5 Common Misconceptions About Exercise, Diet & Weight Loss

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By Ben Longley

The world of health & fitness is riddled with an overload of information, misinformation and all sorts of contradictory advice. Everywhere we go and everywhere we look we are bombarded by TV ads, radio ads, books and magazines who are all touting a different training method or diet which is the magic bullet that everyone is looking for.  Needless to say, most people just get confused and end up getting nowhere with their health and fitness goals. Here are 5 common misconceptions about exercise & diet:


Weighing yourself on the scales is the best measurement of results

When most people start a fitness routine or a diet, easily the most commons way of measuring progress is their weight on the scales. The problem is scale weight does not only measure variations in body fat, but also variations in muscle tissue, levels of hydration, water retention, food in your body, etc – which can all vary.

It’s possible to put on weight and for this to be a productive thing, if you’ve added some lean muscle tissue for example. It’s also possible to lose weight and for this to be counter-productive, if you’ve lost only muscle tissue and no body fat for example. You can chop off your arm and you’ll weigh less on the scales if that’s all you want to see!

Scales don’t actually account for what that weight is actually composed of, which is referred to as your body composition. If you’ re training smart and including some strength training exercises into your exercise routine, unless you have a good 10-15 kgs to lose, measuring your weight on the scales likely won’t give you a great indication of results.


If females train with weights they will get big & bulky

This misconception is becoming less and less prominent it seems, as time goes on. The vast majority of females will not get big & bulky muscles from weight training. Females lack the physiological profile necessary to add an appreciable amount of muscle tissue. Sure there are the genetic minorities of females who can put on more muscle than most, but I bet you’re not one of them if you’re reading this.

In reality, weight training for females will burn a lot of calories, will give a metabolic boost, will burn body fat more effectively than cardio, will ‘tone’ muscles, and will help re-shape the body for the better.


You have to eat 6 small meals per day to lose weight

This is a very common misconception among regular people and for many personal trainers as well. The idea that you must eat every 2 hours to keep your metabolism running high is a fallacy. Studies have shown that regardless of whether you eat 2 meals per day or 6 meals per day, weight loss will be exactly the same as long as calories intake is the same. So eat anywhere from 3 -6 meals per day, whichever suits you best. If you eat under 3 meals per day, in my opinion it becomes a struggle to eat enough food and get in enough important nutrients for many people.


Protein shakes make you fat

There is nothing inherently fattening about a protein shake containing just pure protein and no added carbohydrates. Protein is just a macronutrient and you can get the same amount of protein through eating a lamb chop or a chicken breast. In fact there isn’t even a difference between protein powder for men and protein powder for women, again its just protein and a putting it in a pink tub with a picture of a lean female or a black tub with a picture of a muscly man doesn’t change that.

Protein powder is really just a tool of convenience for most people. If you struggle to eat a real, wholefood source of food to get in your protein, then supplementing with a good quality protein shake can be very helpful for muscle recovery, increasing lean muscle tissue, adhering to a fat loss diet plan and improving body composition.


Quick transformations are normal and expected

TV and magazines are filled with examples of quick & amazing transformations, this is the stuff that sells and it’s the stuff that inspires people.  This misconception (whilst it can be inspiring) can actually have quite a negative effect on many people.

In reality, big changes in body composition take time. It’s a slow and steady process which occurs over the span of months and even years (depending on the starting point and the desired finish point), not over the span of 12 weeks. Sure you can get steady results starting from week 1, even really good results -but the 12 week amazing transformations we have all seen are the exceptionally good ones, not the norm.

Thinking quick transformations are normal or are even possible for most people, just lead to disappointment when the realisation kicks in that this is not how it’s going to work for them and the quick-fix solution they had in mind will take a lot longer then expected. More often than not this leads to quitting and failure.

People need to understand that what you look like and how healthy you are will be a by-product of the lifestyle you have lead for a substantial amount of time, not the by-product of an 8 week health kick to ‘undo’ the damage done from months or years of unhealthy eating and inactivity. By understanding this, people are much more likely to get into the right mindset and get better, long term, sustainable results.

Author: Ben Longley is the owner of The Fit Stop – Group Training & Personal Training St Kilda East. Ben and his team of trainer’s specialize in helping local residents lose weight, tone up and get fit & healthy. For more information about his services you can visit www.StKildaFitnessTrainer.com.au or you can contact him at ben@bgltraining.com.au

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