Mythbusters: Fitness Edition

Ahhh the fitness myth…I think there are more myths in the fitness industry than in any other. Is it because trainers aren’t regulated? Is it because you can basically buy a certification? Is it because of social media? Little bit of everything? Being part of the fitness/training/rehab world for some time now, I feel like I have indeed heard it all…and here are my top 5…

  1. “I’d like to start strength training, but I don’t want to get bulky man-muscles.”

Of course you don’t. And I can assure you that in order for a female to obtain that kind of mass you will need to not only lift an obscene amount of weights and increase your frequency by 1000% you will need to be eating in a massive caloric surplus and possibly be taking some performance enhancers. And by that, I mean testosterone. No female got that big from their protein powder alone. Next question.

  1. “If you work out first thing in the morning, you’ll burn calories all day long.”

Yeah, you will. But your body will burn calories all day long no matter what time you work out. Exercise timing is a preference and a schedule dependent variable. You might be a morning person, you might be a night owl, you might work various shifts so have to work with the time you’re given. There is zero advantage to timing your workout as far as being “better” for burning calories.

  1. “My Chiro/Physio/etc said my glutes aren’t firing…”

Interesting…can you pick up that small object off the floor? Did you walk in here today? The primary function of your butt muscle is to extend your leg from the hip. So then we know your glutes are firing just due to the fact that you aren’t falling over. This kind of language is not only completely untrue, it can be hurtful to someone who is struggling with an injury. What might be helpful is saying something like “Let’s get your glutes working more efficiently WITH your hamstrings and low back and I think we’d see a decrease in pain…” I don’t think these practitioners mean any harm, it’s likely a biomechanics based bias- but it’s still untrue. 

  1. “My doctor said I can return to training normally after my 6 week postpartum check up.”

The purpose of that 6 week check up is to make sure physically, from a medical perspective everything looks like it’s healing, you and your baby are doing well…and not to undermine the importance of physicians, but it’s really more of a check in the box. If this doesn’t lead to a referral to a Pelvic Floor Physio then we need our medical professionals to do better. A lot of women I speak to don’t even know that PF Physio is a thing – let alone something everyone should be doing both pre and postnatal, and beyond…because a lot of women don’t even have symptoms until 5-7 years AFTER they have a baby. As far as a return to activity goes, it must be treated as a complete re-start. Your body is different than it was before you gave birth and healing is still occurring. It will never be the same as it was pre-baby and that’s not a bad thing.

  1. “All that running is bad for your knees”

You know what’s bad for your knees? Being sedentary. Weight-bearing activity has been shown to have positive effects on bone density- running is weight-bearing. While you may be prone to a few niggles or other soft tissue type injuries due to an increase in activity, a little bit of targeted strength and some technique changes might change that as well. But running in itself is not the problem.

Part of my job as a coach is to work my hardest to change the language we use, I consider myself an educator. And while I may joke around about a lot of the things I’ve mentioned, science exists to prove our theories wrong…

The look I use when I hear any of the above…

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