Twelve Fitness Myths, Busted. Kabam!

1. Eating fat does not make you fat. Eating sugar, processed foods and fast food does. Tiredness, inability to breathe correctly and excessive alcohol consumption are also major players.

2. ‘Training the core’ will do nothing for a flat stomach or six pack visibility. Managing the factors above along with regular full body movements or full body exercise, will.

3. Using gym machines where you sit down (ie. leg curl, leg extension, leg press, pec-dec, shoulder press machine, the all-evil ab curler, etc) make you weaker. Seriously, a 45-minute walk will make you stronger and be more beneficial than using any of those silly machines. Write me if you’d like to know why but just know that lifting weights whilst sitting down weakens your back and puts unhealthy pressure through your discs.

4. Women who lift weights will not become bulky. Lifting heavy weights with good form, full body movements will only make you stronger – ie. denser bones, denser collagen, denser and longer lasting muscle fibers and the all important increase of ‘muscle tone’.

5. Only counting calories will do nothing to help you lose weight. Focusing on the quality of the yummy food you put in your mouth will.

6. Signing up for a marathon will do you more harm than good. 26 miles of pavement pounding is unhealthy, period. I’d suggest off-road trail running or hiking. If you must run on concrete focus on speed over a maximum of one mile.

7. Heavy load carrying for long distances is not cool. I’m all for expeditions into the wilderness and mountainous tests of mental will and determination. However, there’s a new fad that training like a soldier will somehow do wonders, so people put heavy backpacks on and undertake long hikes or runs for the sake of strength training or fitness. Oddly, this behavior is supported by fitness leaders with great influence, but no military or outdoorsy background. Military training is very job specific and far from healthy. Carrying heavy backpacks for long distances stiffens up your t-spine, rounds your shoulders, sends your head posture even further forwards and trashes your knees.

8. Cardio alone does not make you fit. Fitness is the culmination of several crucial aspects including the ability to move, flexibility, stability, strength, agility, speed, endurance and conditioning. Most people I know who are obsessed with cardio resemble human cashew nuts (term coined by Dr Perry Nickelston) and have game-ending injuries waiting to happen because all the other components are overlooked. It’s easy to build strength, endurance and the other components on a mobile body of any age.

9. “Gluten-free” eating is not necessarily healthy eating. It’s mostly marketing bullshit. The evil, profit driven corporations that govern the food industry know that the consumer is attracted to “gluten-free”, “fat free”, “sugar free” and “diary free”. Don’t fall for it. Read all labels carefully and know exactly what you’re putting in your mouth. Seek professional help to determine your personal intolerances.

10. Diet soda is worse than normal soda. I can’t believe that people still drink canned soda, let alone poison their children with it. But diet soda versus normal soda is the worse of two terrible evils. Drinking canned soda is on par with smoking tobacco and directly reduces life with every sip. Giving it to children is nothing short of child abuse. How do I really feel? ;))

11. Ice does not help acute strains and sprains, it slows down recovery. The guy that initially coined the term ‘RICE’ (rest, ice, compression, elevation), Dr Gabe Mirkin in 1978, recently took back his words and admits that the application of ice onto new injuries, although it feels nice, actually slows down the overall recovery process. So just stick with RCE, taking out the ‘I’.

12. Men, taking testosterone supplements, does not boost testosterone. They may make you feel stronger and bigger in the short term but will make you considerably less so in the long term, not to mention the other negative health implications. Instead, teach your body to produce its own by lifting heavy shit, sleeping well, eating tones of fresh vegetables and unprocessed meats and fish, nuts, seeds, good fats, etc. Personally, I’m against all supplement products apart from fish oils and multivitamins.

These are just my humble opinions on very common beliefs. Finding the truth on your own will set you free. Power to you ninja warriors!

Phil McDougall

Instagram: @phil.mcdougall

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