I have spent the last 28 years training in various gyms, both as a member and mostly as a personal trainer. In that time I think I must have heard every crazy fitness myth going, they are regularly explained and debunked, but they seem to continue regardless.
Here are some of the favourites and some of the most persistent ones.
You can tone muscle
I’m sorry, but it simply isn't true. Your muscles are already toned, if they weren’t, you wouldn’t be able to move. You can make them bigger by feeding them and training them right, or you can reduce them through atrophy but they do not ‘tone’. The appearance of muscle tone is really a trick of the light, when you eat well and exercise you get a reduction in fat, exposing all of that lovely toned muscle underneath. If you want the appearance of muscle tone you need to focus on reducing the layer of fat covering the muscle.
Egg yolks are bad
I have eaten a lot of egg white omelettes in my time believing the cholesterol content of yolks made them untouchable. However it turns out its simply not true, unless it's fried and served with bacon it won’t make any difference to your bodies cholesterol balance. In fact most of the vitamins and minerals are contained in the yolk, as is half of the protein. There is more bad news for egg whites, as they are nearly fat free they will cause an insulin spike that will leave you with hunger cravings and energy swings. Not ideal if you are on a weight loss diet.
You can reduce fat in specific areas
I think you all know I am talking about crunches here, endless sit-ups in search of the illusive six pack. The thing is, you already have a six pack and much like ‘muscle tone’ the problem is not with the muscle, it's with the layer of fat covering the muscle. Crunches, sit-ups, planks and leg raises are hard, they burn and you can feel it in the area you want improvement. True, but when it comes to fat burning they suck! You are putting yourself though regular torture for nothing, you need to target the fat and that means real work, cardio and resistance training a calorie controlled diet and discipline! On the upside you already have a six pack, but like buried treasure you need to dig it out!
Weight training will give me big muscles
This is the conversation which most often follows the discussion on muscle tone. Again, it just isn’t that simple. Heavy weight training is a great way to improve muscle size, but its' slow and gains are minimal, heavily reliant on testosterone which is lacking in the female body. Don’t let your imagination stop you from performing exercises that will help with weight loss and the appearance of ‘muscle tone’. Big muscles do not appear overnight, they take years of work and dedication to training and diet. Try lifting, it's a great feeling and you will be surprised at just how much muscle you won’t grow.
Fat makes you fat
Quite possibly the most dangerous piece of misinformation in modern society. Fat is an essentially nutrient, it's responsible for skin, eye and brain health and tons of other good stuff. It's naturally filling and doesn’t provide you with the insulin spike like high carbohydrate foods. Animal fats are good as well as olive and avocado oils. It’s no coincidence that the popularity of the low fat diet correlates with the obesity epidemic. Low fat foods inevitably have their fat replaced by sugar increasing your carbohydrate intake and too much carbohydrate, now that will make you fat!!