5 Big Lies You Probably Believe About Exercise & Fitness

There's a lot of misinformation out there. We chatted to personal trainer Amanda Moroney to cut through some of the myths and set the record straight.

Girl at the gym

Knowledge is power when it comes to looking after your bod, but where training and exercise is concerned, there’s a tonne of information out there – and sadly, er, not all of it is accurate. #Damn.

So to help you get the most out of your workouts and to ensure you see the results you’re after, we chatted to Recalibrated Bodies personal trainer Amanda Moroney, about the big fitness myths that are probably setting your progress back, and doing you more harm and than good.

1. Lifting heavy weights will make you masculine and bulky

Been skipping the weights room cos you don’t want to look bulky? Big mistake. “To be able to build a significant amount of muscle, you need a lot of testosterone,” Amanda explains. “Without it, it’s impossible to develop enough muscle to make you bulky. In fact, “lifting heavier weights causes more micro-tears in the muscle, which requires more calories to assist with rebuilding the damaged fibres,” Amanda clarifies, “so this is where you get that ‘toned’ and defined look.” Still worried you’ll bulk up?  “The average guy has 10 times more testosterone than a girl,” she reassures, so you won’t build muscle the same way he does.

2. You need to eat less and exercise more to accelerate results

This tactic is not a good move, says Amanda. “It’s a vicious cycle of cutting calories and increasing training frequency in a bid to push passed a plateau,” she explains. “It works very short-term but you are forcing your body into ‘survival mode’ and causing metabolic damage. Eventually, your body will go into protective mode and hold on to body fat in an attempt to protect itself. No matter how little you eat or how much you train, the scales or calipers will not budge.” Instead, she recommends you slowly reduce your training, and increase your calories in a controlled manner.”

The more muscle you are made up of, the quicker your metabolic rate.

3. Cardio is more important for fat loss than weight training

“Whilst you will absolutely burn calories whilst doing cardio, it is so important to point out that you will also lose muscle,” explains Amanda. “The more muscle you are made up of, the quicker your metabolic rate, so essentially if you are losing muscle, you are slowing your metabolism.” The fix? “If you’re a cardio bunny, make sure you incorporate resistance training to preserve as much muscle as possible,” Amanda suggests.

4. If you’re not sore the next day, you didn’t work hard enough

Barely able to lower yourself on to the loo after leg day? “Whilst you definitely want to feel like you have engaged the muscles, if you are crippled after every session, it simply means you are not recovering,” says Amanda. “That comes down to nutrition. This is the most crucial time to eat to refuel your body and to keep your metabolic function elevated.” Still feeling sore several days later? “If you’re suffering prolonged muscle soreness, increase your protein and carbohydrates in the post-training window,” suggests Amanda.

5. Ab workouts give you abs!

“Everyone has abs but for them to be visible, you need to have low enough body fat stores.” Amanda tells us. “Spending hours doing ab crunches and hogging the ab curl machine will not make them appear any faster.” Instead, “fat loss is based on simple thermodynamics,” she explains. “You must eat fewer calories than you burn, so getting your nutrition on point is the most important step. Next, select exercises that recruit the bigger muscle groups of your body, which will augment the amount of calories you burn in a session.” Got it.