Women’s Health & Fitness Myths: Debunked

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At some point in your life, you’ve come across one of these health or fitness myths. Whether it was subtly ingrained in your mind from weight loss ads or loudly blasted across the media, at some point we bought into the hype. Well now it’s time to say no to these urban legends and to fully educate ourselves on the truth. Listed below are a few myths that seem to keep popping up over and over again.

Weight lifting will make you bulky:
We’ve all heard both sides of the tale. The truth of the matter is that women do not have enough testosterone in their system in order to create big bulky muscles. Weight lifting is actually very beneficial for women. Not only are you strengthening your body but you’re preventing osteoporosis all while increasing your metabolism. By weight lifting, you will actually get slimmer instead of bulker.

Weight lifting also builds up your muscles so that you can do some of the cardio workouts we so love, like running. By weight training, you’re actually helping to build up the muscles around the knees. This helps to prevent knee injuries that often occur for female runners.

If you’re still not convinced, try a circuit training routine with minimal breaks between circuits. By using low weights with high reps, you’re building leaner muscles. When you combine bicep curls with a static squat, you’re strengthen and working both major and minor muscles groups which gives you both an aerobic and strength training workout in one..

Carbs and meat will make you fat:
A lot of the fad diets that are on the market today seem to involve completely taking out or severely limiting a certain food group. While it’s true that a 32 oz steak or a giant plate of pasta is bad for you, it’s the amount that you’re eating, not what you’re eating that makes it bad.

Carbohydrates and meats both contain things that our bodies need to function properly. The body breaks down carbs into glucose and fructose that our cells use for energy. Meat contains important things like iron and vitamin B12, both of which give you energy and give clarity of thought. By cutting these food groups out or eating a diet comprised of mostly meat, completely throws the balance off.

Life is about balance. Without one of the major food groups, you severely limit your body’s ability to function. If you want to eat carbs, go ahead. Just make sure that the portion is smaller and it’s eaten with protein. Protein keeps the blood sugars from spiking too quickly while also making you feel fuller. By balancing out portion sizes and with different food groups you can definitely eat carbs and meats guilt free.

If you want to lose weight, you have to take in less than the amount of energy you are expending. You can still do this and eat your carbs too.

Clothing sizes are a great way to measure weight loss:
This is only true if you’ve dropped a ton of weight. Don’t get me wrong. Stepping inside your old twenty-two sized pants and comparing it to your new body is a major victory. However, clothing size is subjective and varies between different clothing companies. A woman who wears a size 4 in one clothing brand might have to buy a size 10 in another to get the same fit. Clothing size numbers are purely a marketing scheme and do not have as much bearing over actual waist and/or hip sizes.

If you want to measure true weight loss, keep a journal that tracks weekly weigh-ins as well as body measurements. Rely on those numbers more than the pants size to see how far you’ve come. Another great method is capturing your weight loss journey through pictures. See overtime how your hard work and effort paid off.

The more you sweat, the more calories you burn:
This myth perfectly fits the phrase “correlation does not imply causation”. In other words, just because you sweat, it doesn’t mean that are working any harder. Sweat is the body’s response to cooling itself. You can still burn a lot of calories without breaking a sweat. Walking is a perfect example of this.

Crunches equal flat stomach:
Logically speaking, this myth really should work for this or any body part that you are individually targeting. However, just doing sit-ups alone does not do enough to burn fat. In order to increase your metabolism, you would need to target a lot of the larger muscle groups instead. For instance, your hamstrings, gluts, and quads are perfect muscle groups to boost metabolism. Like I mentioned before, circuit training is great for burning fat while strengthening muscles. By including more weight lifting exercises like squats and lunges, you’ll be burning fat in no time and seeing all the work those crunches did.

7 Comments

  1. Emma

    I think that the biggest one out there is that “lifting will make you bulky”. It’s absolutely not true – men work hard to put some muscle on, and they have much more testosterone than us. To get bulky a woman would have to take roids and hormonal supplements :/

    And regarding clothing, I personally don’t even look at the size tags anymore. I just eyeball it and get a few sizes with me in the dressing room.

    • Janay

      Very true! Makes a change to see soenmoe spell it out like that. :)

  2. Rachael

    I agree with Emma, but It’s possible for women to get bulky as well without hormonal supplements. Lifting weights and eating healthy can get you bulky.

  3. Julia

    The first one if very much a myth. The female body builders (the ones that people use as evidence that women will get when they lift) didn’t get that way by accident. That was a goal of theirs and took a lot of planning and years of dedication and hardwork towards that end. Women shouldn’t be scared of looking this way if it isn’t their goal. Lifting will make you stronger, look toned, and help burn fat.

  4. Christina

    The last myth is something that took me a while to understand. You can crunch and situp your way to tight muscular abs, but if there’s a lot of fat on top of those muscles you’re not really going to see any visible difference. Crunches should be paired with clean eating and cardio to see actual change.

  5. Mercy

    I’ve tried to explain this to people numerous times and they still don’t seem to get it. If you eat 10,000 calories of salad, you’re still eating 10,000 calories and will need to expend more than that in order to lose weight.

  6. Jane

    Weight lifting is really important for staying slim and trim as a lady and is also great for fat burning and metabolism. I have worked in a whole lot of retail and been to school for fashion design also and there is no standard whatsoever for sizes in women’s clothing so that is a terrible way to check your weight loss progress. Test it out – it’s true! If you are a size 9 in a certain pair of jeans go from store to store and try on different brands that are all the “same size” and you will find that at some stores there is no way you are fitting into those jeans. Other size 9 jeans will fit okay but then at another store they could possibly be way too big. I never bought into the whole carbs thing. I just try to use common sense and eat healthy in general.

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