The fitness industry in the US alone is estimated at $25 billion annually! It’s no real surprise that a few myths have been spread in order to sell equipment, supplements and regimes. Here are 4 of the Worst Lies Generated by the Fitness Industry!
1. ‘Cardio’ is the best way to lose weight This ‘cardio’ is of the “long-and-slow” variety. Spending upwards of 30 minutes exercising at a relatively low intensity on the cross trainer, or jogging, or on the stair-master or anything similar. The low intensity "fat-burning zone" might utilise a higher percentage of fats for energy, but total fat is lower, and you don't get any of the metabolic after-burn that intense interval training provides. Which brings me to another point, regularly running long distances, when you are not ready for it will more likely lead to injury than give you any great health benefits. If you’re desperate to run, do some high intensity interval training.
2. Weights make women ‘too muscular’ This is one of the most pervasive myths out there. It simply doesn’t happen. Men produce much higher levels of anabolic hormones, particularly testosterone which control muscularity. So unless you start using some serious chemical/hormonal assistance (read: steroids), as a women, you simply won't get that bulky. As a side note, another related and common myth is that women should do different exercises to men. When the goal is general fitness, the weight used might differ due to strength capacity, but the exercises themselves shouldn’t.
3. You Need Supplements Clean eating with sufficient protein is plenty to get the most out of your exercise. Far too many people use supplements as a crutch, believing supplements will give them the shortcut to results Effective training and a clean diet are the two pillars of health and fitness! If you’re desperate to try a supplement, the only one with any clearly proven benefits is creatine (Creatine Monohydrate). It’s easily available and relatively cheap. Weight loss shakes fall into this category, but are a good deal more insidious. They're generally full of cheap protein, sugar and flavoring agents. If you’re desperate, get a simple, unflavored whey protein, add some nut butter (for fats and satiety) and some milk and blend.
4. Eating fat makes you fat Unfortunately, this myth was formed because each gram of fat has more than twice as many calories than a gram of carbohydrate. So the traditional food pyramid (see 1992 USDA Food Pyramid [from Wikipedia]) put carbohydrate rich staples at the bottom, and fatty foods to be consumed only moderately. This explosion of low-fat (and generally high sugar) foods likely contributed massively to the obesity crisis and prevalence of diabetes and heart disease in western countries. Eating fat does not make you fat, eating large amounts of processed carbohydrates makes you fat, and diabetic!
And a few extra myths: 5. Eggs are bad for you – Simply Not True. They’re rich in protein, vitamins and minerals. Controlled trials have shown that 3 eggs per day actually reduces cholesterol levels, the opposite of the long held argument against eggs!
6. Squats are bad for your knees – Not only are properly executed, deep squats good for your knees, they’re probably the best single exercise available for improving fitness and whole body musculature.
7. ‘Fitness’ cereals are good for you – Highly processed, sugary grains! Need I say more? Half an avocado and two hardboiled eggs is a million time better and will keep you full and fuels for much longer.
8. Bacon is healthy – This one hurts! There's not getting around it. Bacon is delicious. For all the crossfitters out there - we love our bacon, but unfortunately, all processed meats contain dangerous compounds that put them on the list of foods to avoid or ideally eliminate. But it tastes so good!?!?! Are these the Worst Lies Generated by the Fitness Industry? Which would you add to the list?