5 fitness myths

November 11, 2013 in Blog by lindsaymwright

Hi loves! I’ve been away all weekend at a women’s retreat! I’m running on about 10 cumulative hours of sleep (over 4 days!), so I’m worn out and exhausted. But, oh so filled to the brim with a joy and a peace that I can’t describe! More on that to come!

My friend, Domi, offered to help me out with a guest post – how could I say no? Take it away, friend!

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Hey, LL readers! How are y’all? My name is Domi, and I’m the chief shenanigan-maker over at That’s What Domi Said.

I blog about all sorts of things – including fitness – and when Lindsay offered to let me guest blog for her, I was thrilled! I’ve been reading LL for over a year now, and Lindsay is one of my favorite bloggers. Maybe it’s because we both are crazy list-makers and appreciate good sex jokes? Or maybe it’s because I want her abs? Either way, here’s one of my fitness-related lists:

5 Fitness Myths

#1 You must go all out, balls out, every single workout.

Working out- as in just getting to the gym, lifting things, and breaking a sweat – is a fantastic accomplishment for a lot of folks. Not everyone is able to push themselves to a crazy-high level of physical intensity, so if you can, good for you! But here’s the thing: You don’t have to, and you probably should not, go balls to the wall every. Single. Day. That’s how burnout happens, and if you keep going at that 110% intensity without ever giving your body time to recover (by utilizing rest days, varying the intensity of your workouts, etc.), you’ll find yourself regressing rather than progressing. Remember- stimulation happens during exercise, but change happens during recovery. Also, can we agree that puking in the middle of a workout is not a badge of honor? If it happens, ok, let’s move on and learn from it (and, you know, clean up)…but there is nothing to be ashamed of if your breakfast has never made an encore during a workout.

#2 More is better.

If working out is good, then working out more is better, right? Not necessarily. Keep in mind that the law of diminishing returns applies to exercise, and after a certain point, increasing the number of workouts each week or the duration of each workout will have a negative effect on your health. Like we went over in #1, change happens during recovery. For beginners, it is certainly a good idea to gradually build up training frequency, volume, and intensity. If you can eventually build up to working out for an hour five or six days per week without any negative effects on your health and you truly enjoy it, go for it! Otherwise, pay close attention while you ramp it up and scale it back, adjusting again and again, and eventually you’ll find your sweet spot.

(The exception to this rule is coffee. More coffee is always better.)

#3 To be healthy, you have to [fill in the blank: run distance, do Crossfit, lift really heavy, do yoga, etc.]

This. Sweet moses, y’all, if only there were a rooftop I could shout this from. There are so many fitness trends these days (endurance events, Crossfit, adventure races, yoga, etc.) that people become fanatical about. It’s terrific that fitness is becoming “mainstream” and that more and more exercise methodologies are being accepted…but things turn ugly when people start equating these activities with health and fitness. Don’t force yourself to do one kind of exercise just because you think it’s the epitome of fitness! You can be fantastically fit without running marathons, doing Crossfit WODs, or getting your downward-dog on. (For example, I will never, ever do naked yoga. I have no desire to see a roomful of strangers in their birthday suits, much less while they put their feet behind their head and otherwise contort their bodies. I’m also not a distance runner, Crossfit-doer, or spin-class “spinner.” And yet, I’m healthy.) Every workout comes with unique risks and rewards, and the great thing is, there is no one particular workout required for health. Experiment, find the things you love and where your strengths lie, and cultivate your own unique fitness regime from there. No single form of exercise is ideal all across the board. Workouts that make you miserable are not worth it, so find something that challenges you and invigorates you. And then do it and enjoy it!

← Less this, more that →

#4 Hiring a personal trainer will help you take your fitness to the next level.

I’m going to be straight with you – many, if not most, trainers you find in commercial gyms are not worth the cost of training. Some don’t know what they’re doing, some don’t put in the effort to make quality programs, and some just don’t care. (I say this as someone who is a certified personal trainer, has trained with multiple personal trainers, and is currently working in the fitness industry.) If getting to the gym is the biggest hurdle for you, find a friend who will work out with you and keep you accountable. Putting $5 per workout completed into a “reward fund” (so after 20 workouts, you have $100 of money to spend on yourself) is another idea. If you need guidance for how to reach your fitness goals, you’d probably be better off either consulting with a reputable health expert and utilizing their input in putting together your fitness plan, or (if you already have a bit of background in fitness) dedicating your own time to doing quite a bit of research and designing your own program. The most important key to training is that you are committed to your health, driven to achieve your goals, and that you take responsibility for your training and your fitness. However, if you can find a trainer who knows what they’re doing, is passionate about their field, and is a good match for you in terms of personality and training-style, your money will be well spent.

#5 Exercise leads to weight loss.

So, exercise is great. You know that. The good Lord didn’t make us to sit at desks all the live long day, and we need to move and use our bodies. This is where exercise (and “NEAT” – non-exercise activity thermogenesis – or “an active lifestyle” or “more standing/walking than laying on the couch watching New Girl reruns”) comes in.

Here’s the thing though. Exercise alone won’t make you skinny. It boils down to this: Exercise promotes fitness, diet promotes weight loss/gain (“diet,” of course, being your consistent food choices, not a restrictive short-term program). The old “you can’t out-train a bad diet” cliché is true. I exercised obsessively – what I now can see was exercise bulimia – for years trying to lose weight, while only putting in 70% effort into my diet. It was once I started consistently choosing foods that supported my health and my goals that I was able to start leaning out. Exercise – particularly strength/resistance training – will shape your body, building the muscles that create a “toned” look with curves in the right places. It’s a proper diet that will gradually zip away excess body fat and bring you to a level of leanness that allows those hard-earned muscles to be seen! What you eat is such a personal thing, and there are so many different schools of thought on which foods are healthful and which are harmful.

(For example, I’m not a big believer in “portion size.” …Clearly.)

Just like with your workouts, remember that you don’t have to eat foods you hate just because people say it’s healthy. (I won’t eat spinach unless it’s blended in a smoothie and I can’t taste it. No shame here, and I haven’t keeled over yet.) Just as with your workouts, you need to take responsibility, do your own research, and stay committed.

Thank you, again, Lindsay, for letting me share today!

For all y’all reading, have you ever fallen prey to any of these fitness myths? What other fitness myths would you add to this list?

Cheers!

xo, Domi