As summer approaches and Google searches for “summer body workouts” soar, it’s important to be able to tell good advice based in science from unfounded bunk. The US has been in a long and drawn out battle over “fake news” and the gullibility of US consumers to factually inaccurate information across the board. Let’s examine some of the most pervasive myths surrounding exercise and fitness and whether there’s any truth to them at all.
Fitness Fact 1: Drastic diet changes are the way to lose weight in a jiffy.
Status: False. No matter what those Pinterest pins promise, no amount of crazy intense or specific diets will create the long lasting weight loss effects you want to see. From “cutting all carbs” to juice cleanses and more, all those diets do is to temporarily reduce your caloric intake and leave you hungry and cranky. They’re unsustainable and can be unhealthful if you don’t ensure that you continue to get all the vitamins and minerals you need. Rather than turn to a “get skinny quick” plan, think instead about a lifestyle change. For example, you may want to reduce how much candy or how many sugary drinks you consume. You may also want to replace some of your carbs and meat with plants instead. That way, you develop good lifestyle habits that will serve you and your body for a long time.
Fitness Fact 2: You can out-exercise a bad diet
Status: False. Unfortunately, given that most adults have to work a regular job and tend to household responsibilities, there’s no way in the world that a regular person could work out enough to make up for a 3000+ calorie diet. Of course, it’s perfectly reasonable to have “cheat days” and splurge here and there, but a huge part of a person’s fitness journey is learning how to make the most of their 1500-2000 calories per day. Usually, people find that those 2000 calories go much faster with high-sugar foods but last longer when your diet is comprised of plants, fruits, and other non-processed foods. You’re fuller for longer when your diet is comprised of fruits and veggies.
Fitness Fact 3: Certain exercises will help reduce fat in precise and targeted locations
Status: False. Over and over again, fitness professionals have tried to stress that certain exercises do not exclusively work on particular problem areas of the body. Sit ups won’t eliminate all your tummy fat and exclusively your tummy fat. Spot reducing exercises will help to build muscles in those particular areas but not necessarily burn the fat in those spots. It’s important to cycle through a variety of exercises that require your whole body to move and draw energy from fat stored all around your body.
Fitness Fact 4: You need to start investing in heavy supplements, shakes, and powders
Status: False. The fitness supplement industry is wildly unregulated, untested, and unreliable. In her book Vitamania, Catherine Price demonstrates that the FDA has approved of very few of the supplements on the market, and those that “cite studies” are usually only referencing one paper sponsored by the manufacturer of the supplement itself. The truth of the matter is that if you eat a wholesome diet complete with lots of protein, fruits, grains, there’s no need for you to lean on supplements to stay healthy.