The Truth Behind Popular Fitness Myths
I love the fitness industry, helping women be the best they can be, get strong, fit and build confidence that comes from lifting heavy weights.
What I love less are some of the myths that are out there, so today I’ve decided to rant a bit about some of the marketing malarkey that is used to bamboozle foxes out there.
HIIT (High Intensity Interval Training). This is where you train in very hard bursts and take short rest periods. No doubt, HIIT is effective but it’s not suitable for people just starting their fitness journey. For HIIT, you’ll need to train past what’s known as your anaerobic threshold – where your body can’t supply enough oxygen to fuel the activity, and this is where if you’re not in reasonable shape you risk getting injured. And worse, if you find a class where you’re not training this hard, it’s not HIIT, it’s marketing.
“Tabata” workouts. You might have heard about Tabata, where you train for 20 seconds, rest for 10 and repeat this seven more times for a total of 8 sets of work in 4 minutes. Tabata is basically HIIT taken beyond what most people can do! So if you see a supposed tabata workout and the perky instructor is not a sweaty heap on the floor afterwards – that’s not Tabata!
Toning. I’m guilty of using this word myself, it really is part of the women’s health and fitness regime – but what does it mean, really? And that’s the problem. Toning doesn’t mean anything! It’s more of a vague description than something that can be defined. When I dig a bit deeper, speaking to first time clients, toned means having shape and definition to their physiques. And that’s developed by losing body fat and building some lean muscle. Which leads me onto the next myth.
Isolating body parts. I want slimmer, “toned” arms, so let’s do loads of bicep curls, I want firmer thighs so let’s do loads of adductor machine squeeze thingies and finally I want that rounded butt so I’ll do loads of donkey kicks…notice a pattern? There’s a touch of illogic to this thinking. Why would the same method both reduce (or tone) and increase the size of a muscle? Worse, it just doesn’t work.
“Clean” eating – I love a good Instagram food pic as much as the next Fox but I don’t love the idea that there are “clean” or “dirty” foods. Just a quick skim through Instagram shows off perfectly framed photos of avocado toast, which granted – is healthy, but makes the average Fox feel guilty if she’s having a cereal bar on the tube. Compare this to how nutrition is marketed to men, who get sold supplements for performance and “gainz”, you’ll see how we women get guilt tripped about what we eat! To defeat this marketing ploy we have to treat food as fuel. And every so often we just indulge because we want to, not because it’s being sold to us.
Anyway, glad I got all that off my chest – off to a HIIT session and have a salmon buddha bowl after 😉