The Truth About Common Health & Fitness Myths

It seems like you read a new health and fitness theory every day. One day, coffee is bad for you, the next day it’s not. One day, running is bad for your knees, the next day it’s not. There’s so much conflicting information online about health and fitness, it can be hard to tell what’s true.

Find out the truth behind these common health and fitness myths!

MYTH: Sweating a lot during a workout means you burned more calories.
FACT: Sweat should not be used as a gauge of physical exertion. It’s simply a natural response to cool down the body.

According to the American College of Sports Medicine (ACSM), as your body temperature rises, your nervous system stimulates the eccrine glands to release sweat. “Sweat is made up of water, sodium and other substances that help cool the body down.”

In fact, everyone sweats differently. The amount of sweat you produce is determined by many factors. These include gender, genetics, environmental conditions, age or your fitness level.

MYTH: Fat is bad for you! The less fat you eat, the better for your diet.
FACT: Your body needs three essential things to survive – protein, carbohydrates and fat!

It’s a common misconception that fat makes you fat. Fats provide essential fatty acids, deliver fat-soluble vitamins, and are a great source of energizing fuel.

However, because fats have more calories per gram than protein or carbs, you should limit your fat intake to avoid extra calories. The NIH suggests “eating small amounts of food with healthy fats, such as avocados, olives, or nuts” or replacing “whole-fat cheese or milk with lower-fat versions.”

MYTH: Lifting weights will make you bulky.
FACT: It takes more than lifting weights to build bulk. Moreover, researchers recommend adding weightlifting to your exercise routine.

Women have traditionally avoided weightlifting for fear they’ll look too bulky. Beverly Paquin, registered nurse and International Sports Sciences Association Certified Personal Trainer, puts that fear to bed. The two the two major hormones involved in building muscle are testosterone and human growth hormone. Paquin“In general, women have about 15-20% less concentration of testosterone in their body than men do.” Without that extra testosterone, it’s difficult for women to bulk up.

Additionally, the American College of Sports Medicine recommends weightlifting for all adults at least twice a week, with three times a week being optimal. Researchers at the University of Alabama did a study comparing three groups of women. The first group stuck to cardio workouts, the second to weightlifting and the third did not change their workout routine. The study concluded that the “weight trainers lost more fat than the cardio-only participants.” Research suggests weight training helps keep fat at bay as we age better than cardio.

MYTH: To successfully lose weight, you need to cut calories dramatically.
FACT: It’s true if you significantly decrease your calorie intake, you might lose weight. But, this method is unhealthy, unsustainable and, ultimately, not recommended by fitness experts.

One study reported in American Psychologist aimed to find out what happened to people on diets in the long run. The study concluded the majority of people who lost weight on a diet regained all the weight they had lost. 

Not eating enough can cause your metabolism to slow down as the body attempts to reserve nutritional resources. Traci Mann, lead author of the report, adds that people on a “very-low-calorie diet (800 calories a day) have an increased risk of developing gallstones and digestive issues.”

To sum up, don’t sweat your lack of sweat, no need to fear fat, add weights to your workout and eat up!