Nutrition and exercise is confusing. If you have never been in sports, had a trainer or studied it in school, you would be overwhelmed at the thought of starting a fitness regime. There is an abundance of information being shared on the internet, print, television, friends, co-workers and family. It is hard to differentiate between what is right and what is wrong and moreover, what is right for YOU. I have outlined a few of the myths about exercise and nutrition that women need to know. This is by no means the end of the myths but at least it is a start. And a start is what anyone needs in order to take the first steps towards gaining knowledge and beginning any fitness program.
If you lift heavy weights you will get big bulky muscles.
This is simply not true. Not only is lifting weights going to make you stronger, but it will also help to ward off osteoporosis. Lifting heavier weights will help build muscles, and build muscular endurance. Think strong, toned and lean. Not bulky.
Sit ups will remove your belly fat.
Sit ups will help build muscle but you can’t “spot” reduce fat in certain locations. To lose fat, you have to change your diet and increase your activity – especially your cardio.
I eat more when I workout.
Yes, your appetite may increase when you work out. However, should it? If you are overweight, chances are your caloric intake is larger than it really should be. You may still feel hungry on the same diet if you haven’t changed it. What to do? Increase your vegetable intake. Also ensure that your diet is rich in fiber, which will help you stay more full, longer. Finally, ensure that you are drinking enough water. Sometimes you may think you are hungry when you are actually thirsty. You should be drinking at least 8 x 8 ounce glasses of water each day. This should increase if you are exercising.
Chasing after kids is your exercise.
Are you literally running after your kids 60 minutes continuously each day? Doubtful. Of course if you have small children, you are super busy. But it is not going to make your heart healthy. It is recommended that everyone partake in 60 minutes of continuous moderate to vigorous activity each day. That means working hard enough to break a sweat.
You can’t join a gym until you are in shape or in “better shape”.
Do not be intimidated by gyms. Yes, there are some super fit “20-somethings” prouncing around in tiny little outfits. But 95% of the people in gyms are just normal people sweating it out. They show up in every size, shape and outfit. As insecure as you may feel going in, realistically, now one really notices or cares. Most people are there to reach the same goal as you – to be healthy, be fit, be stronger and more confident.
You need a gym membership (and money) to get in shape or exercise.
This is simply not true. Gyms and fitness facilities, as we know them know are a late 21st century phenomenon. However, over the past thousands of years, no one had gym memberships. They were fit though. Firstly, people also didn’t have cars. They walked. Second, they couldn’t run to the store to get a pre-made dinner or pick up a pizza. They had to spend the whole day either hunting or gathering their food or preparing it to eat. It was non-processed, organic and balanced.
In today’s world, you don’t need a gym. What you do need is a good pair of shoes for exercise. Outside and your home are more than enough to improve your fitness. Go for a brisk walk or run every day. Do push ups (upper body), sit ups, planks etc… (core) and squats and lunges (legs). No gym required. If this isn’t exciting or challenging enough for you, there are thousands of websites, videos and “apps” that have motivating and entertaining workouts you can do just about anywhere – by any body.
With all this said, if you are still unsure about where to get started, consult a professional. Most gyms have personal trainers or consultants that are more than eager to help you. Also, if you have injuries, healthy problems or concerns, ensure you consult your doctor or health care provider before beginning any program.