Being healthy shouldn’t be a burden. Health should get a front row seat in life’s game. Yet, sorting fitness myth from fitness truth isn’t always easy. Looking back at the last 20 years in fitness, it is amazing to look at all the fitness myths that have come and gone. Just as fascinating is seeing the fitness concepts that have stood the test of time (yoga, kickboxing, running). From the way we train to the food we eat, some things have changed while others stayed the same. So one might ask, what does it take to be fit? Perhaps the better question might be, what don’t you have to do to be in great shape? That’s what I would like to focus in on here today. Here are 5 fitness myths that simply aren’t true.
Fitness Myth #1 – Eating Six Meals Per Day is ideal
This is perhaps the most ridiculous fitness myth the world ever tried to buy and sell people. It was even sold to me for a period of time. I can remember the days of meal prepping for two hours 1 or 2 times per week. Piling the fridge with Tubberware containers filled with 6 oz lean meat, 100g of sweet potatoes and 1 cup veggies. Then, inevitably throwing away 25% of the prepared meals 4 to 5 days later. What a waste of time, effort, and opportunity to have been enjoying life rather than punishing myself for trying to be fit.
Fitness Myth #2 – Intermittent Fasting is the way to get ripped
Oh here we go again, another fitness myth about how we time our meals that is completely wrong. I find it interesting how people will believe just about anything to avoid facing the truth (more on the truth later in this article). The intermittent fasting folks have never met my family, who would stroke if you told them to give up breakfast.
Fitness Myth # 3 – you need to work out 4-5 x per week to see results.
This one is easier to believe (yet just as wrong). Go to the shelf of any major fitness magazine and you would be hard pressed to find a program that didn’t call for at least 4 days of training. For the men you would see something that involved splitting up the body parts into tiny groups and crushing them over a 7 day period. The fitness myth looks something like this…
- Monday – Chest and Triceps
- Tuesday – Back and Biceps
- Wednesday (rest)
- Thursday – Legs and shoulders
- Friday – Abs and cardio
- Saturday – Repeat day 1
- Sunday (off)
The Truth about eating
It’s amazing what we humans will believe in an effort to hide the harsh truth. It doesn’t matter how many times per day that we eat. We know deep down that whether we skip breakfast or eat every 30 minutes throughout the day, the key to a healthy diet comes down to two things. Most importantly, we need to eat less. Yes, you read that last sentence right, we eat too darn much here in America. That is an article for another time, but for the sake of time today, I will suggest a 20% cut in just about every single Americans diet. For the average male who takes in 3000 calories per day, that would mean a baseline cut of 600 calories. If we could cut 600 calories per day out of the average males diet, we could devastate the obesity problem in our country.
The second part to a healthy diet is quality of food. Think about taking the sweet potato without the brown sugar and butter. Water instead of Mountain Dew. The salad without all the dressing. Vegetables over the bag of chips etc. We could throw out all the canned stuff and stick to the isle where food actually goes bad if we don’t eat it. Can you see the common sense in all of this? The more you say it out loud, the more you realize it doesn’t take a genius to realize processed foods are not a positive things for our bodies.
The Truth about training
After a healthy diet, which we must realize is 80% of the equation, it becomes vital that we craft a strategy for our routines that maximizes our life. How do we do that you may ask? With the same concept we used above, we do less! We can become better fathers, mothers, spouses, friends, and individuals if we would just workout the right amount. Most Americans need some form of exercise. If your job involves being hunched over at a computer for hours at a time, then you are one of those Americans! Yet, no body needs 4 workouts per week for 52 straight weeks.
The ideal amount of training would be 3x per week at shorter bursts of intensity. Currently I do something active every single day of the week and never plan a day completely away from physical activity. Yet I certainly don’t train every single day. My workout routine at current goes somewhere along the lines of…
- Monday – Kickboxing at 9round
- Tuesday – Hot yoga
- Wednesday – off or Kickboxing at 9round if my body feels like it
- Thursday – Hot yoga
- Friday – pick up basketball for an hour
- Saturday – Pool
- Sunday – Hike after Church.
So no matter where you are in your journey to a better you, here are a few steps to take towards a better life tomorrow.
- Eat less – get your portions under control
- Give up one guilty pleasure – soft drinks, potato chips, packaged foods.
- pick one meal this next week that is going to be healthy – maybe you, “win”, breakfast every day this week.
- Get active – do something you enjoy doing that gets you moving. A walk with a friend or spouse, a pickup game of basketball.
- Ditch traditional weight lifting – you will sincerely thank your 50 year old self.
Life is full of opportunities. It is imperative that we take 100% responsibility for our own well being. Your not out of shape because your job, your spouse, or your parents. You are out of shape because of decisions that you have repeatedly made. Yet, the good news is no matter where we are today, we can move in a different direction tomorrow. So get out, eat 2 to 3 balanced meals. Take a walk with some friends. Maybe take a run through the country without the headphones. Play some ball with your best friends and hang by the pool on Saturdays and flirt with the ladies. Re discover what it means to enjoy life and have fun with your fitness.