6 Home Truths About Getting Fit
Hearing so many of the same questions from brides to be at the UK Wedding Fayre last weekend left me desperate to write this post. So here it is – my ‘Myth Busting’ facts about fitness!
Myth 1: Lifting weights will make me bulky
Many women fear that if they lift weights their body will become very manly with bulky muscles. This is absolutely not true. Adding resistance work will make you stronger and the muscles more dense and shapely. Women who train at a normal level for health and wellbeing simply cannot achieve the look of a bodybuilder – ladies naturally do not have enough testosterone to make massive changes to their muscle size.
That’s not to say women are unable to build bulk to their muscles. However, this takes years and years of lifting very heavy weights, eating a lot of food, supplementing and having extremely low body fat in order to achieve that look.
Myth 2: If I work my core every day I will get a six pack (spot reduce fat)
If only! Unfortunately you cannot ‘spot reduce’ fat anywhere on your body. In fact, over training one area can cause imbalances resulting in injury. The only way to attain a six pack, for example, is to eat a healthy diet alongside a well designed training programme.
Myth 3 : Cardio is the best way to lose body fat
Yes, cardio can help to reduce body fat, that much is true. However, if losing body fat is your goal, results can be achieved much more quickly by combining cardio AND strength training alongside a healthy eating plan. So why does strength training help to lose body fat? When you train this way, the muscles breakdown and your body has to work hard over the next 48 hours to repair and rebuild the fibers soaking up more calories in the process. This in turn hypes your metabolism (speed at which your body burns fat) whilst you are resting.
Myth 4: I don’t need to workout I’m already slim
You know who you are! Gorgeous girls who eat what they want and can still fit in their smallest jeans. But remember, weight is not the only indicator of your health. If you lead a sedentary lifestyle and don’t have a healthy diet the chances are you are in poor health. There are many increased risks associated with inactivity – diabetes, high blood pressure, coronary heart disease, cardiovascular disease, and some types of cancer, to name just a few. Many people only consider exercise for weight loss when actually they should be doing it to improve health (or remain healthy) first and foremost. You only get one body is this lifetime, take care of it!
Myth 5: Quick fix diets will give me faster results
If I had a pound for the number of women I have trained over the years who have tried quick fix diets in a bid to lose weight! These diets simply DO NOT work! In fact they have the opposite effect and the end result is that you become fatter. Let me explain why.
In the short term you will most definitely lose weight – i.e. the number on the scales will go down. But losing weight on quick fix diets doesn’t mean losing just body fat. Valuable muscle tissue is also lost – the very thing that gives your body shape! Your body will do it’s very best to hold on to body fat as a fuel source in a bid to survive. The way it does this is to slow the metabolism (the rate at which your body burns fat). The look achieved by quick fix diets is just a smaller version of you and although the clothes may feel less snug in the short term the body still looks fat as a result of lost muscle.
Quick fix diets cannot be maintained and once normal eating habits return the metabolism remains slow resulting in further fat gain. Not to mention they are unhealthy and can have nasty side effects including, lethargy, dry skin, hair loss, digestive problems, hormone problems to name just a few. Maintaining an exercise regime and a healthy eating plan is the only way to lose body fat safely and effectively with long term results.
Myth 6: I need to work out for hours on end to get results
This is very true if you are sticking with just one form of activity – cardio for example – results can be very, very slow. The reason is because cardio doesn’t build much in the way of muscle tissue.
However, dense muscle tissue uses up more energy than any type of cardio, providing much quicker results. Training high intensity (working hard, taking little rest) adding resistance and high intensity cardio for just 20 minutes , 3 or 4 times per week, will allow most people to achieve results in as little as 6 weeks. After only 1 week you will certainly feel much brighter, have more energy and have a spring in your step!
Remember though, there needs to be a healthy eating plan in place too – you can’t out-train an unhealthy diet.
Changing up the workouts so you don’t plateau also helps to get those results quicker. If you continue to do the same workout over and over again the body becomes comfortable with it, hence slower results. Include lots of variety to your workouts and keep pushing yourself harder!
Hard work = results. It’s as simple as that!
Jenny Garside is a Personal Trainer with over 20 years experience and a Multi-Titled World Figure Champion.