Working in the fitness industry means I hear tons of gym talk, see loads of gym posts and get asked advice all the time. While there are considerably more people heading for an after-work gym session compared to the last few years, there still seems to be a vast amount of gym myths being shared around that are simply not true and misunderstood!
How many times have you overheard someone saying something in the gym changing rooms that you really have to question as you are sure it isn’t right? I’m here to set things straight and have busted five of the most popular myths that I hear in order to make sure that the next time you go to the gym, you know the truth.
Myth 1: Lifting weights will make you manly
To put on any form of muscle takes a LOT of time. Rep ranges exist so that we can lift weights in line with our goals. If you want to put on significant size, this is possible, but you have to train in that particular way for an extremely long amount of time. Lifting weights is also perfect for fat loss and has a number of health benefits. Do not be afraid of the weights room!
Myth 2: If I do not eat anything, I will lose weight
If you cut calories, then yes, you will lose weight. However, be careful, if you cut your calories too low for a long period of time your body will go into starvation mode. It won’t know when your next meal is going to be and therefore anything that you do eat gets stored. Rather than starving yourself, give your body the macronutrients that it needs and tailor this to a calorific deficit. Do what works for you, not what you saw someone else doing.
Myth 3: Ab crunches will help me lose stomach fat
You cannot target fat loss. No matter how many crunches you do, it will not burn fat from your belly. Fat decides where it goes on and subsequently where it comes off from. This is why you may find that fat goes from your face and legs but takes ages to go from your stomach. The only way to a set of abs, is train for all over fat loss and use ab exercises as a way to build and define the muscles underneath the layer. Many find that when constantly training their abs and not attempting to lose body fat, that their stomachs actually appear bigger due to the muscles growing underneath.
Myth 4: More time in the gym the better
Overtraining is actually really serious and can make you really quite poorly. Instead of spending hours in the gym a day and pushing yourself and your muscles too hard, you should be looking at how to get an effective workout. You can get amazing workouts in 30 minutes that will be more beneficial than one taking 2 hours. It will also mean that you are more effective and less tired for your next workout meaning you can hit it just as hard.
Myth 5: Protein shakes are only for men
This myth is one that I cannot believe is still being said. Protein shakes are ideal for everyone! We need protein in order to repair the muscles that we have worked during our gym session. These are essential to the recovery of your body and can enter the muscles quicker in a powder form. Have them within 30 minutes of finishing your workout for maximum results. A high protein diet can also lead to fat loss and therefore you should give shakes a go; not to mention you can get some amazing tasting ones.
As you can see from the above five myths, there is a lot of confusion surrounding the fitness industry. They all come from a lot of misinformation being spread around as facts, often between gym goers and sometimes said from unqualified people within the industry that have a large following. If you are looking for fitness or nutrition advice, make sure you consult someone that has the relevant qualifications and only then should you take action. If you hear anyone saying any of these statements, be sure to put them right and help to educate the masses within the gym community.
About Leanne Holder
Leanne is an MSc qualified Strength and Conditioning Coach, Personal Trainer and Fitness Blogger. She has a vast amount of experience training professional athletes, the public and freelance writing about fitness and nutrition topics. Her blog and Instagram are full of tips, resources and useful ways to change your lifestyle and improve your health!