Sophie Guidolin in shorts and a crop top showing off her abs

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 go

Personally, 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!


Since 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.  


I'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 muscly

I've definitely heard enough of this one! There are so many reasons why this myth is far from true.
  1. Males carry a lot more testosterone and go figure- their muscles grow at a more rapid rate compared to us.
  2. The lower level of testosterone in us means that yes, we can build muscle, but it is more likely be the svelte, toned kind ;)
  3. 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.
  4. Most of the muscly photos you see over social media are glamourised.
Fitness based social media accounts in particular will post photos of tensed muscles in flattering angles to show off their hard-earned work. But if you catch the same person, (even myself) out and about and completely relaxed without tensing, it's a whole other story. Relaxed muscles are athletic but subtle!  

Counting Calories

Counting calories/kilojoules can be risky business if your goal is to lose weight. A lot of professional athletes and competitors require a set amount of calories. However, everyday life doesn't always cater to spending time on weighing foods and counting calories! Rather than counting the calories of your meals, count the quality of the wholefoods in your meals. Natural, wholefoods are easier to digest and generally better for you in every way! I am passionate about the value of a wholefood diet. Along with that, incorporate exercise into your regime to support your weightloss journey. Building some muscle will let you burn fat quicker (like I mentioned above). Using energy for exercise allows for more leeway in your diet since it's important to replenish after a workout with food. (or a protein source) And, instead of calorie counting, restrict yourself less. Having a tight set of rules and small amount of calories to spend on your daily eating can lead to bingeing sessions. It can also create an unhealthy relationship with food, when the main purpose of food is to sustain us. Rather than restricting calories, make a note of foods you should eat mostly, moderately and occasionally.  

I can build a booty at home!

Body weighted leg exercises are amazing to shape and tone your legs. Getting in workouts at home is a great way to maintain overall fitness and health. Unfortunately, unless you have weights and gym equipment at home, it's incredibly hard to build substantial muscle in your booty. The booty I rep is a result of lifting weight to build, rather than to maintain or shape. You need to incorporate weight into your routine to see change and growth!

High protein diets are bad

Kidney damage, liver damage, heart disease and osteoporosis are all health issues related to diets high in protein. There has been extensive research carried out that proves and disproves this theory. Essentially, protein is one of the most important and vital macronutrients. Rather than worrying about the possible side effects of eating too much protein, (which is not that easy to do to begin with) consider the side effects of not having enough protein in your diet. I always make a note of consuming protein after exercise to restore, replenish and build muscle.

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