3 Ridiculous Fitness Myths That You Should Ignore

Alyssa Atkinson

Don’t listen to this poor advice.

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With each new year comes a huge influx of people who want to get healthier and fitter. In fact, Time cites a recent poll which found that,

“Of the nearly 30% of respondents who said they are making New Year’s resolutions, 50% said their top resolution was to exercise.”

It makes sense that, at the start of a fresh year, people want to wipe the slate clean in all aspects of their lives. Improved fitness is a wonderful goal, but it should be attained in a healthy and sustainable way.

When I was in my senior year of high school, I didn’t know near as much about health and fitness as I do now, and I naively believed some of the myths that I was told by fitness influencers, advertisers, and the like.

For example, I believed endless crunches would make my core incredibly strong. In reality, the crunches did little more than make my neck sore, and my time would have been better spent on total core strengthening exercises, such as planks.

The following are three ridiculous fitness myths that you should know about. Whether you are an avid exerciser or a newcomer who wants to adopt healthier habits in the new year, you should avoid these three things in order to make fitness improvements while still maintaining a sustainable lifestyle.

1. You have to cut carbs to get healthy and fit.

Time and time again, I see fitness influencers and advertisers pushing the idea that you have to eat a ton of protein and cut all carbs in order to get fit. While it is true that protein is an essential macronutrient that will help you build muscle and get leaner and fitter, carbs are also crucial for your overall health.

Instead of cutting carbs completely, Harvard Health suggests minimizing your intake of processed carbs:

“Highly processed carbs can cause a rapid rise and fall in blood sugar levels, leading to “brain fog.” Eliminating those carbs can clear that fog. But rather than shunning all carbs, you can switch to healthier ones, which have the added advantage of providing fiber, vitamins, and minerals.”

Therefore, rather than completely omitting a necessary source of fuel for your brain and body, switch to healthier carb rich foods like whole grains, fruits and vegetables, beans, quinoa, etc.

When I was working on getting healthier and fitter, I cleaned up my diet by getting rid of a lot of processed carbs myself. This included things like refined flours, packaged white bread, processed desserts, foods with a lot of processed, added sugar, etc. I still ate plenty of carbs in the forms of oatmeal, whole wheat pasta, whole wheat bread, whole wheat flour, healthy homemade desserts, etc.

And because I was fueling my body with the right carbs, I saw results. The healthy carbs powered me through tough workouts and nourished my body without making me feel tired like sugar always did.

2. This form of exercise is superior.

Many people in the fitness industry will tell you that cardio is superior to all other forms of exercise. This simply isn’t true. Each type of exercise serves its own unique purpose. What’s best for someone else might not be best for you.

I love to run almost every day. I also lift weights a couple times a week. This routine works for me, and it makes me feel energized and happy. However, not everyone likes to run. Some people prefer to walk, swim, bike, row, or do yoga. Still, people often try to force one specific exercise on themselves or others. I have tried to get into yoga a couple of times, but it didn't stick, so I don't force myself to do it just because others like it.

What matters most is that you find a form of exercise that you truly enjoy and are able to stick with long term. This is because just 30 minutes of exercise each day can have an immense impact on your health. In fact, according to Mayo Clinic,

“Moderately strenuous exercise, about 30 minutes a day, can lead to enormous benefits in terms of your mood, health, weight and the ability to live an independent and fulfilling life.”

There is no one form of exercise that you have to perform to stay healthy. Find what works best for you. It should be something you look forward to that makes you feel alive, energized, and happy day after day.

3. If you do this exercise, you’ll get bulky.

The myth that lifting weights will make you “bulky” has spread like wildfire in recent years, especially because weight lifting has gained a lot of traction. However, weight lifting will actually help you become leaner and stronger.

When I left high school, I was a weak endurance runner with very little muscle. Through four years of hard work in the weight room in college, I built pounds of muscle, became a more efficient and powerful runner, and leaned up in the process.

Weight lifting is not something that needs to be feared. Everyone has to start somewhere. I started out with 10 pound dumbbells, and gradually worked my way up to the barbell (45 pounds). Once I got comfortable squatting the bar, I added weight to it, 10 pounds at a time.

Through gradual progression and proper form, you can become stronger and achieve a leaner, more toned physique.

Final Thoughts

With the rapid advancement of technology in recent years, ridiculous myths about health and fitness continue to run rampant today.

I now understand that the best way for anyone to achieve true, lasting health is by forming sustainable habits, eating a balanced diet filled with minimally processed plant-based foods, and exercising in a way that gets you excited to move your body every single day (for me, that’s running).

Ultimately, you have to do your own research, focus on what’s best for you, and take each day as it comes. If you can learn to enjoy the process, the results will come eventually.

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Ohio U XC/Track alum. I love to run. I blog about food, health, fitness, lifestyle, etc. Personal Blog - nomeatfastfeet.com | Electrical and Computer Engineering Grad.

Raleigh, NC
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