Monday, February 22, 2016

10 Fitness and Diet Trends that are Bullshit

Handing the blog over to my friend Zoey from Operation Move today! She's tops. You should listen to her because she knows her stuff (she runs marathons - freakin' MARATHONS, people!) and isn't afraid to call bullshit.

Over at Operation Move we are all about fitness. I love being a part of bringing it into people's lives and I love helping people get started. What I don't love so much is all the fitness and diet myths that tend to be pretty persistent. Most of the time, those myths just set people back and erode their self confidence. So before you start (or continue) on your path of finding your awesomeness in your fitness, here are some myths that are total bullshit.

1) The Cleanse and/or Detox
Actually your kidneys and liver do a pretty good job of this. You can't cleanse or detox your body with a combination of stimulants, laxatives and diuretics. What you can do is lose a bunch of water weight that you will put back on as soon as you start eating like a normal human.

2) Superior Diets
There is no magic bullet. It doesn't matter whether you go low fat, low carb, paleo, macro, low calorie, atkins or 5:2 - the comparative success of diets is about the same. So you are best off picking something that you like and are going to enjoy sticking to. Make it part of your lifestyle, rather than a diet and your long term results are going to make you much happier.

3) Toning
Toning is a word that's pretty much exclusively applied to women because apparently women don't like muscle. But that's exactly what toning is, it's building muscle. And rather than challenging female stereotypes, people who use the word 'tonging' pander to it.

4) Lean Muscle
There aren't two kinds of muscle (bulky muscle or lean muscle) there is just muscle and there is fat that covers it.

5) Spot Training
This is a persistent myth because everyone wants it to be true. But you can't crunch your way to flat abs. Although spot training will strengthen and build muscle in the area that you are training, it won't necessarily burn fat from that particular area covering it as fuel.

6) 1,200 Calories
I'm not sure where the idea of 1,200 calories came from but it is the quickest way to slow down your metabolism and make weight loss or really any other activity nearly impossible. Your metabolism will think you are starving and it will horde your fat like no one's business.

7) Bulking Up
You really don't have to worry about bulking up in terms of exercise as a woman. It is really hard work for women to gain muscle because of hormone levels, so if you happen to see women who are muscular and bulky - believe me it's on purpose.

8) Coconut Water
Yes coconut water has minerals that aid in re-hydration but they are in pretty trace amounts. By all means continue to drink coconut water if you enjoy it but it doesn't really have any major benefits in terms of rehydration.

9) War on Carbs
Carbohydrates are not your enemy. They fuel most of your activities, they help manage stress levels and boost your mood. And they have a range of other benefits including heart health, memory and blood sugar stabilisation. What can benefit you is switching from refined carbohydrates to whole grains and vegetables.

10) More is Better
It can be hard to wrap your head around but more exercise isn't always a good thing. That's because all of the fitness adaptation happens during rest and recovery and often short bursts of high intensity activities have a whole range of benefits that longer endurance sessions don't. So instead of thinking in terms of more, think in terms of a variety of things that you are going to enjoy with plenty of recovery time in between.

So instead of worrying about all of that, think about what kind of life you want and go from there. I love to run, but I refuse to accept a life that doesn't involve Friday drinks, pizza nights or pie. Because what's the point if you aren't having fun?

Special Offer for Readers: 20% off Learn to Run which starts on the 7th March. Learn to Run is a 12 week online coaching program that supports you every step of the way with accredited coaches, a supportive team and a private facebook group. Just use the code glow if you are paying upfront or glowplan if you want to use the weekly option.

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