Tanya Guides us through the biggest myths in the fitness industry and helps us decide fact from fiction.
Myth—Diets and meal plans will work for everyone
We humans are complex creatures. We come in different shapes and sizes, and we all lead different lifestyles, with different beliefs and different ideals. As a result, our bodies have adapted in their own unique ways and may have completely different dietary needs to those of the next person. Good examples of this are the food intolerances and allergies that are beginning to develop around the western world. Other factors that affect our daily dietary requirements include
- Activity level
- Body structure
- Health conditions
For me this is enough to turn me off any meal plan that hasn’t been specially designed for me and my lifestyle. Different things work for different people. What I aim to do is eat as healthy as I can without foregoing a little indulgence every now and again. I eat when I’m hungry and stop when I’m satisfied (most of the time).
The ideal diet for me is healthy, nourishing and not too restrictive.
Run, hop, step or jump? Now let’s have look at a few EXERCISE myths creating confusion every time you step into the gym.
Myth—You can spot-reduce fat
“What exercises can I do to increase my thigh gap?” “Can you give me some exercises to get rid of my muffin top?” I hear questions like this all the time! Ladies, please take note: no amount of crunches will give you a flat tummy, no amount of sumo squats will give you a thigh gap, and no amount of push-ups will give you skinny arms. Don’t get me wrong, these exercises all have their merit for toning and strengthening these areas, but they do not get rid of the fat covering the muscles. The fact is that no specific exercises reduce the fat from a particular area. Exercises target muscles, not fat. Fat can only be lost from the body as a whole in an order predetermined by your genetics.
Myth—Weight training makes you bulky
So many women shy away from weight training out of fear they will bulk up and resemble the shredded bikini-clad women you see in body sculpting competitions. The truth is that a lot of precise programming and dieting goes into creating these physiques. Women do not naturally contain enough testosterone to build large, bulky muscles.
Weight training and body weight strength training will help you slim down thanks to an increased metabolic rate spurred on by the reactive muscle growth and repair. Now this doesn’t mean you need to sign up for your nearest gym. For most women, 5 to 20 kilograms will be enough weight to help you see results at home. It is all in the way you use them.
Myth—There is a one-size-fits-all method to training
We all have different bodies, different goals and lead very different lifestyles. If you are not enjoying your workouts or you are not seeing the results you want, try something different. Variety is important in a fitness program because it allows you to challenge your body consistently and overcome the potential to ‘plateau’.
I train my body in so many different ways, whether by running, swimming, walking, lifting or sweating it out with a HIIT session. Each type of training has its own benefit and enables me to strengthen my body in many different ways. The best method of all is to experiment. Find something that works for you, and always remember to keep it fun!