By Anthony Lee but I thought this was very true and wanted to share because I am guilty of a couple of these.
While I initially specialized in fitness and nutrition for men, a growing number of female friends, acquaintances, and potential clients have been soliciting my advice and services. Given women's markedly different fitness needs and goals, I began to incorporate my knowledge of nutrition and exercise to build regimens and routines for the fairer sex.
Through casual conversations and comprehensive discussions with women, I have found that the same misconceptions are reiterated by fitness novices and experts alike.
While these misconceptions surely exist among men, they seem more common among women. Perpetuated by the media, fads, and fashion magazines that carelessly dispense fitness advice, these mistakes are almost ingrained and therefore hard to shake. Below is my response.
1. I need to lose weight:
When speaking about fitness and nutrition, this is the most common phrase uttered by women. While it is true that many overweight individuals (both men and women alike) need to lose drastic amounts of weight for health reasons, many who utter this phrase want to lose body fat, not weight. What's the difference?
If weight goes down, doesn't body fat follow? Not necessarily. For many, an exercise regimen that includes cardiovascular and resistance training increases muscle while eliminating body fat.
The overall effect is a tighter, more toned physique, but body weight could stay the same or even increase. Therefore, the obsession with numbers on a scale is unfounded; one can greatly improve appearance, enhance fitness levels, and eliminate unwanted fat all while maintaining a constant weight. Focus instead on a combination of body fat measurements in trouble spots and the image in the mirror.
2. I just gained 2 lbs!!!
Again, the numbers on the scale are of little importance in the short run. I hear too many women expressing genuine concern over a fluctuation of two or three pounds in bodyweight.
There are so many factors, none of which have to do with "getting fatter," that could have caused such a minor gain, so there is no need for panic.
For example, an individual should weigh him/herself at the same time every day because the difference in weight between stepping on the scale first thing in the morning on an empty stomach and stepping on the scale after dinner can be quite noticeable. This difference, however, is normal and cyclical.
Water weight can also be a culprit of minor differences, and this too has nothing to do with a permanent weight gain. Therefore, the scale should only be consulted about once a week and the long-run changes are what matter.
3. I am Going on the _________ Diet....
To many women, the word diet implies two things that are notorious saboteurs: deprivation and an end-date. Whether it's the grapefruit diet, Atkins, or some other fad diet in the latest fashion magazine (that's why they're fashion magazines, not health magazines), diets require deprivation. They force the follower to give up enjoyable foods, endure intense hunger or some combination of the two, which usually leads to intense cravings and even more intense binges.
A second thing that diets imply is an end date, a day when the h#llish deprivation comes to an abrupt end. So after that spring break trip, high school reunion, or wedding day, many women gain back even more weight/fat than they originally carried. This is because they feel entitled to finally eat the foods they love after a prolonged diet, and a week of carefree eating somehow turns into a month, then a year.
The way to avoid these pitfalls is to develop healthy eating habits instead of relying on crash diets. Eat nutrient-dense foods in small, frequent meals to stay satisfied and embrace portion control so that you can enjoy the foods that you love.
Exercise moderately, incorporating fun and variety to workouts to avoid burnout and boredom. Health and fitness should be lifelong goals, not 4-week tours de force.
4. Ill be on the Elliptical if you need me:
The idea behind some people's religious devotion to the elliptical machine lies in the belief that since cardiovascular exercise effectively burns body fat, any form of cardio will suffice.
First of all, a nutrient-dense diet combined with both cardiovascular and resistance training is shown to trump diet and cardio alone, but that is not even my main gripe.
Research has consistently shown that the elliptical, although easiest on joints, is worse than the treadmill, stationary bicycle, and rowing machine (not to mention activities such as swimming and intense hiking) when it comes to elevating heart rate and burning body fat. This is due to the fact that movement on these machines relies heavily on momentum and not resistance or the propelling of one's bodyweight. All these months of elliptical training has yielded mediocre results, and now you know why. (MEAGAN SIDE NOTE: I dont think this is necessarily true, it really depends on the resistance and elevation and getting your heart rate into the fat burning zone 130bpm-140bpm and keeping it there for 30-60 minutes)
5. Im going to give diets pill a try.
Do you know what Yohimbe is and how its affects the body? Do you know why there was so much concern around Ephedra? Do you consume too much caffeine? If you are not intimately familiar with these substances, why would you put them in your body day after day?
Before taking these pills, an individual should consult a physician to assure that he/she is in good health. Diet pills achieve fat reduction and weight loss by stimulating the body's systems (thereby increasing metabolism), which can put extra strain on vital functions and organs such as the heart.
Also, diet pills are just a tool; effort is still required to make every tool perform. Just because you pop a capsule a few times a day doesn't mean that you can eat junk, skip workouts, and achieve that ideal physique.
In short, diet pills should be employed after starting and maintaining a regimen as that last resort to break through a plateau. They can be very dangerous if used improperly or abused or use caution.
9 years ago