The biggest problem with the internet is that everyone can claim they know that "one weird trick" to get the body you want, when the only trick they really know is how to get you to give them your credit card details. Here's some of the most common myths that might be holding you back.
1. Ladies: Weight training will not make you bulky.
A common myth is that women who do weights get bulky. Let's blow that out of the water right now, it simply will not happen. Women have a much lower testosterone level than men, a ten year old male will have more testosterone than pretty much any woman in the world. Because Testosterone
is essential in getting big mass, women won't get male physiques without male levels of testosterone, and a solid 7-10 years of heavy working out, eating right, and using something extremely potent (and dangerous) to boost their testosterone levels. Working out with weights WILL tighten your muscles though, so if you're after less "jiggle" then going heavy can be a great option, just make sure your form is good and you stay safe.
2. Treadmills are better for your knees than running on the road.
The mechanics of running are the same whether you're on a treadmill or on the road. You've got your whole bodyweight sending a shock through your leg, and a lot of force on your knees and ankles. What shoes you wear will have a lot more effect than what surface you run on. Choose a pair that has good cushioning and support, and most importantly, get the right size! If you really want to look after your knees, mix up running with other options, like using an elliptical machine, or a stationary bike. Because your feet don't break contact with the pedals, they don't put the same stress on the knee as running will. Even running on grass can be tricky. Unlike a road or footpath, grass can hide divots and unevenness, so it's easier to step into a pothole or sand, which can lead to injury, especially if you're running some place new. That doesn't mean running is automatically "bad", it just means that if you're suffering from sore knees that you should do something else until you've recovered, then hit the track once you're ready.
3. You can lose fat in one particular area
This is most common with stomach fat. People who want that six pack do thousands of sit ups to try and get that ripped abdominal region, but the truth is that getting those abs to shine through is more about body fat percentage than it is about how strong your abdominals are. Sit ups and crunches are still fantastic exercises, they strengthen your core and can improve posture, core strength and even resistance to injury, but your body won't just pull fat from that area, it'll take it from all over your body. That's why you've never seen someone with flabby arms and a six pack that you could wash clothing on (unless they've had surgery of course). Getting rid of those love handles is all about eating well and mixing in cardio with your weight work. Focus on good, healthy food most of all, no matter how much you train, if you're eating deep fried chocolate bars every day, you're more likely to be hit by lightning than get the abs you want. You can't really pick what part of your body the fat loss will come from. Your muscles just let your body know that they need energy, and the fat transporters in your body just pick it up from the nearest spot and head on over to the muscle that needs it.
4. Machines are safer than free weights.
A lot of people prefer machines to free weights, because they think that the machine will force your body to do the exercise exactly right every time, so you can make sure you're doing it with proper form. This isn't necessarily true. The thing is, you need to make sure the machine is adjusted to suit you, not that you're adjusting to suit the machine. Your posture and position is just as important on a machine as it is when using free weights, so make sure you adjust it to suit your body. If you're unsure about how to do that, get a trainer to show you. It can help you avoid injury and maximise your results.
5. High reps = toned muscles
This is a really common one, and it's a myth that might not seem like one at first. The truth is that your muscles are already very toned -you wouldn't be able to use them otherwise- but they may have layer of fat covering them. To get tone and definition, you need to strip that fat away. Get some cardio to strip the fat, and lift heavy to build the muscle. Low weight/high rep exercises aren't terribly bad for you, but you will have to keep at it for a lot longer to get the results you want.
6. No pain, no gain
There is always going to be some discomfort when you're exercising heavy, and if you're not walking funny after a big leg day, you might not have gone as hard as you should have, but there is a big difference between fatigue soreness and pain.
Knowing the difference between fatigue and pain is very important to avoiding injury. If your muscles are burning and you're finding it hard to do the exercise, pushing through it can be exactly what you need to get your goals. If there's a sharp stabbing pain, you may have an injury and pushing through it will only make it worse.
Pay particular attention to pain in the joints, especially knees. If they're giving you pain, try to avoid stressing them. Get them assessed by a doctor as soon as possible, and make a treatment plan to get them back in shape.
7. Exercise can erase my bad eating habits.
If there is one absolute truth about fitness it's that you can't out-train a bad diet. Some people count macros, some count calories, but at a basic level it's all about getting all the good nutrients your body needs, and controlling the amount of stuff it doesn't.
That means that those times you see a pro athlete having a "cheat meal" of stacks of pancakes or doughnuts, it's because they've had a month or so of eating a strictly controlled diet. You can guarantee they also make sure they're getting a good amount of vitamins and minerals along with it too.
Just like you can't run a race car on crude oil, your body won't run at top efficiency if you're eating bad food. Look at what you eat on a daily basis (make a food diary if possible) and look at all the stuff that you know isn't as good as it should be, then go about changing it to remove those things.
8. Cut our the carbs to lose weight.
aren't the evil things you might think. they play a very important role in building muscle, and as muscle is what you use to burn fat
, more muscle means you can burn more fat.
In truth, it's a little more complex than that, because more carbs doesn't mean more muscle, but no carbs will definitely make it harder to build good, lean muscle, which will make it harder to keep the weight off once you do lose it.
Try to get some carbs in every meal, just make sure they're good, complex ones instead of simple sugars.
9. Getting muscles means losing flexibility
This is simply not true. Being flexible is all about how much time you put into stretching. Some people stretch a lot, others not at all, but no matter your age, strength or muscle size, if you keep stretching your body, you'll gain flexibility.
If Jean Claude Van Damme can do the splits every time someone points a video camera in his direction, then so can you (with a lot of time and effort of course).
10. Being overweight is genetic
There is a genetic component to being overweight, some people inherit a faster or slower metabolism from their parents, but no matter how slow your metabolic rate is, it can be overcome. Some people just have to work harder than others. It's an unfortunate truth that we all have to live with, so if you find it harder to lose weight
than others, it still depends on how well you handle your general health
, you'll need to put a lot more in to get the same results. This might seem like a bad thing, but the truth is that if you're putting in that much effort, it's much more likely to become a habit. If eating right and exercising becomes a habit, it's much easier to keep it up. It's not easy, but few things worth doing are. If you stick with it and don't let genetics be an excuse, you can
get fit and lean.
Plus, when you get there, you'll know
you deserved it. So there's ten myths that you can throw out. There's lots of information out there, so if you're unsure of something that your trainer/partner/neighbours dog walker told you, check it out and make your own mind up. Just keep in mind that the most important thing of all is willpower, without that nothing anyone tells you will help. Good luck!