Fact: the fitness world is full of misinformation. As a Coach, I fear nothing more than clients/members browsing the internet for fitness information. Let me ask you this, if you knew nothing about cars, would you “Google” how to fix your car and blindly start working on it or take it to a qualified mechanic? Don’t worry, we both know the answer here! Then why would we do the same with your body!? And on top of that, waste your time, money, and health! Let’s take a look at three common misconceptions and clear the air so you can reach your goals.
Lifting Heavy Weights Will Make You Bulky
One of the biggest fallacies/misunderstood ideas in fitness is lifting weights will make you “bulky”. And for women, this is nearly impossible. For one, women do not have the testosterone levels men have to actually increase muscle fiber size. Secondly, you must be in a calorie surplus (and good calories). And third, your training volume and intensity would have to be that of a professional athlete (trust me, you’re not training like this).
Instead, regular strength training or lifting weights has been shown to improve lean skeletal muscle mass composition, weight and fat loss, improved heart health, increased energy levels, reduced injuries and back pain, and increased overall quality of life. Who doesn’t want any of those benefits!?
Lastly, in terms of application, it’s important to know lifting “light” weights with high repetitions (15+) will not promote lean, toned muscle any better than lifting “heavy weights”. In fact, it’s the opposite. Aim for maximizing intensity with a variety of repetitions of 6-12 reps for major muscle parts and see how fast lean, tone muscle develops!
Carbs Are Bad For You
This simply drives me crazy. This is like saying, “I don’t like to put gas in my car to drive it”. By limiting quality carbohydrates, you're essentially denying your body of its #1 energy source. The recent nutrition craze of a “low carb” diet is falsely based on that carbohydrates increase weight gain. But not all carbs are created equal. While bad carbohydrates (simple carbs) such as soda, white bread and pasta, sugary cereal, etc. will absolutely facilitate weight gain. Good carbs (complex carbs) such as fruits, vegetables, whole wheat/whole grains, potatoes, etc. will prime your body to fuel your lifestyle and workout demands.
Instead of aiming to eat a low carb diet, take a look at portion size and overall calorie intake instead. That’s most likely where your nutrition game is lacking. Remember, for weight/fat loss, we want to be in a slight caloric deficit, NOT a large one (more DOES NOT = better). If you’re experiencing fatigue, brain fog, headaches, or reduced workout performance, you’re probably coming up short on your calorie and/or carbohydrate demands. Talk to your Coach or Fitness Professional about your specific carbohydrate requirements based on your activity level.
Core Work = Flat Stomach
You could do 1,000 core exercises every day, and without a proper nutrition plan, a well rounded workout routine, and quality recovery, you will NEVER get the flat stomach you desire. I like to say, everyone has a “six pack”, some just hide it (and use it) better than others. In all reality, we all have the same abdominal musculature, but unless you're at a specific body fat percentage, you’ll never actually have visible abs.
Most people would be better served and would achieve a flatter stomach quicker by performing resistance/strength training exercises that encompass a wide variety of movement patterns such as push, pull, squat, hinge, and rotation. A program designed with these movement patterns trains the abdominal muscles to be used in a multitude of ways to support the body, thus achieving a stronger core. Like I said before, we all have abs, but if your goal is to see them, your focus should be on fat loss instead of crunches.