As we approach the summer months, I bet many of you have made resolutions to work out more, lose weight, tone up, or something along those lines. But, before you go on any further, here are just a few gym myths you should know about…
Myth One: The more protein shakes, the better.
Many so-called ‘gym freaks’ do consume protein shakes regularly. However, it is not healthy to use these as a meal replacement. Because the shakes isolate compounds, they lack other compounds and essential vitamins that real food provides. They are often processed too. Professional athletes tend to use protein shakes, but they key word here is ‘professional’. They also either have a personal nutritionist, or they are a nutritionist themselves. Whilst protein shakes are effective and do show results, you shouldn’t solely rely on them for your intake of protein. Nothing beats the real thing.
Myth Two: ‘Because I go to the gym, I can eat what I want.’
It is no lie that abs are made in the kitchen. Whilst cardio does help you lose weight, and doing weights does help you build muscle, your diet is essential. Working out is no excuse to eat what you want and have an unbalanced diet. If you take this approach, you will not see results. You don’t need to go on a ridiculous diet or cleanse. Small and gradual changes make a difference. If you normally skip breakfast, wake up half an hour earlier so you can allow yourself time to eat in the mornings. If you snack throughout the day, limit yourself to one snack a day between lunch and dinner. Another misconception people have is how little they believe they need to eat, compared to how much you really need to eat. If you eat tiny portions and find you are hungry constantly, you are starving your body, which means you cling on to more fat and won’t actually lose the weight you want to. In terms of counting calories, they are always guideline daily amounts, not rules. Your body is unique, so you should listen to it and how it reacts.
Myth Three: Machines are more effect and safer than weights.
This is not the case at all. You can still injure yourself on machines for a number of reasons. Although they are assisted, and have resistance, you can still use a weight too high for you and tear muscles. They aren’t always effective either. You could be using too much momentum, rather than your muscles. Maybe you aren’t engaging your core enough in the exercise. For example, if you squat 60 kilograms on a smith machine, and then try the same weight on an unassisted bar, you will struggle more because it takes more balance and core engagement to free squat. If you ever come across a machine that you are unsure how to use, you should ask someone for assistance to prevent any potential injury.
Myth Four: Your cardio machine is counting the calories you are burning.
The machine tells how many calories you are supposedly burning per hour. But, is this accurate? No. If your machine does not ask you for your age, height, weight, BMI, and body fat percentage, then ignore the calories you have burnt, because it will not be accurate without that information.
Myth Five: ‘No pain, no gain’
If you are ever in pain, you should stop. There is a difference between an ache and pain. If you back hurts when you squat, then maybe you need to work on a better everyday posture, and fix your form during your squats. If leg press hurts your knees or ankles, then you may have a problem with your joints that need some attention, or you may be placing your feet at the wrong angle.
You do not need to sweat to show that you are working hard either. Sweat is just the way which your body cools itself down. Just because someone else might be drenching in sweat and you are not, it does not mean you’re not working hard enough. Your body is different, it will react differently to everyone else.
Myth Six: Crunches and ab-curls will give you abs.
While crunches do tone your stomach and strengthen your core, they alone will not give you abs. You need to lose weight around your stomach before your abs will start to come through. This means doing cardio, HIIT exercises, and full body work outs.
Swimming will not help you lose weight either. Whilst it is a great sport and does strengthen and tone your body, it will not actually help you lose excess body fat.
Myth Seven: If women lift weights, they will become bulky and unfeminine.
The high levels of testosterone in the free weights section is intimidating, do not let this put you off. Women are allowed to lift weights too. Naturally, females do have more fat than males, so your bodies find it more difficult to build muscle. You will not become bulky and ‘manly’. In fact, lifting weights is encouraged. Typically, you lose 10% of your muscle each decade once you hit your thirties, so lifting weights regularly is a great way to ensure you keep as much muscle as possible and stay strong as you age.