How much of what you read about fitness, and see and hear online, is true?
How many times have you blindly accepted fitness tips from fitness coaches and gurus? How many times have you followed diets, consumed supplements and herbs without consulting a doctor or registered clinical dietitian? How many times have you paused, taken a step back, and rationalized the fitness tip you have been asked to follow?
If these questions make you ponder, do not worry, you are not alone. Most of us these days do not think twice before accepting fitness and nutrition tips and implementing them just because it is a viral trend or because a super-fit person is selling us the idea.
We follow what’s being circulated online, we constantly read about it and most of the time we start adapting it, just because we think if it worked for others, it would work for us as well. The problem here is that fitness and nutrition should not be taken casually.
Misinformation around fitness can lead to serious injuries. Many of us are deeply worried about what we put into our bodies, but that caution fails us when it comes to workouts, supplements, and diet fads. “Natural” supplements and diets we follow might not be that healthy. This is the reason why we should be more careful and change our attitude toward accepting fitness tips without thoroughly analyzing them.
That said, here are the top five bogus fitness-related advice popular among the masses.
Cardio is bad for you.
This one is my favorite, as there is such a broad generalization here. Nobody describes what do they mean when they say, cardio is bad for you. Cardio was the backbone of civilization for thousands of years during our evolutionary process before machines started doing most of our work – and now, suddenly cardio is bad for us?
In reality, cardio is one of the best forms of exercise. Have you watched how many of our competitive sports are cardio-intensive: tennis, swimming, soccer, basketball and the recent fitness favorite Crossfit. Cardio is essential, and one must include healthy level of cardio exercise in their workout plan. Yes, there is a relation between building muscles and limiting cardiovascular exercise, but that does not mean cardio is bad and if your goal is to build muscles then you should completely refrain from doing any cardiovascular exercise. Regardless of your fitness goal, whether it is to shed weight, lose fat, or build muscles, do not think that cardio is bad for you ever. It is total junk advice.
Lift heavy to gain quick muscles.
We all have thought about this, and even fallen for this crappy advice, at some point during our fitness journey. For men, our egos can be very fragile, and we want to lift the heaviest weights in the gym to impress everyone and make us look the strongest and fittest, hence we easily succumb to such egoistic tips. But trust me, if you do not train your body slowly and steadily enough before lifting those 60 pounds, you are going to crack something in your body and hurt yourself out of the gym for the next three months. This bogus tip circulates a lot among the masses and on social media. While there is some truth of lifting heavy, we forget the concept of progressive overload. One simply can’t jump from lifting 10 kilos to lifting 50 kilos in three days. You need to slowly add weight to your maximum lifting potential so the body can adapt. If you follow this tip without analyzing its consequences, you might end up in an orthopedic doctors’ office sooner than in a bodybuilding competition.
As long it is herbal or natural, it is good.
This bogus tip goes beyond fitness and dives deep into this massive miscommunication campaign created by marketeers from every industry across the spectrum: medicine, supplements, food and cosmetics. We have been told that everything herbal and natural is the gold standard and can be consumed or applied without any issue. This is not 100 percent true and one must always consult an expert before just accepting this false marketing claim. From herbal pills to food replacements, drinks, and fitness supplements, not everything is good for the body just because it is natural. Always either do your research before consuming things or consult an expert to make sure it is safe.
Carbs and fats are bad. Period.
How many so-called nutrition experts and social media fitness influencers have sold this idea to us? How many online diets emphasize this totally bogus idea that fats and carbs are bad? Without providing any clinical rationalization on why these are bad, or helping us understand the concept of calories, good fats-bad fats, good carbs-bad carbs, and how these bio-molecules are necessary for us, mass influencers just sell us this fear that carbs and fats are bad, to avoid them at all costs and eat only lean proteins and salads if you want to lose weight or build muscles.
We accept it as gospel and cut out every form of carb and fat from our diet, thinking we are doing a big service to the body. In fact, that would be a total disservice to your body. Fats and carbs are two of the four major bio-molecules and very essential for healthy cellular and bio-molecular maintenance, and one should always try to incorporate healthy carbs and fats into their diet to stay healthy, boost immunity and keep molecular malfunctioning at bay.
I can do more spot exercises to tone the muscles of that specific body part.
This bogus tip is famous amongst two groups, one whose ultimate goal of going to the gym is to develop six-pack abs as soon as they can, and the second that wants to lose weight, especially belly fat instantly. Both groups are focusing on quick results, and they are not well-versed in how the body regulates itself.
They feel once they are in the gym, and just repeating a certain set of exercises (crunches, sit-ups, curls) they are going to target the fats around that area and magically shred the weight from that specific region without putting in extra work on other parts of the body. They do not understand that the body works on the principle of homeostasis and compound overall body workouts are the key to being fit. Doing 500 crunches a day is not going to get them anywhere but doing four sets of four different exercises is going to help solve their problem quicker.
There are many such bogus myths and tips around fitness and nutrition circulating online and being preached by a lot of new-age influencers who are in the game just to gain followers and likes. Please don’t fall for the buzz.. Fitness and nutrition should not be taken casually, as casualness can lead to serious injuries, life-threatening side effects, epigenetic changes and inducing more harm than benefit. Always do your research and consult an expert before blindly following what could very well be bogus myths and tips.