I’m sure you’re confused. I would be too if I were you! Every week, another hot diet or fitness program comes on the market claiming to be THE solution for achieving body perfection. Between infomercials, magazines, and competing boutique gyms opening up at every corner, I wouldn’t be surprised if you’ve already thrown your arms up in surrender and gone to McDonald's instead.
When I was a teenager, I tried three different fad diets in one week. Like speed dating, I speed dieted—moving onto the next diet when I didn’t see the immediate results as promised. I also once bought a DVD that swore ten minutes a day would give me my dream body. After one session of endless crunches up and down, the only difference in my body was a sore neck. I even bought cellulite cream which claimed to burn pesky fat awa,y but only burnt a hole in my wallet.
Although many fitness and diet ideas are alluring, sometimes they are just a nasty rumor that spread throughout the locker room in a matter of minutes. And with so little time in the day, knowing the truth about what works and what doesn’t is the difference between success and failure.
Fact or fiction, truth or myth, here are your diet and fitness myths revealed! And with apologies to Jack Nicholson in A Few Good Men, I believe you CAN handle the truth.
MYTH #1: Holding your stomach in while doing abdominal work keeps your abs from protruding out.
TRUE! There is truth to this philosophy. Keeping your abs pulled in while doing abdominal work does help to achieve a flatter look of the core. When exhaling, make sure to imagine as though the belly button is pulling in towards the spine. But remember, what really changes the look of your stomach is the combination of proper diet, cardio, and resistance
MYTH #2: The more time I spend at the gym, the better I will look.
FALSE! More time spent at the gym does not equal success. Studies have proven that intensity, proper diet, consistency, workout design, and correct form all change the look of the body. You don’t have to spend hours at the gym every day! It is a waste of time and can cause burnout and injury. Three separate ten-minute routines spread through the day will do the trick. Just make sure to keep that intensity up!
MYTH #3: I need to stretch before I workout.
TRUE! Yes, but not the kind of stretching you think you should do! Think of the body like a frozen rubber band before you workout. What would happen if you stretched the rubber band as wide as it could go and held it? It would probably snap! Instead, you want to gently start manipulating the rubber band, slowly moving it consistently and warming it up before you really pull at it. This kind of manipulation is called Dynamic Stretching, and this is what you should do before you start your workout routine. This kind of stretching looks more like a warm up more so than just standing still and reaching for your toes. It involves moving the body with flow and continuity while stretching the muscles in their full range of motion. Cool down the body after working out by assuming a stretch position and staying there.
MYTH #4: Protein bars and shakes will help me lose weight.
TRUE! Ehhh—sort of true. Protein bars and shakes are usually low in calories. If you replace a meal that typically had 500 calories or so with a shake or bar, the reduction in calories will help you lose weight. However, protein bars and shakes for many people are not filling enough to replace a full meal, so consequently people end up eating more. You also want to watch out for protein bars and some shakes because they can be high in sugar, fat and artificial ingredients—not good for you at all.
MYTH #5: Light weights will give me long and lean looking muscles!
FALSE! Body definition is 80% diet! You want a long and lean look? Then take a long look at your diet. That will make a huge difference. Often times, muscles are just hidden under layers of fat.
Kit Rich is Los Angeles-based fitness trainer with endless exercise and nutritional know-how. Hollywood's hottest stars are addicted to Kit's unique, multi-disciplined approach that combines cardio, yoga, Pilates, and weight training. Kit's clients are immediately taken by her funny and honest approach to health and fitness. She treats her clients as she treats herself, "with a hard challenge, sensibility, sensitively, and a good laugh." Follow Kit on Twitter @kitrichfitness.