If you are a novice along your fitness journey or even just lack general exercise literacy, then the words of a personal trainer can be gold dust in propelling you towards your goals. However, this can also leave you indoctrinated if you don’t do your own research alongside this.
Here I want to dispel some of the myths that are commonly reported in the fitness industry so you are one step ahead and better guided when going on your fitness journey. Let’s get into it.
You can’t target losing belly fat
If one of your goals is to weight loss, and more specifically, lose belly fat, this is really important to understand from the get go. There is no way of specifically targeting belly fat and whether it’s the first or last to go along your weight loss. Some personal trainers may explain that you will lose belly fat by doing specific exercises like sit-ups or planks, but this is simply not true. You may grow or strengthen the muscles in this specific region that ‘tone‘ your ‘abs’ but excessive central adipose tissue will always cloak these gains.
What I am saying here is do not buy into or focus on losing weight in specific areas because individually we are all different and our genetic coding means that we put on weight and lose the fat at varying speeds and in different locations along our journey. Some of us just have to look at high sugar/high-fat foods and we put on weight. Others can eat for a nation and will not gain an ounce of fat. The take home message here is focused on noticing consistent progress along your weight loss journey. Things like seeing how your clothes fit on you, taking before/after progress pics and objectively measuring your progress i.e. waist to hip ratio testing are valid methods of monitoring your progress.
There's no guarantee how long it will take you to reach your goal
Now, this is a huge misconception in the fitness industry. Some personal trainers will actually tell you a specific time frame in which you are able to reach your desired fitness goal. Now don’t get me wrong, if EVERYTHING else in your life remains constant and you follow a strict exercise regimen, yes you probably will reach the goal in the given time frame. However, all things in your life will almost inevitably NOT remain the same as no two days are exactly. Factors such as sleep, stress, motivation levels and diet all have an effect on how long it will take you to reach your goal. If one or more of these factors are sub-optimal then they can constrain your progression.
Again, the important thing to accept here is to embrace not knowing how long it will take for you to reach your desired goals but have the determination and resilience to keep striving towards them. Breaking your overall goal into smaller goals is an effective way to see consistent progress over time and thus keep you motivated along the journey. For example, if you currently fit into an extra-large t-shirt but in 3 months’ time, you want to fit into a small sized t-shirt, setting monthly goals to fit into one size smaller each month can be extremely motivating as you are seeing the progress consistently.
The kitchen is more important than the gym
Arguably the most important part of the entire process. Not all, but some personal trainers will believe that the best exercise regime can fully compensate for a sub-optimal diet. This couldn’t be further from the truth.
When you are exercising you are in the catabolic phase of metabolism as your muscles, bones and connective tissues have utilised much energy and so have experienced a healthy degree of microtrauma. Outside of catabolism, you are in the anabolic phase of metabolism as your body is recovering. However, this is particularly heightened during sleep and in the morning before your first meal. Additionally, the food you consume is literally the source of how effective your recovery is. Filling a diesel engine with petrol will only cause your vehicle to function below its true potential. This is the same as us humans. Eating foods that are nutritionally deficient or highly processed will not provide you with the essential nutrients to recover effectively when at rest. For more information CLICK HERE to read our earlier blog on how to correct poor dietary choices which leave you recovering sub-optimally.
For a more detailed look on how the food we select has an impact on our weight loss plans, particularly in our abdomen, scholar, William Davis breaks down how wheat in our diet is contributing to the overweight/obesity epidemic we face today. Click below to see the book which is available in a number of formats from hardcover to audiobook.
As always, the information provided in this blog is what we advocate based on our experiences along the fitness journey. We always advocate challenging any claims that are made and doing your own unbiased research to come up with you own opinions on what method works for YOU. In life no two people are exactly the same so what works for one may not work for another.
About the Author
Christopher Djan is a passionate health and fitness enthusiast that consistently delivers results for his clients. He has been in the fitness industry for over 7 years and has amassed much of his knowledge through a variety of clientele and self-learning. He works at the forefront of creating innovative strategies for client-based goals and breaking through boundaries encountered. He has currently stolen "When you want to succeed as much as you want to breathe, then you'll be successful!" as his own.