Which of these fitness tips are true? You have to work out before breakfast to burn fat, weights make you big and bulky, carbs are the enemy, eating fat will make you fat. The answer? None of those statements are true. Food and fitness myths are everywhere, so identifying what is true or false can be very confusing. There are so many misconceptions about training and nutrition out there that are only loosely based on fact. Many of these have simply grown over time or never had a base of evidence to begin with. With this in mind, I thought I’d discuss and debunk some of the common myths that might be holding you back from achieving your goals.

1. You need to work out in the morning.

Not everyone is a morning person. Trust me, as the dad to a 13 year old- I get this! If getting up early to work out means you only last a week before throwing in the towel, then don’t work out in the morning. I always say that the best time to work out is when you know you will. Find a time that works for you and make it your regular workout time.

2. Running is the best way to lose weight.

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Wrong. A combination of HIIT (this can involve running) and resistance training is the BEST way to go. Running is a great form of cardiovascular exercise and certainly can help you on your weight loss journey but it is not the best and only way to lose weight. And remember, resistance training does not mean you have to go to a gym. You can use your body weight, resistance bands, dumbbells, medicine balls, the options are endless!

3. Eat less, move more.

You don’t necessarily need to eat less, you need to eat right. You don’t need to workout longer, you need to workout smarter. Following a just eat real food (JERF) approach and working your entire body in just 28 minutes can be enough to get results. Just take a look at some of my 28ers amazing results!

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4. You need to count calories.

Absolutely not! I always say food is to be enjoyed and not counted. This doesn’t mean you don’t need to worry about what you put in your mouth, instead you should focus on the quality of the calories you are consuming, not the quantity. Everything in moderation, even the good stuff!

5. Low fat = lose fat.

Eating fat doesn’t make you fat. It’s the ridiculous amount of processed carbohydrates and refined sugars hidden in our foods, that we as a society consume in scarily high portions, that’s to blame. Our brains need fat. Eating a balanced diet with regular good fat has been shown to improve memory, brain function and mood. Diets that are super low in fat cause your body to become extremely efficient in burning carbs, which means you will always burn carbs over fat. What you really want is to train your body to burn fat efficiently and become a lean, mean machine. Good fats keep you full. When we eat good fats, hormones are released that give us that “satisfied’ feeling. Good fats include our omega 3s (think olive oil, avo, nuts and seeds) as these have anti-inflammatory properties and are good for heart health, brain function, and skin. Also our saturated fats in such foods as full-fat cheese and butter.

6. Work hard and eat what you want.

Unless you’re running a marathon a day or training like an elite athlete, you really can’t out train a bad diet. Whenever I tell people exactly how much exercise they need to do to burn off that morning muffin, it usually comes as quite a shock. You need to remember that what goes in must be burnt off. Exercise and good nutrition go hand in hand when it comes to weight loss and weight maintenance.

7. Weights will make women bulky.

I cannot tell you how many times I’ve had to reassure clients and 28ers that this simply isn’t true. I actually insist that you introduce resistance training into your workout regime if you’re after your best body yet. Firstly, resistance training and weight training are not actually the same thing. Weight training is just one of the options available when it comes to resistance training (training against a resistance). Resistance training could be using your own bodyweight, TRX straps, resistance bands, kettlebells, the list goes on. Resistance training won’t make you bulky, but it will shape, strengthen and tone your body.

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Posted by Sam Wood

Father and husband, on a mission to help people move more, eat better and make a positive change. Sam Wood has over 18 years experience in the health and fitness industry, and is recognised as one of Australia’s leading experts and media commentators. He is also the founder and trainer at Australia’s number one online fitness and nutrition program, and owner of Australia’s largest personal training studio, The Woodshed.