Myths of the Fitness Industry: Breakdown
In this segment, I will be shedding some light on some of the myths that you may hear in places such as the gym, on Instagram or just by someone that is trying to look smart by feeding you a load of nonsense. We’ve all heard these myths in some form or another, some you may still think are true.
“No carbohydrates after 6pm”
First of all, this piece of advice is terrible for a multitude of reasons, firstly it is demonizing carbohydrates which is one of the most, if not the most essential nutrient for bodily function and performance, you need carbohydrates, we all do, we just don’t need to binge on them. Secondly, the body’s competence in processing nutrients healthily is not subjective nor limited by time, so if your body requires food later in the evening, e.g. a late training session or a late shift at work, you will actually be depriving your body of nutrients it desperately needs to recover and function. Carbohydrates are not the enemy, there is no food that is going to make you gain weight, just like there is no food that is going to make you lose weight, caloric control e.g. surplus/ deficit should be the only goal.
“Squats are bad for your knees/ Don’t let your knees come over the toes”
Another common myth, although this one does have some merit. Usually people who say squats are bad for your knees are speaking anecdotally, who’s biomechanics are not suited to the squat (or it could be the fact that they have not been shown how to squat properly and are petrified at the thought of it). The squat (as well as every other exercise in the world) is subjective to one’s physiology and biomechanics e.g. limb length and leverages, so for some people yes, squats may in fact be bad for their knees. Secondly, not letting the knees come over the toes may prove significantly more dangerous for some, due to the same reasons mentioned above. For some in order to get a full range of motion during a squat or movement similar to one, it is sometimes necessary to allow the knees to surpass the toes. This is not the case for everyone, as some people have the ability to achieve full range of motion without the knees surpassing the toes, again this is subjective to the individual and their biomechanics.
“Eat as much fruit and vegetables as you want”
This statement is true to an extent but will only apply to green leafy vegetables and a select few others if the overall goal is weight loss. As rich in vitamins and antioxidants as fruit/vegetables can be, they also can contain a lot of calories especially fruit, e.g. your average banana has about 100-120kcals, which is the same as 2 Oreos or 1 Kit Kat. So maybe having your fruit smoothie every morning with 6 pieces of fruit in it and thinking it doesn’t count may need to be re-assessed. Fruit and vegetables are amazing foods but should be accounted for and portioned accordingly.
“You can burn fat in selected places”
This is not the method in which body fat reduction works, yes certain people have areas in which adipose tissue (fat) specifically accumulates and due to the abundance, it will typically be the first area in which it is lost, sometimes this is not the case. If you are in a caloric deficit trying to lose fat and there is an area in which you seem to hold on to it, the caloric deficit that you are in is clearly not strict enough. There is no fat burning exercise, massage technique, nor any food that is going to directly target an area of your body, bodyfat reduces somewhat evenly across the body in accordance with caloric deficit, in order to reduce stubborn areas, calories must be restricted in accordance with rate of loss.
By Tireoghain O’Neill