Diet & Exercise Myths - Top 10 Most Common
love finding articles about diet and exercise myths. However, lately
I'm getting pretty tired of the same old myths popping up all over
the place. I already know weight lifting won't make women bulky
and I know the fat burning zone is bunk. So for those looking for
something they haven't come across a million times already, I present
the following top 10 diet and exercise myths.
Diet & Exercise Myth #1
You can train to be lean. Everyone is searching for that unique
exercise or workout program that makes your body drop fat like a
bag of moldy tangerines. I hope they are comfortable because they
will be searching for a while. When you exercise, you are training
your body to be faster, stronger or more coordinated. You can train
yourself to be able to do anything better. The keyword here is "do".
Training is about the capability of your body, not its appearance.
Mother Nature doesn't care if you have lean legs or six pack abs.
She only cares if you can do the activity and will make changes
to fulfill that capability. But wait, doesn't fat influence your
capability? In some ways yes, but in many ways it does not. I've
come across far too many people who take up exercise to lose weight.
They get stronger, faster and more flexible, but they don't drop
an ounce of weight.
The fat on your body has a minor effect on your ability to do many
exercises. Especially anything that involves sitting or lying down.
In some cases, like bodyweight exercise, it has a bigger influence.
Maybe doing pull ups tells the body to be lighter and thus cause
more fat to be burned. However my experience is that the body will
simply become stronger since its working with more resistance.
Diet & Exercise Myth #2
You will build more muscle if you tell your body to become stronger.
The body has many ways to get stronger. Building muscle is just
one. You can change the rate at which your muscle fibers are recruited,
the emphasis of type 2 A and B fibers and even just how you move.
Building muscle is an option but it's by far not the only one.
Diet & Exercise Myth #3
Certain foods are inherently bad for you and some are always good
for you. The well being potential of all foods boils down to
your ability to use that food and its nutrients. If you eat a steak
and can put it to use, then it's a good move. However, if your body
has no real need for it, it's not going to do you much good. If
you can actually use it, it's beneficial. If you don't get anything
from it then it's either bad or a waste of resources. That being
said, sometimes there are health benefits to eating something beyond
feeding the body. This brings me to the next myth.
Diet & Exercise Myth #4
A healthy diet is all about feeding and fueling the body. I
always say I never let nutrition become the sole focal point of
my diet. We humans eat for many other reasons than just to provide
the body with the building blocks of life. If that were the case
then let's just create some bland goop in a tube and we can call
Because we eat for many reasons, we also eat for many benefits.
If we have a diet that fuels the body but leaves the mind and spirit
starving, then it's not healthy. We are not satisfying all of our
appetites. A healthy diet leaves no hunger in any form.
Diet & Exercise Myth #5
equipment brings better results. Boy did I fall for this one!
I spent far too much money and time investing in equipment. I even
got rid of my own bed so I could cram more equipment into my apartment!
Truth be told, we can't design fitness success into a piece of
equipment any more than we can design a keyboard to make you a better
writer. All we can ask from our equipment is that it's safe, comfortable
and reliable. Beyond that it's all up to our skills and knowledge.
Diet & Exercise Myth #6
Exercising every day leads to overtraining. The human body was
designed to be used every single day. Our ancestors never took a
day off so that causes me to question if we really need 3-4 rest
days a week. I'm not saying you can run a marathon every day, but
we don't have to only be active 2-3 times days and then sit on our
tail for the rest of the week. We can, and maybe even should, seek
to do something every day. Some days are probably going to be easier
than others, but we can most certainly do something every day.
Diet & Exercise Myth #7
Your diet should become a lifestyle. I think it's a shame that
some diet strategies require so much time and effort that they have
become a lifestyle. There's nothing wrong if you like that sort
of lifestyle, but it's sad when someone believes they have to live
their life around food labels or ingredients just to fit into skinny
jeans. Food is always part of our life, but you don't need to base
a lifestyle on it anymore than you need to base your lifestyle around
the shoes you wear or the computer you use.
Diet & Exercise Myth #8
If a study shows people eating less of something and losing weight
then that means that specific ingredient is fattening or bad. You
pick up a magazine and read how subjects in a study ate less red
meat and lost weight. So does that mean red meat is fattening? Does
that mean you'll lose weight if you give up steak? Absolutely not!
All that study shows was that the people in the study were eating
a bit too much red meat to do them any good. It doesn't mean that
it's bad. It just means the people in the study were eating too
much of it. It's anyone's guess if your eating too much of the stuff.
Who knows, you may not be eating enough.
Diet & Exercise Myth #9
If you don't want to do it then that means you should. Sometimes
the body and mind tell us to stop and we must strive forward. Other
times we should listen and pay attention to the alarm bells. The
key is in understanding the difference between acute vs. chronic
Acute desire is here one minute and gone the next. It's when you
crave the donut only when it's offered to you. It's when your muscles
are screaming yet you push for just a few seconds longer. That's
the kind of desire that often pays to fight through.
Chronic desire however is when your body and mind are constantly
telling you something. That's the stuff you need to pay attention
to. If you hate an exercise but you keep forcing yourself to do
it, then little good can come of it. And whatever good does come
of it will probably be short term.
If you love a certain food yet constantly deny yourself then you're
just depriving yourself. Acute desire causes us to get distracted
and side tracked. Chronic desire is telling us that something we
are doing is not working or is unhealthy for us. By being able to
tell the difference we can listen to the most important signals
our body is telling us and ignore the rest.
Diet & Exercise Myth #10
We can always trust information we hear about from a scientific
report. Yes, scientific research is important and yes we can
learn a lot from it. However, reading a few paragraphs in a magazine
or newspaper does not give us enough substantial ground to start
making radical choices. Reading those short blurbs is like looking
through a key hole into another room. Sure, we are looking at something
true, bet we are also missing out on so much more.
On top of that, most of us are not trained to fully read and understand
such reports. There are scientists and experts who have been trained
to read research reports and pick them apart. They can and do see
things the casual observer would miss. They know if the findings
actually support the conclusions. So much of what we hear from the
world of lab coats and test tubes is more along the lines of interpretation
of data rather than data itself. Unless we have all of the information
and we have been trained in how to read it, hearing about how carrots
are good for preventing cancer is little more than he said she said.