1. Women will get big if they lift weights
This might be the one that I hear the most often. When I do an assessment with a woman her typical remarks are, "I want to lose weight and fat but I don't want to build muscle. I don't want to get bulky." Everytime I try to explain but I don't think the point ever gets across. Let me be clear. LIFTING WEIGHTS WILL NOT MAKE WOMEN BULKY! What makes people, most often men, bulky is a combination of muscle stimulation, a calorie surplus, and hormone secretion. All three are important and that "bulk" will not happen if even one aspect is absent. This is where women get confused. They think that if they incorporate just the muscle stimulation part then their physique will go from curvy to Conan in two workouts. But the two other crucial components are missing. Women typically don't over feed themselves to the point of combustion and they certainly do not naturally produce the required amount of hormones to elicit extreme muscle growth. And by the way, the women that are "bulky" are so because that was their specific goal and they worked extremely hard to get it.(ie supplements, steroids, high calorie diets)
2.Cardio is the best way to lose weight
When people finally make that decision to lose weight they lace up their shoes and hit the road to burn some calories. While that is a step in the right direction it not necessarily the best one. Cardio does burn calories but it does not build muscle and building muscle is a crucial component of losing weight. You see it takes more energy for your body to maintain muscle then it does fat so a person with more muscle will burn more calories at rest. And the best way to gain muscle is with strength training. Strength training not only burns calories while you are doing it but it creates an "after effect" that continues to burn calories for hours after you finish working out. The other side of that coin is diet. When one is trying to lose weight the diet is probably the most important factor to look at. It is impossible to lose weight if you are not expending more calories than you are consuming. So when you are trying to lose weight you should first look at your diet, then incorporate strength training, and finally add in cardio.
3. There is one "best" diet.
4. Ab exercises will shrink and tone your stomach.
One very common question that I get from people is, "What exercises can I do to lose my gut?" They are hoping that I can tell them about some exercise that will target nothing but their abs and all they have to do is crank out a couple hundred reps to reveal that elusive six pack. It is not that easy or straightforward. Specific ab exercises will only make a muscle, or group of muscles, stronger. They will do almost nothing, however, to burn the layer of fat that is on top of your abs. To get rid of that layer of greasy goodness you have to first clean up your diet. Fat is accumulated energy that has been stored because it wasn't used as fuel, so you have to tap into that energy surplus by creating a calorie deficit with diet modifications. To expedite the process you should include a workout that burns a huge amount of calories. This is where you can incorporate strength training and cardiovascular exercise on a regular basis. Perform strength exercises for the large muscle groups such as the legs, back, chest, shoulders, and legs. I said legs twice because you can burn lots of calories and build lots of muscle doing so. I am not saying that ab exercises are pointless but you would be better off focusing on the areas I just mentioned. P.S. Train your legs.
5. The best looking person has the best information.
I see this all the time in the gym setting. The person with the biggest muscles, the tightest booty, or the best looking physique is the one that people flock to for advice. Logically it kind of makes sense. People think to themselves, "Well if they know how to make it work for them, then they can tell me how to make it work for me." There are a lot of factors, however, that come into play. Maybe that good looking person has great genetics or maybe they are just consistent with their diet and exercise routine. People tend to underestimate the value of consistency. Either way that does not mean that their advice is good or even safe. I mean John Stamos is a good looking guy but that doesn't mean he knows jack about working out or prescribing exercise. My advice is to find a personal trainer that is certified by the NSCA, ACSM, NASM, or ACE. All of those are reliable organizations. A college degree in health/exercise science/nutrition is also a plus. Finally, try and talk to someone with some experience. A 35 year old trainer with no degree, but lots of experience, will most likely know more than a 22 year old fresh out of college.
So there are 5 popular myths regarding health and fitness. There are many more out there but I think these are some of the big ones. In today's world it is very easy to get the wrong information so, at least for now, consider yourself informed. Until next time.