Do you believe these exercise myths?

Do you believe what you read in the papers or in health magazines? I know I don’t.

You may have heard a few ‘truths’ when it comes to your health and fitness but a good starting point is to dispel some myths you may have heard regarding exercise and nutrition. These are not based on any factual evidence.

Answer the following statements (in bold) true or false. The answers are below each statement.


1. Muscle will turn into fat if you stop exercising

Muscle and fat are totally different types of body tissue so one can never turn into the other. If you stop exercising, you will lose muscle tissue and most likely gain body fat therefore increasing your overall body fat percentage.

2. Your metabolism slows down as you get older

Hundreds of research studies have shown that the slow down in metabolism is due to a loss of muscle tissue and the loss of muscle tissue is directly related to a lack of hard physical activity. You can still perform hard physical activity as you get older and continue to build muscle tissue, therefore keeping your metabolism raised.

3. I will lose weight if I exercise

Nutrition ALWAYS takes priority over exercise.

Get your diet in order first before you even start on an exercise programme. You can exercise all you want but if your diet is bad, you’ll not lose body fat. Results are about 80% nutrition; 20% exercise.

4. Losing weight by dieting is good

Do not rely on your body weight as a measurement of your progress. You need to concentrate on losing body fat rather than body weight. When you go on a restrictive diet, you also lose water and muscle tissue, which will then lower your metabolic rate meaning your body needs less food to survive. This will lead to weight gain in the long run.

Your hormones will also be out of sync – your levels of the hunger hormone (ghrelin) will increase and your levels of the satiety hormone (leptin) will plummet, as well as an increase in the stress hormone (cortisol), which can lead to body fat gain.

5. Bread is fattening

Any food or drink can be stored as body fat if it causes your blood sugar levels to exceed what the body needs at that time. Bread (wholegrain) is actually a good source of complex carbohydrates. The key is how much you eat and when you eat it.

6. Eating late in the day will make you fat

There is no problem eating late if the body needs that amount of calories at that time. If you choose to exercise in the evenings, the body will require more calories then. Your body is constantly burning calories, just the amount varies. A good tip would be to limit your carbohydrates in the evenings, apart from vegetables, as they could interfere with your sleep.

7. Strength training will make you bulk up

Muscle size is primarily affected by genetics and hormone production therefore most women don’t have the potential to build very large muscles naturally. Strength training will increase muscle tissue and therefore help towards fat burning but your body type determines the maximum amount of muscle tissue.

8. Not eating breakfast then exercising will automatically burn fat

When you wake up in the morning, your body hasn’t had any food for many hours and energy (carbohydrate) stores will be low. You have a limited supply of carbohydrates because they are stored only in small amounts in your liver and muscles. Even though the body has plenty of fat stored, for fat to be metabolised or ‘burned’, carbohydrates need to be present. If you skip breakfast and a do a hard workout, you launch a depleted body into even greater depletion.