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Fitness myths U need to stop believing

Jen Thomas

Muscle Trainer, Pre & Post-Natal Exercise Expert, and Nutrition Coach

8 min read

Do carbs make U fat? Do lifting weights make a woman bulky? Can U reduce just UR tummy? Can ‘more’ exercise mean yes to ‘more’ food? Do U need a detox to lose weight?

If these doubts trouble U, here’s a relief. Here are some myths — busted. Uncover the truth and live a confident, healthy, fit life.

Myth 1: Carbs make U fat.

The long answer to the question is ‘may be’ and the short answer is ‘no’.

Carbs have got bad reputation over the years. Thanks to ketogenic diets! These are based on the premise that U should eliminate carbohydrates from UR body to help lose weight.

But, carbohydrates, as any other macronutrient, can neither cause U to gain or lose weight. It is ‘how much’ you eat them that brings the difference.

Here is how carbohydrate nutrition works. Carbs fuel your muscles and even sends glucose to brain–for U to think. For carbohydrates to be efficiently stored in your body, it requires enough water. For every 1 gram of carbohydrate U consume, U store 3 grams of water, making a ratio of 1:3. That’s a lot of water! Therefore, the weight gain that we see on our scales is actually water weight and not fat.

Suppose U decide to give up the carbs, you see losing at least 100 grams of weight in 2-3 days. And, when U reintroduce the carbs in UR diet, U notice that UR weight is back up. You conclude that “it must be the carbs!” That’s a myth. Weight gain is attributable to water stored in the body, not carbohydrates.

The terrible things about scales are that they do not give U the whole picture. Weight machines cannot tell the difference between water weight and fat weight. As a result, people automatically assume that any gain or loss has to do with fat and their success or failure with the diet. But that is not the full story.

So, how can U find the difference between water weight and fat weight? Water weight comes on and goes off quickly. On the other hand, fat takes a period of time like 2-3 weeks to register on the body and every-time you go on a diet for less than 3 weeks, then you are probably you are only seeing the marginal fat loss.

But can carb increase UR weight?

Like any macro, like protein or fat, U can overeat carbs and put your body is what is called a calorie surplus. If you continually eat more calories, than what your body requires you will put on weight.

Reduce UR intake of processed packaged foods. These foods contain substitutes that are made in labs. If U want to be healthier and lose weight, then, replace them with healthy ones. For example, change UR instant 3-minute oats with regular oats.

Without a doubt, there are better carbs for you to eat than the others. If you want a high nutritious value of carbs, you should choose foods such as buckwheat, quinoa, whole grains, oats etc.

These grains have gone through less processing which keeps them intact and can hold more nutritional value. On the other hand, foods that have been processed a little more such as white flour, bread, and pasta are less nutrient-dense than the others.

And finally, carbs with baked and sugary goods like croissants and choco-nuts are less nutritious than everything else. U would want to keep these at a minimum.

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Myth 2: Lifting weights makes a woman bulky.

In recent years, it has become quite a norm for women to hit the gym and lift weights just like men. But some women do have reservations about lifting weights. They think weightlifting will make their body look bulky.

It’s a myth. Women can lift weights and challenge themselves in the gym without looking bulky.
Yes, there are plenty of images online which show bulky women as soon as you type in ‘women body builders’, but that’s the picture of someone who is specifically trained to have a bulky body. Bulky bodies are not an automatic result.

To build a bulky muscle, one needs several right conditions such as hormones and food. Men find it easier to bulk their frame because they have a hormone called testosterone, the male sex hormone, which encourages muscle growth.

Women do have small amounts of testosterone in the body but not to the degree the men have. That is partially the reason why women find it difficult to put on the muscle mass.

The second-largest contributing factor is diet.

To build strong bulky muscles, you must fuel the muscles with food. Weightlifting professionals go through a period of bulking and cutting to shed fat but expose the muscles that they have built. It takes quite a hard work and time to achieve.

In fact, on specific strength training programs, designed for women, one may at most put on 1-2 pounds of muscle a month.

So, instead of worrying about bulkiness, every woman should consider strength training as a crucial part of women’s health maintenance—especially as she ages.

When it comes about age, it does not mean that grandmothers and mothers need to lift heavy weights—no matter even if they injure themselves in the process! There is an utter distinction between putting on muscle for bulky ascetic purposes and building the overall muscle for bone strength.

Here’s how we can explain it. As we age, we go through a condition called Sarcopenia—a type of muscle loss. The rate of muscle loss is also dependent on exercise level. The more you exercise, the slower the rate of immobility and muscle loss becomes! Secondly, women also go through a condition called osteoporosis that affects the bones. Having osteoporosis puts you at the risk of injury or breaking bones. Resistance training can help with bone remodeling to make them stronger for old-golden years.

Myth 3: You can just reduce UR tummy.

One could wish fat loss works like this, but officially it doesn’t! This myth-term is called spot reduction. The myth suggest that U can lose weight from a particular body part to slim it down and achieve the overall shape and figure U want.

And unfortunately, this has been a pervasive myth for quite a long time. It is unfortunate that these myths are perpetuated by mainstream media. Also, we see a bundle of magazines that have fancy headings such as “How to burn belly fat?” or “5 ways to slim down your bum for holiday season”.

The truth is weight loss happens in a holistic manner. Once cannot really point out where has the body lost its weight. For some people it happens in cheeks, for others it happens in legs. One cannot really tell!

Myth 4: U can outrun a bad diet.

Everyone wants to eat what they want. And the next logical solution is to exercise more so that U can compensate back on the calories gained.

But staying ahead of a bad diet with extra exercise is really difficult.

A lot of people overestimate how many calories they burn in a session. Just because something feels difficult, and there’s lot of sweat involved, doesn’t mean that the calorie burn has been intense.
For example, on a 30 min run, depending on UR body size and fitness levels, if U are muscle-massive, you may burn somewhere in between 300-400 calories. 300-400 calories in food are the equivalent of 1 coke-classic which is 140 calories, 1 snickers chocolate bar which is 280 calories. That is 420 calories all in total. Now, was that worth the run?

The point is you have to be aware of the time U spend on working out and look at the overall calorie burn. U have to often make these trade-off decisions. U can enjoy a variety of food but is it worth in the end? Think about it.

Myth 5: U need to detox in order to lose weight.

Detoxing for weight loss is something not many people actively think about. Here’s the way to understand why does a detox work or why does it not work. On a 3–5-day detox, you lose weight soon because U take food waste from your body and replace it with liquids. The moment you eat food again, the body carries the food materials as weight in UR body and UR weight changes again.

The crux is that juicing for 3 or more days cannot undo 300 odd days of the year.

So, instead of one-time detox, following a moderate approach to detoxing your body can help you stay healthy and help you lose weight at the same time. While this does not sound trendy on marketing labels, it works!

Moderate Approach to Lose Weight and Embrace A Healthy Life

  • Reduce UR intake of processed packaged foods. These foods contain substitutes that are made in labs. If U want to be healthier and lose weight, then, replace with healthy ones.For example, change your instant 3-minute oats with regular oats.
  • Choose whole grains instead of white bread and pastas.
  • Instead of sugary products like candies, chocolates, cakes and cookies, embrace whole fruits. Whole fruits provide both fibre and natural sweetness.
  • Choose organic foods when available.
  • Drink lots of water and hydrate UR body to help eliminate the waste.
  • Do not forget that skin is UR largest organ and chemicals you use via lotions, creams, perfumes and deodorants gets absorbed through UR skin. Try switching to organic, natural products wherever possible.