Cutting out the B.S.

No better day than today to get your health and fitness myths sorted out – and figure out what ideas you need to leave behind, once and for all.

The media is packed full of ideas about how to stay healthy and fit. But they’re not always right. In fact, it seems that a lot of the ideas out there are just plain wrong. Whether it’s another TV infomercial or a buddy at the gym, we’ve all been susceptible to false fitness claims at one time or another.

Putting Science First

When it comes to separating nonsense from fact, you really need to stick to the science, because even common sense can fail you.

Here’s a great example I like to use: Common sense would say that the more often you eat, the bigger you’re going to get. But that’s not exactly accurate, and can lead to some really bad fitness advice. In fact, eating more frequently is a great way to keep your metabolism boosted and your energy levels up. So long as you’re eating healthy food and exercising, eating more often can actually help you burn fat and get fit.

Today we’re going to look at 10 common health and fitness beliefs you still believe, and offer some real advice to help you get things straight!

10 Health and Fitness Myths Debunked

1. More Sweat Means a Better Workout

This isn’t exactly true. You may feel more satisfied if you work up a bigger sweat, but that’s not what either calorie burning or muscle building are based on. What really matters is how intense your exercises are, how much you get your heart rate up, and how much you engage your muscles.

There’s also something to be said about overdoing it which is one of my biggest concerns about people who jump blindly into crossfit.  If you haven’t been training seriously for at least two years straight I wouldn’t even consider it as your joints and connective tissue won’t be ready to take on that kind of abuse and injury after injury you probably have heard the same stories as I have of these silly peeps.

2. Weights are the Only Way to Build Muscle

This one’s just plain myth. Regardless of your body type, engaging in high intensity interval training or body weight exercises are all great ways to build muscle. Weights are definitely great, but they’re not the only way to pack on lean muscle mass. do help you add a greater variety of exercises than you can only do with only your body weight so great to combine the two if you can.

3. Sweat Releases Toxins

Sorry folks, but you’ve got this one wrong. Although a very small amount of toxins are released in sweat, the primary function of sweating is to keep your body cool during physical exertion. Your body has these other amazing organs, namely your liver, kidneys, and GI tract.

So what is a good way to release more toxins? Just stay well hydrated. Medical professionals agree that water is the best detox at your disposal.

Tip: Stay away from all those gimmicky detox mixes and drinks, all they do is deprive your body of the nutrients it needs to function optimally.

4. You Need a Gallon of Water a Day

Research has shown that many of the popular daily recommendations for drinking water are overestimated. In fact, it’s difficult to even make generalizations, because your own hydration needs depend on your physical activity, your metabolism, and your diet. Generally speaking, you want to drink enough water so that you’re not feeling thirsty and that your urine is clear.

5. You Should Work Your Abs Every Day

This kind of abs formula is not necessarily the smartest approach. Like all muscle groups, your abs need time to recover between workouts. What I recommend is working your abs every other day, or just 1 to 2 times a week.

If you’re looking for a more focused approach, try my Once a Week Abs Workout here.

6. Cycling Will Build Your Thigh Muscles

Cycling is great for your thighs, but only if you want to keep them lean and toned. While you can definitely make some improvements in endurance and strength, the way to build any muscle is to engage in resistance training. Try squats, deadlifts, and lunges for the best results.

7. You Need to Stay in the “Fat-Burning Zone” to Lose Weight

When it comes to cardio, this really isn’t as cut and dry as it seems. When you’re cardio machine tells you you’re in this zone, it just means you’re burning a higher percentage of calories from fat. But to burn more calories and fat overall, more intense exercise is always better.

8. Everyone Should Go Gluten-Free

This one seems to be growing in popularity, despite it having little basis in science. While gluten-free diets are important for some people with celiac disease and a gluten allergy, everyone else can process gluten just fine. What’s worse, many gluten-free products are actually higher in calories and fat, so making the switch isn’t as healthy as it may seem.

9. After 30 Minutes of Cardio, You Start Burning Muscle

This myth seems to still hang on, but it’s not exactly accurate. It is true that over extended periods of physical exertion, your body will eventually start conserving fat and burning muscle for energy. But generally, this takes quite a bit of time to occur in any significant way – much more than 30 minutes. Make sure you eat a solid meal about an hour before your workout, and you really have nothing to worry about.

10. You Only Need to Eat More Protein to Build Muscle

While it’s true that you need to boost your intake of protein to increase muscle size, it’s not the only nutrient you need to worry about. Your body also requires a lot of carbohydrates to build muscle, in addition to vitamins and minerals. So generally you need to eat more calories overall, but make sure they’re from healthy sources.

For some great ideas of how to do it right, check out my Muscle Building Diet Plan here.

Have any questions or feedback about these 10 Health and Fitness Myths You Still Believe? Please leave a comment below…