Getting in shape is challenging enough (in a good way), there’s no reason to complicate it even more with misinformation. And, unfortunately, in the health and fitness realm, half-truths run rampant. Let’s dispel several of the most common myths about taking control of your well-being. 

1. Weight Training Makes You Bulky 

We’ve all heard this one before, maybe some of us have even said it. The good news — or bad news, depending on your goals — is that nobody ever turned into the Incredible Hulk overnight. Building up your muscles like athletes or body builders requires a training-oriented lifestyle on a whole other level. The rest of us are far more likely to feel and look a bit sleeker. 

2. You Need a Crash Diet 

Sometimes the desire to get in shape is paired with new and drastic changes in eating habits. While it might be a good idea to clean up your diet and reduce processed food, refined sugar, and other stuff that’s not good for you, studies show that crash diets don’t work, and they don’t stick. The better choice is to simply eat a balanced, whole-food diet with appropriate serving sizes. 

3. You Can Eat Whatever You Want 

The opposite of the crash diet approach is the misconception that exercising means you can eat whatever you want without consequence. The fact is that it’s nearly impossible to exercise your way out of a bad diet. Just look at the math. A fast-food meal can easily add up to 1,000 calories, but swimming vigorously for an hour will only burn about 900.  

4. Sit-ups = Six Pack 

There is an entire as-seen-on-TV industry of fitness products built on the false premise that you can “spot train” certain areas of your body to burn fat specifically in those areas so that muscles appear more defined. But it doesn’t work that. Yes, you can target certain muscles, but body fat is what determines how visible muscles are and that rises and falls as a whole. 

5. Overtraining Is a Good Idea 

A frustration about getting in shape is that the results aren’t immediate. Yes, the endorphin release feels good but losing 20lbs doesn’t happen overnight. That can lead people to push themselves too hard. While ambition is admirable, slow and steady wins the race. You’ll progress more with five moderate workouts per week rather than two heavy sessions that leave you too sore to do more. 

6. I’m Too Old 

Don’t ever tell yourself this and don’t listen to anyone who says it. You’re never too old to be active and enjoy the many benefits that it offers. There are activities that are appropriate for people of nearly any age and ability level. The trick is to find something that you enjoy doing, that makes staying committed much easier.  

Get In Shape With Us At the YMCA 

The YMCA of Greater Whittier is committed to providing a fun, safe, and productive environment where people can be physically active to promote their health and wellness. We have a ton of activities to choose from and we have a team of awesome staff and trainers who would love to help you get on track to achieving your fitness goals. Learn how you can join.