Debunking Fitness Myths

Debunking Fitness Myths

Why believing everything you read on Instagram may not be the best for your health

“Eggs are killing you” but are a great source of protein and Vitamin B,

“Running is bad for your knees” but you should be doing cardio but Cardio is the only way to lose weight, but it’s calories in vs calories out, “Diet Coke is a possible Carcinogen” but so is Aloe Vera?

The internet is littered with misinformation, and unfortunately not every influencer has to be qualified to offer health and wellness advice, and the vast majority cherry pick clickbait headlines to solve a problem you didn’t realise you had.

When we address health matters, people are looking for a solution and when they meet resistance through the official channels, they often look to the internet to provide the answers; which more often than not will leave them more confused than ever.

Fortunately for you, our coaching team at Feel Fit look for the evidence. With a whole filing cabinet of qualifications, developmental courses and a thirst for knowledge (and the truth!) we have gone through the most common statements we often hear from clients and members and are debunking them right here!

MYTH #1: LIFTING WEIGHTS MAKE WOMEN LOOK BULKY DEBUNKED: This is such a common misconception that most women avoid weight training altogether. Lifting heavy weights will cause muscle hypertrophy, which is an increase in muscle size, however, the “bulky” look is largely down to extra body fat on top of the muscles. It takes a LOT of work to build and keep muscle tissue. Testosterone and human growth hormone are the 2 major hormones involved in building lean muscle. Typically women have about a 15-20% lower concentration of testosterone, and in order to build and maintain muscle it requires a highly specific training programme with progressive overload and a high intensity, calculated nutrition plans which are protein, carb and fat rich and monitored recovery and rest days. The visible “bulky” muscle look also comes down to losing body fat to see the visible muscle, but keeping protein intake high in order to retain muscle. So, in summary, training 3-4 times a week and eating a healthy, balanced lifestyle will not make you “bulky” and avoiding strength training actually is doing you a disservice.

Strength training as a woman actually holds so many benefits including:

● Stronger muscles, tendons and ligaments leading to more stable joints and overall movement

● Increase in muscle size and “tone”

● Decrease in body fat due to elevated metabolic rate

● Increase in bone density

● Increase in production of neurotransmitters leading to better mood and balanced state of mind

● Improved physical coordination

MYTH #2: IT’S BAD TO FEEL YOUR LOWER BACK IN EXERCISES DEBUNKED: Your lower back has muscles. It’s not just bone. The majority of aches and pains you feel in your lower back come from muscle weakness, especially if you have tight hips from being sedentary. Now, a normal amount of muscle soreness, especially after heavy lifts is normal.

However, if you are feeling regular pain and discomfort after your training sessions, so much so that it is causing you to limit your daily movement then it can be down to a few things.

1) Poor form in exercises - if you have a coach, ensure you let them know if you feel pain and adjustments can be made

2) Core weakness - having a weaker core can cause you to overuse other muscles to stabilise your trunk. Focus on core stabilisation and strengthening exercises to strengthen your whole core, not just your abs

3) Tight Hips - Tight hip flexors can cause the pelvis to tilt forwards, which means the core can’t engage as efficiently and it can also inhibit the glutes from activating, therefore your lower back will take over. Tight hip flexors are usually down to long periods of sitting, in desk work for example, however, if you work on your mobility and strengthen the core, glutes and legs then you can negate the negative effects of a sedentary lifestyle

MYTH #3: YOU SHOULDN’T EXERCISE WHILE PREGNANT DEBUNKED: If you have always trained, and you become pregnant, then it would do you more harm than good to completely stop training.

If you are not a trained individual, and you get pregnant and want to ensure your body is strong enough to handle holding a child then you absolutely should exercise with guidance and coaching from a qualified individual.

Your body goes through a lot pre and post pregnancy, in terms of how your body adapts to growing and holding a child and then how it handles birth and the post pregnancy recovery period. Core strength, hip mobility, postural exercises and upper body training is essential to aid a pregnancy process that is easier for your body.

Of course, remember, every woman is different and has different needs and training experience. You can have a woman who has done powerlifting and crossfit and continue to do so all the way up until birth with certain adaptations.

You can also have a super fit person get hit with complications such as pre-eclampsia, sickness and gestational diabetes which would mean that exercise would be have to be bespoke to that person.

Exercise will never not benefit someone, but the type of exercise you do during pregnancy is highly specific to you, your history, your strength and your pregnancy. Always consult a pre and post natal qualified coach to discuss the best way to exercise for your body.

MYTH #4: IF YOU STOP TRAINING YOUR MUSCLE IT’LL TURN TO FAT DEBUNKED: Muscle and fat are two different cells and are not interchangeable.

They are made from different matter in the body and definitely do not turn into each other. When you stop training a long process happens over the course of around 12 weeks of no training:

1) You visibly look less “toned” - When you are not increasing blood flow to the area, the muscles look less full

2) Muscles strength reduces - You will lose up to 20% off your max strength in a period of 4 weeks of detraining, however, you can return to your previous strength will regular strength training

3) Loss of muscle size (atrophy) - muscle atrophy occurs due a number of different physiological factors and is highly individual based on your body and amount of muscle mass

4) You will gain weight - if you have reduced your expenditure, but you are eating the same food, your daily caloric intake need has changed, therefore the weight gain you experience will be due to the fact your metabolic rate has reduced but your food intake has not, therefore creating a calorie surplus.

5) Most importantly, mood, memory and your concentration is effected - exercise increases our mood through dopamine and serotonin production. When we stop exercising, we lessen blood flow to the hipppocampus, therefore reducing the effectiveness of our memory, we reduce the production of the happy chemicals and we also reduce our self-confidence levels. This means that we can enter a hamster wheel of emotions where we start to feel a bit down.

MYTH #5: YOU SHOULD ONLY DO GENTLE EXERCISE ON YOUR PERIOD DEBUNKED: Once again, every woman has a different body. Every woman has a different cycle. Yes we may sit between 21 - 35 day cycles, but the specific hormonal processes each woman goes through is highly specific. We have 4 stages in the menstrual cycle: Menstruation, Follicular, Ovulation and Luteal

However long each stage lasts in each woman is again, very different and so are the effects of each stage. Some women feel stronger and have more energy during menstruation than others. Some experience a loss of strength or increase to pain sensitivity in the luteal phase and some don’t.

Remember your cycle can even change every month depending on your fatigue levels, your levels of hydration, how recovered you are, your nutrition and stress levels. The best way to monitor how you should exercise around your cycle is to listen to your own body. If you are on your period and you feel like you have the energy to train, then train. If you get to the gym, do 5 minutes and start to fatigue then let yourself rest. You are not a machine and you are not a statistic, flow with your flow. Learn what it is you need in each stage and act accordingly, and remember, you are allowed to do what you want to do!

When it comes to health and fitness myths, a lot of people on social media will cherry pick certain statistics from non-reputable sources if it means that it gets people to like a post.

Clickbait is not only unethical but it can be harmful to your health, and so confusing.

Feel Fit coaches spend time researching, they read the whole studies and understand them in order to get the best information possible for our members and their clients.

If you are confused about anything health and fitness related and need some clarification, don’t hesitate to chat to us in the studio to get clear and what is best for you, your body and your mind.


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