I love combing through the web looking for various fitness myths. Nothing stokes my thinking and creativity more than challenging ideas I’ve held for a long time. Lately however, I’ve become bored with the myths I most often run into. Do we really need more articles about how women won’t turn into a huge bodybuilder because they lift something heavier than a soup can? Do people still believe low-fat isn’t necessarily healthy? I think it’s high time to tackle some fitness myths that haven’t been debunked by everyone and their 100 best friends. Below are some fitness myths I find most prevalent which desperately need to be debunked.
Fitness Myth #1: Hard Work Pays Off
For years I believed that as long as I put in enough effort and sweat then I would achieve success. I thought that if I could just work hard enough the results would come.
While achieving success in any fitness endeavor does take hard work, there’s no guarantee that the effort will pay off. It’s most certainly possible to work yourself into the ground and make very little ground even over years of consistent effort.
In previous posts I’ve talked about the importance of progression. Simply put, if your efforts don’t progress you’ll never get closer to your dreams. It’s kind of like treading water. Sure it takes lots of effort and energy, but that doesn’t mean you actually go anywhere.
In the end, both effective and ineffective workouts make you workout, but only one has the training element that tells your body to change and advance which I’ll cover in another article.
Fitness Myth #2: Diet is 80-90% of Your Success
Don’t get me wrong, diet is important, but it’s hardly the lion’s share of what it takes to be in great shape.
Fitness is holistic. It requires effective training, healthy lifestyle habits, lots of sleep, plenty of recovery and a whole host of mental and emotional characteristics. Diet is but a single factor in the big picture.
Asking for fitness success through diet is like hoping to become a champion race car driver because you put the best possible fuel in the car. While that fuel is important, it’s a moot point if the rest of the car and race team is in shambles.
Some results depend more on diet than other’s. Things that depend highly on nutrition are very diet dependent like getting enough protein and managing calorie balance. However it doesn’t matter what your diet looks like. If you never train for a marathon you’re still going to struggle as a distance runner no matter how clean your diet is.
Fitness Myth #3: You Can Change Your Body
Believe it or not, there was once a time when most folks believed that physical change was not all that possible. Even today, many believe that the body you have is the body you were born with and that’s that.
Our fitness culture is filled with folks touting the promise of physical transformation. The message is that if you can just find the right diet or exercise plan, you can transform your body. Not only can you change it, but you can change it very quickly.
You can’t change your body, but you can modify it. You can make slight adjustments here and there. What we believe is change is usually just a whole lot of modifications that have added up over time. Just as with all modifications, the bigger the perceived difference the more investment has gone into making those alterations. So if you’re looking to make some big things happen be prepared to invest a lot of time and energy.
Fitness Myth #4: The Right Foods and Diet Will Make You Lose Weight
There’s no such thing as a weight loss diet or fat fighting foods. From a physical perspective, the role of food is to supply you with nutrients and that’s all your body cares about. It’s just about “what am I getting and how can I use it?”.
There is no fat loss nutrient or food. Any fat loss happens because of the calories that aren’t going into the body rather than what nutrients are going in. Of course a healthy diet will be helpful in keeping you healthy and elevating your energy (which is really helpful in weight loss) but don’t expect to shed fat just because you eat a certain food or stick to a certain diet.
Fitness Myth #5: Functional Training
All training and exercise is functional. Even sitting down on a weight machine that works just your thumb and pinky finger is functional.
Function is the only thing your body understands when it comes to training. Everything you do, from bodybuilding to yoga, trains your body to be able to handle the function of that activity.
The key is asking what sort of functions you value from your body. If an exercise does little to add functional capability you value then it’s not very functional, but only for your specific requirements.
Fitness Myth #6: You Need Support From Coaches and Trainers To Succeed
Fitness isn’t rocket science, but we like to sometimes think it is. A professional who’s spent their life towards helping others achieve the same goals you’re looking for is a great short cut and can give you great accountability.
That said, success in fitness always has and always will boil down to the choices you make and the actions you take. It’s not about what someone tells you do to, it’s about what you do under your own power. At the end of the day you’re on your own and your ability to move forward and maintain success comes down to being able to make choices for yourself.