercises undoubtedly. But there are many other components of fitness that need to be addressed. Walking can be considered a cardio exercise but that’s not all. In addition to cardio body requires strength training and flexibility training. Moreover, if we keep doing same things or follow same routine everyday the benefits of exercise would be limited. It’s all about challenging your body a little more every time you are working out. If we keep doing same things over and over we can’t expect different results. Therefore mixing it up is the key to building a stronger and healthier you.
3. Lifting weight makes women muscular and bulky!
That’s something I have come across with every female client I ever had. The truth is in order to get bulky and muscular women have to work really hard and may be workout for hour’s everyday and eat accordingly as well. The reason for this is the hormone testosterone. Female body naturally doesn’t make testosterone as much as males do which is responsible for gaining huge muscle mass and bulking up in males. The maximum women can get from exercising optimally with adequate nutrition is increased muscle tone and definition in addition to other benefits of strength training which are not just limited to men.
4. Eating less leads to weight loss!
Eating less or skipping meals doesn’t lead to weight loss in long term. It means eating less might lead to weight loss initially but either weight loss stops completely or it regains back. The reason for the same is when we consume fewer calories than required, body’s metabolism slows down. Our body’s metabolism is most important factor in any weight loss program. So consuming less than 1200 calories a day will lead to slow metabolism and difficulty in loosing weight. On the other hand this could lead to imbalance in hormones and may lead to other unwanted conditions. Therefore eating less is not the way, eating right is the way to go. Eating well balanced meals at frequent intervals will lead to long term weight loss and you will maintain it even longer.
5. Drinking warm water or even water at room temperature helps lose weight!
This is another thing I have come across a lot. For weight loss drink warm water or lots of water. Yes our body consists of 70% water but we do require as much water just to replenish the loss that encountered during our day to day activities. Moreover water does help in keeping the skin tone and flushing of toxins. Benefits of water can't be denied but for weight loss there isn't any logic or research supporting that. About warm and cold water according to Ayurveda warm water does help in digestion in a better way but during exercise its advisable to drink cold water or room temp water as it empties the stomach quickly and hence absorbs faster for replenishment of water loss during exercise. So drink water the way you like it but for weight loss or fat loss we need to look into lifestyle changes and start thinking about going out and move the body.
6. Vegetarian diets are healthier than meaty diets!
Vegetarian and for matter of fact Vegan diets which doesn't include any animal products even diary usually is very low in Protein. Moreover we can't argue about amount of iron all the meats have which helps in keeping energy up during the day, fights infection and provides enzymes. Even if meats contain saturated fats, still some saturated fat is vital for the body. So vegetarian options to fulfil these important nutrients is adding diary to the diet and for vegan they need to eat a combination of cereals and lentils and green leafy options to really get the required nutrients if they really need to match the quality of diet including meats.
7. Doing a lot of crunches or abs exercises will help reduce belly fat!
That's the biggest lie most abs machine commercial rely upon. Actually there is no thing in fitness like spot reduction. If you loose weight or fat from your body it will happen slowly throughout the body not just one place or the places you want. This happens when you burn calories with exercises and restrict calories to a healthy level. Most of the abs exercises don't burn too many calories compared to other total body functional movements hence the most abs exercises or crunches can do it tone and shape your abdominals muscles underneath but if you have a lot of abdominal fat its doesn't make any impact on the shape of your abdomen. Needless to say these exercise if done correctly will make your core or abdomen stronger but fat lose is far from true. So fat loss or weight loss is result of combination of total body targeted exercises including abs exercises and cardio or aerobic workouts but just crunches will not take you anywhere.
8. Steam, sauna or hot yoga helps shedding weight!
Steam or sauna or any kinds of exercises in warmer environment including hot yoga doesn't help shedding extra fat or weight. The most steam and sauna do is helps reduce toxins from skin through sweating and if done after exercise helps in relaxation. Those are the only real benefits and if you forget drinking water before or after it can lead to dehydration that's what causes a temporary weight loss if any. As I mentioned our body is 70% water so if there is anything that makes us sweat more than usual will leave us feeling lighter but our body will regain that water weight as soon as we change that warm environment as in steam or sauna. Likewise hot yoga doesn't provide any extra benefits than usual or traditional yoga.