Having formerly worked in sports nutrition, I’ve heard my fair share of myths, illusions and straight-up strange rumours about how different exercises, foods or elements can affect your body. The fact is, 90% of these aren’t true and are based on misconstrued research thanks to marketing companies.
You Can Target Higher, Middle Or Lower Abs
This isn’t your fault if you think this, blame the poor information plaguing the internet and the useless PT’s that have just finished at school and now spread the word of CrossFit. The simple fact of the matter is that these are all one muscle. You can target in different ways and do different exercises, but don’t follow the myth they are separate muscles.
If I Do Weights As A Woman, I Will Become Massive
If you’ve looked at those giant women in the gym with huge shoulders and bulging biceps and thought this could happen to you if you start benching, then I’m here to re-assure you. Women don’t produce testosterone, meaning you are incredibly limited in regards to the size you can put on in muscle. Those big women are on roids, simple as. You will be surprised how many people are either on roids, HGH or some kind of test booster.
Do not fear the weights, it will help tone your muscles and make you look great!
I’ve Had A Baby, Time To ‘Bounce Back’
This is one the magazines are partly to blame for, as every time a female celebrity has a baby, they talk about how they’ve ‘bounced back’ to their previous shape. The fact is your body has been put through tremendous stress and you are honestly a different shape now, however this isn’t a bad thing necessarily. I 100% think curvy women are hotter than skinny women, and the thing that surprises most women is I’m probably in the vast majority of guys.
It’s good to get back into shape, but you should embrace your new curvy shape and work out how to highlight your strong features and tone up. Destroy that image of what you used to look like and find an inspirational figure with a curvier shape.
Crunches Will Give You Abs
If you have removed the body fat over your stomach, then the abs you have built through crunches will shine through. However it seems to surprise many that after hundreds of sit-ups, their abs don’t look any better. This is because it won’t help to reduce body fat and that is the be-all and end-all if you are trying to show those washboard abs. Check your body fat percentage and work on bringing this figure down.
If I Stop Training, My Muscle Will Turn To Fat
Muscle physically cannot turn to fat, it’s just not possible. So where does this illusion come from? People that weight train and bulk up eat significantly more food, to help improve growth. I was regularly eating 3,500 calories per day. This is fine if you are trying to put on size and increase protein synthesis, however if you aren’t training then these calories are going to waste and will be stored and transformed into fat.
It therefore isn’t muscle turning to fat, but more people struggling to adapt their diet.
I Should Weigh My Weight To Check Progress
Whether it is people trying to become fit, lose weight, put on muscle or any gym related activity, I struggle to see why they put so much emphasis on how much they weigh. If you are trying to look more in shape for the summer then you should be checking your body fat percentage, You could quite easily drop from 30% to 25% body fat, look a million times better, yet technically not have changed your weight at all.
Don’t get me wrong, if you are overweight and want to drop those numbers or you are trying to pack on a lot of size then inevitably checking your weight is important, but just remember this is one metric in a long list you should be looking at.
Sweating A Lot Means Your Out Of Shape
I have a friend that has terrible fitness levels, yet he never sweats. How much you sweat doesn’t have a direct correlation with your fitness levels. It is your bodies way of cooling itself down and regulating the temperature.
You Build Muscle In The Gym
I won’t go deep into this one, but basically you are actually breaking down the muscle in the gym, making micro tears in the muscle fibres. You then recover and repair the muscle while sleeping. This is why it is so incredibly important you are getting a good 8-9 hours sleep at night if you want to fully recuperate. This is why over-training is stressed so often.
This is also why it is important to increase the weight, as your body has no reason to increase the muscle size if you are not putting it under any increased level of stress.
I Exercise So I Can Eat What I Want
You know those people that go to the gym every day yet never seem to look any better or improve. It could be that they aren’t increasing the weight or pushing themselves hard enough, yet 70% of the time it is down to their diet.
Despite that old excuse ‘I go to the gym so I can eat whatever I want’, it really doesn’t match up with reality. If you’ve ever run on a treadmill and looked at the calorie counter, you will have seen how depressingly slow it goes up. You could be running for ages and have just burned off a single Mars Bar. Imagine how long you’d have to run in order to burn off a full day of hangover eating.
If you are trying to get your body ready for the summer, just remember this key quote, ‘abs are made in the kitchen, not in the gym’.
I’m Having A Cheat Day
I don’t know where this one came from, but the term is a ‘cheat meal’, not a ‘cheat day’. All bodybuilders have a cheat day. It isn’t just to reset their system, it is also incredibly important from a psychological viewpoint. Eating well and training hard can be difficult and we live for those little moments that should be treated as a reward. Don’t fuss about spending Sunday morning eating that slice of cheese on toast, but don’t spend the whole day eating pizza.
Don’t Do Cardio If You Want To Gain Muscle
I hear this so often it makes my ears bleed. So many gym lads will just do weight training and will completely skip cardio, nothing wrong with that but they also regularly come out with bro-science about their reasoning. The fact is a bit of cardio won’t prevent them putting on muscle. All professional bodybuilders do a bit of cardio, normally a 10 minute run first thing in the morning, how are they capable of doing it every day?