THE BLOG

10 Big Fat Health and Fitness Myths

28/07/2014 16:37 BST | Updated 27/09/2014 10:59 BST

Fitness myths plague the industry. Lose weight quick schemes and fads just don't work, and worse, can cause long term health issues.

There's nothing more frustrating than seeing and hearing people wasting their time and believing in untruths. So today I want to blast 10 of the top fitness myths that might be stopping you from getting fit and healthy and losing that extra weight.

MYTH 1 // AVOID FAT TO LOSE FAT

Nope. Fats are an essential part of our diet and are required by the body for proper growth and development, healthy hormone levels and to transport fat soluble vitamins. In fact, some studies show that eating healthy fats, like those found in nuts, seeds and avocados, can actually help boost the metabolism enabling you to burn calories more quickly.

MYTH 2 // FRUIT CAN'T MAKE YOU FAT

To put on weight you need to be consuming more energy (calories) than you expire. It doesn't matter where these calories come from - the equation is still the same. Any food, no matter how full of vitamins and minerals, can still make you fat if the total amount of calories you are eating is greater than the total amount you are burning off. What's more fruit has high levels of fructose which provides your body with easily accessible energy, which it will use, instead of your existing fat stores.

MYTH 3 // ALL CARBS ARE EVIL

How do I put this politely? That's a NO. Your body needs certain types of carbohydrates to enable your brain and your body to function. Carbohydrates are broken down to become glucose in your body and glucose is the only fuel that your brain can use. Your body is able to use fatty acids and amino acids to fuel your muscles, if it's forced to by consuming no carbohydrates, although it's not ideal. This doesn't mean that you should be eating processed, simple carbohydrates like white bread and white rice. However you do want to consume complex carbohydrates like those found in whole grains, legumes, quinoa and brown rice. These carbs are the perfect fuel for a body that is in training, and a body that wants to build muscle.

MYTH 4 // DOING HUNDREDS OF SIT UPS WILL GIVE YOU A 6-PACK

Doing a lot of sit ups with definitely strengthen your stomach and core muscles but they won't melt the fat away from your stomach in order for your abs to show. Your stomach muscles will only show if you have a very low body fat percentage, and no fat sitting comfortably over the top of those abs. If you want a 6-pack you need to eat healthy, exercise wisely and lose that excess stomach fat.

MYTH 5 // SWIMMING IS THE PERFECT ACTIVITY FOR WEIGHT LOSS

Don't get me wring, swimming is an excellent cardio vascular activity because it works the majority of the muscles and provides a low impact way of moving that is ideal for those with injuries. However, the water supports our body weight, doing some of the work for us. This means that we rarely achieve the high heart rate that we need to, or burn as many calories as we expect.

MYTH 6 // YOGA WILL BURN FAT + BUILD MUSCLE

The truth is that yoga is excellent for flexibility and, certain types are good for strength training but it just doesn't stimulate muscle growth in the same way as weight training does. In addition the moves required rarely get the heart rate up for long, or burn many calories.

MYTH 7 // TO LOSE WEIGHT YOU NEED TO DO LONG DISTANCE RUNNING

Running at a consistent speeds for long distances will obviously burn calories and help you to lose weight, but studies show that this type of CV exercise isn't the best for fat or calorie burning. High Intensity Interval training is far more effective, because your body doesn't adapt to the speed or the activity in the same way and you continue to lose weight, even after your work out has ended.

MYTH 8 // LIFT LIGHT WEIGHTS AND DO MANY REPS TO TONE

The number of girls I see in the gym doing bicep curls with 3kg weights is worrying - so I want to dispel the myth that this will do anything for your body, right here. Muscle definition and tone come from a low body fat percentage and muscle mass. Training with light weights will not help you to build muscle, it also won't really help you to burn fat. In fact, it won't do much for you at all. So, stop wasting your precious time and start using weights that cause your muscles to reach failure by the end of the 8th rep if you want to start building muscle and looking toned and lean.

MYTH 9 // YOU CAN SPOT REDUCE FAT

I wish. If that were the case my bottom would be half the size it currently is! The reality is that our genetic make-up determines where we are more likely to hold fat, and the only way to get rid of this fat is through having less fat on our body as a whole. Sadly we can't select which parts we lose fat from. However, by following a healthy eating and exercise plan you'll develop a beautiful body that you can be proud of.

MYTH 10 // THERE ARE SHORT CUTS, PILLS, MIRACLE DIETS AND EXERCISE PROGRAMS THAT WILL HELP ME LOSE WEIGHT FAST

There are no short cuts. Let me say that again: there are NO SHORT CUTS. If you lose a lot of weight fast, it's likely to be water or even your own muscle mass, neither of which is good. It's not healthy or safe to lose more than 1-2 pounds of fat per week, especially after the first few weeks. But by making little changes in your lifestyle, exercising and eating healthy you will lose fat and maintain that weight loss. The only secret to this is consistency. Keep going. And, soon these new healthy practices will become habits and you'll step on those scales one day and surprise yourself with having lost all the weight you wanted to.