Much to many a personal trainer’s chagrin, myths and half-truths associated with diet and exercise abound, much like rumours in a high school locker-room.
The reality is that it’s easy to fall victim to a fitness or diet myth. We’ve all done it. If everybody is talking about it, it must be true, right? Wrong! Let’s dispel a few of these myths right now.
Myth No. 1: If I start exercising, my fat will turn into muscle
If it were only that easy. Fat does not turn into muscle. It doesn’t matter if you are sedentary or active; fat and muscle are two entirely different types of tissue. Having fat turn into muscle is about as likely as having a base metal turn into platinum. If a previously active person stops exercising, muscles will eventually atrophy (waste away) and become less effective and the body’s ability to burn fat will become compromised. When an exercise regime is abandoned, oftentimes so is a diet, resulting in lost muscle and subsequently gained fat.
Myth No. 2: Postmenopausal women should not do strength training
This could not be further from the truth. In fact, it is the perfect time to start. Strength training does so much more than make you look and feel great. After menopause the potential for osteoporosis increases substantially. Strength training promotes increased bone density and improves balance and mobility. Many women experience fewer symptoms associated with other diseases such as diabetes, arthritis and heart disease. The bottom line here is that the older we get, the benefits of exercise multiply.
Myth No. 3: Women will get bulky if they lift heavy
This is one of the biggest untruths disseminated in the fitness industry today. You will not Hulk out by lifting heavy … I promise. I have been weight training with consistency for over five years now and I am far from the Incredible Hulk. Yes, we’ve all seen those pictures of the incredibly muscular and rather masculine looking female bodybuilders that many of us might find disturbing. What you must understand is that these women look that way by choice after training and dieting excessively for many years, and often pumping themselves full of anabolic steroids to enhance muscle growth. That coupled with the fact that they likely had insane genetics to begin with. The reality is that women have between 1/15 to 1/20 the amount of testosterone (the main hormone associated with muscle growth) as men. Ladies, if you want to look good, feel great and be strong, don’t be afraid to lift heavy things. Plus, carting your toddler around in your arms, carrying in the family’s groceries, stacking the bags of wood pellets, or rearranging furniture will be a breeze.
In conclusion, remember that because the health and fitness industry is comprised of many ferociously competitive entrepreneurs, sometimes the volume of sales and company profits comes before customer health and well-being. Do your research. Find a personal trainer and/or a gym that conducts their business with integrity and puts the well-being of their clients first.
”Beware of the half-truth. You may have gotten a hold of the wrong half.” ~Unknown
Rebecca Cronk is a fitness specialist and owner/operator of Get Cronk’d Fitness Studio. She has an honours bachelor of science with a specialization in Human Kinetics from the University of Ottawa, is a professional member of the Canadian Society of Physiologists, Exercise is Medicine Canada, Canadian Fitness Professionals and the Ontario Society for Health and Fitness. Get Cronk’d Fitness studio is also a member of the North Grenville Chamber of Commerce, North Grenville Business Builders and Kemptville Women in Business.