Okay, I know, eavesdropping is wrong, but sometimes I just can't help it; so many restaurants place their tables basically on top of one another.
I wouldn't mind so much -- let's face it people watching can be fun -- except that over hearing fitness conversations is usually frustrating; nine times out of ten what I hear is wrong. I have to fight my desire to lean over and enlighten everyone on how ridiculous they sound, but that would be rude, so I don't. Instead I just give my boyfriend an earful about the prevalence of fitness misinformation. His response is always, well why don't you blog about it, teach your readers correct information?
So, after years of over hearing the same misinformation over and over again, I decided to take his advice and turn my frustration into a blog post.
The five most common fitness myths overheard over meals!
Myth #1. I don't lift weights as I don't want to get too bulky.
Overhearing a woman say this at brunch on Canada Day inspired this article. I couldn't scream it there, but I can here: STOP stressing out about getting bulky!
Being strong is not a bad thing! Being strong is awesome; being strong will help you do everyday activities with ease, prevent injuries, promote proper posture and strengthen your bones.
Plus, it is almost impossible for a women to get big bulky muscles. Do you know how hard most men have to work to get the muscle bulk they desire? Your thirty minutes of squats and lunges are not going to make you the Hulk. You just don't have the genetics!
For a more detailed explanation read this.
Myth #2. I went for a thirty minute run today so I deserve to cheat and eat "bad" foods. I can have all the beer, cake, fried food, etc. (fill in the blank) that I want.
First of all, you might be surprised how few calories you used during your workout and how many calories your "cheat" meal actually includes.
Secondly, stop labeling foods as "bad" and then using exercise as a way to justify indulging in them. Labelling foods as "good" and "bad" just sets you up to feel deprived, and then binge. If you want something, regardless of if you have exercised or not, be mindful of your portion and then enjoy the experience. Don't mindlessly eat, and don't use a workout as an excuse to binge. Portion sizes are always important, even on days you exercise.
Myth #3. I want to lose weight so I don't do interval training. I use the fat burning program on the cardio machine.
Fat burning programs are based on the fact that working out at a lower intensity will burn a higher percentage of calories from fat.
An easy workout that offers miraculous fat loss -- that sounds like most people's dream -- no wonder many people use that program, but unfortunately the results are not as promising as the name of the program implies.
The fat you burn is mostly the fat stored in your muscles, not adipose tissue fat, which is the fat most people want to melt off their hips.
Also, when you work out at a higher intensity for the same amount of time, you burn far more calories overall, create more of a metabolic demand and therefore are more likely to go into calorie-deficit. A high metabolic demand and a calorie-deficit are needed for weight loss.
The main-take away is, do some interval training.
Myth#4. A workout should make you feel exhausted, or it wasn't "worth it".
Wrong. More is not better; better is better. Train smart. If you injure yourself you might not be able to workout for a sustained period. If you are exhausted post workout, you are more likely to skip training the following day. Consistency is key. You can't gain fitness if you don't train consistently.
Myth#5. I don't workout unless I can do my whole workout. Going for a walk or doing a mini work isn't worth the effort.
Any amount of movement -- whether it lasts for 20 minutes or two -- is worth doing!
When you're exercising -- even just for 20 minutes, those are minutes not spent sitting. Prolonged sitting negatively affects the cardiovascular, lymphatic and digestive system, not to mention one's metabolism. Sitting is associated with increased risk of cardiovascular disease, stroke and diabetes, and affects how our bodies metabolize glucose.
Also, once you get into the habit of being more active you can always tweak your routine, but if you never start moving you will have no routine to make perfect. For more information on how you can be more active outside of the gym read this.
Lastly, even the most dedicated gym member doesn't need to spend hours at the gym to get results. Mini interval workouts can offer maximum benefits. When I run, I love alternating 15 seconds of intense work with 45 seconds of moderate work for 20 minutes. For more information on intervals read this.
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