Nowadays, there’s always someone selling a diet that ‘works’, a skinny tea that will help you lose massive weight or just some utter rubbish. If you are female, they will always be someone telling you that lifting weights will make you look bulky. The fitness industry is filled with misconceptions and fitness myths.

There is your co-worker who wants to do a detox program before she embarks on her healthy journey, that person in the gym who spends endless hours on the treadmill or that girl with pink weights just wanting to get toned. It is a maze out there and quite a mission to separate fact from myth.


Fitness Myth #1 You need to go on a restricted diet to lose weight

You do not need to go on a miserable diet to lose weight. Diets fail and most of them are built on short-term goals. If your goal is to lose weight and permanently keep it off, you need to change your lifestyle not go on a 6 weeks diet that tells you to eat this and not that.

You need a caloric deficit in order to lose weight. That means that the calories that you consume must be less than the calories you consume. It is simple Mathematics when it comes to weight loss.

Yes, it is possible that you will lose weight when you get on a restricted diet but the question how long will you stay on it and keep the lost weight off? A healthy lifestyle route, it becomes part of you and chances of binging are very low compared to when you go on a diet.

Make healthy choices have cheat (reward) meals or days once in a while. Just stay away from diets if you do not want to fail over and over again.

 Fitness Myth #2 Lifting weights will  make a woman bulky

I can’t count how many times I have heard this said to me. The latest was when a dude in the gym decided to give unsolicited advice by telling me to stop lifting weights because I was going to start looking like a man. I wanted to throw the dumbbell at him!

Lifting weights will not huge and gross a woman make. Women who are ‘bulky’, look that way because they have particularly trained for that kind of physique. Lifting a 10kg dumbbell to train your arms will not make a woman look like a man, nor will squatting a 100kg barbell. Building noticeable muscle takes a very long time, significant effort and specific nutrition. If you lift heavy enough as a woman, you will simply achieve a look that you thought you would achieve by lifting those tiny pink dumbells. Take a look at Bret Contreras’ studies and book if you do not believe that lifting weights will not make you bulky at all.

Studies have been conducted to prove the benefits of women lifting weights and debunk the fitness myths that surround it.

“To quote the study by Staron et al., significant increases in maximal isotonic strength (1RM) were observed over a 20-week weight training program for the lower extremity with no change in thigh girth. So, if women train naturally without steroid hormones, it is highly unlikely they will turn into Ms Olympia. In a groundbreaking paper published in the NSCA Journal, multiple studies have cited  that weight training in women causes “a reduction in fat weight, an increase in lean weight and either no change or only a slight increase in total body weight.” This is elaborated in the article that Rochelle Louw, a Biokenist at the University of Pretoria, wrote for Fitness Chat. Click here to read the article on why women should lift weights.


Fitness Myth #3 You can reduce fat in a specific area

This is one of the common fitness myths that I have had to explain to people a million times. People want flat tummies and so they are always asking for ways to lose belly fat and only belly fat. Well, the fact is you cannot spot-reduce fat. Training a specific area will not reduce fat in that place.  Your body is by no means wired that way. You will have to lose overall body fat and your body decides where you lose the fat first, not you.

Fitness myths debunked

You can do all the crunches you like for abs, triceps dips for the bat wings and so on, but the fat in those areas will not budge until you start working all your muscles in full and sort your nutrition out.


Fitness Myth #4 You can lift light weights and get toned

There is no such thing as toning. Ladies often say they just want to tone. But here is the thing. Muscles do not ‘tone’. They are either strong or are weak and they do not go from saggy to firm and vice versa.

The toning that people speak of is just the increase of muscle tissue while at the same time, having low enough body fat such that the muscles become quite visible.

If you have been on a mission to get toned, I would like to ask you to take a look at Michael Matthews book, Thinner Leaner Stronger: The Simple Science of Building the Ultimate Female Body. It will answer all your toning, sculpting questions and even teach you how you can achieve that look.

An increase in muscle tissue results from strength training. Performing a million reps with light weights day in and day out will really not get you that ‘toned’ look. Lift heavy weights effectively and again get your nutrition in order.

Fitness Myths #5 You need to detox to lose weight

Can people stop already spreading this weight loss myth, please? If your body had the number of toxins that would warrant a detox, you probably would be dead before you said the word detox. Detoxing is as real as a unicorn.

You do not need to cleanse your system with smoothies, juices or detox teas. A healthy pair of kidneys is in charge of that function. Desi Horsman, a nutritionist, speaker and wellness expert, wrote an article for Fitness Chat explaining why you don’t need to detox to lose weight.

Read how your system works to detoxify and what you need to do instead.

Some of the fitness myths that need to be quashed include the use of waist trainers, fear of fat making you fat, the more you sweat the more fat you lose and so much more.



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