Fitness fads and fibs: counting calories, looking bulky, and more.
We've all heard some crazy fitness fads in our time. Mums have a habit of telling us something is good for us without a reason, but we still believe it. Now, I love my mum's advice but when it comes to the rows upon rows of health and fitness myths out there, I'm not so accepting! This blog is all about common and not so common health and fitness myths, and my opinion on how 'true' they are. Leave me a comment about your own experiences with them!
Below parallel squats are the way to goPersonally, I have always found squatting below parallel [arse to grass] more effective. Squatting below that 90 degree angle enables you to have greater muscle recruitment through your hamstrings, glutes and quads. In saying that, it can be just as effective for a person to squat to just parallel if it's more comfortable for them. A lot of people are prone to injuries, especially in their knees when performing below parallel squats. My advice when it comes to this myth is to test the theory for yourself and see what works better for you. If your knees blow out easily, or you're hesitant to go down that deep and parallel squats work for you, stick to them! And if below parallel squats come naturally to you, squat away!
FatsSince when is the fat-free label a good thing!? I've always believed that when fat is removed from a product, it gets replaced by fillers, sugars and preservatives. When you're in the dairy section choosing milk, are you under the impression that skim milk is a healthier choice? Even though skim milk may be low in fat, often, that fat is replaced by a whole lot of sugar! All that sugar (unless used as energy soon after) will convert into fat. In the end and you're better off opting for full-cream milk. This applies to so many 'fat-free' foods, and the healthy choice would be to read the labels of foods you plan to buy. If something is labelled as low in fat, make sure it's not overly high in sugar or sodium to compensate.
CardioI'm genuinely envious of people who enjoy cardio! Cardio is a great form of exercise, especially HIIT type cardio sessions where your heart rate is left racing. The myth here is that cardio will help you lose weight. Someone at the beginning of their fitness journey generally doesn't have a lot of muscle on them and muscle is a crucial element in the recipe for fat loss. The more muscle you have, the more energy you exert doing normal things like sitting at your work desk or watching TV! And, the more energy you exert, the faster your fat will burn. If you love your cardio but are on a weight loss journey, incorporate weights into your training to maximise the benefits of your exercise.
Weightlifting will make me look overly musclyI've definitely heard enough of this one! There are so many reasons why this myth is far from true.
- Males carry a lot more testosterone and go figure- their muscles grow at a more rapid rate compared to us.
- The lower level of testosterone in us means that yes, we can build muscle, but it is more likely be the svelte, toned kind ;)
- If you start lifting weight and end up feeling too 'bulky', all it takes is a shift in your training program. Progress is hard to maintain and you won't have to do much to reduce muscle growth, just incorporate different exercises.
- Most of the muscly photos you see over social media are glamourised.