Many ridiculous myths and misconceptions about exercise and dieting for weight loss have created widespread confusion, fat loss failures and a subsequent lack of true, long term fitness success in the mass population.
In this article, I will dispel these falsehoods to clear the way for a clean mental slate upon which we will place the foundation of your new belief system.
Reality Check: Good genetics is a widely misused term. In short, your genetics are what you make of them. While it is not possible for all men to look like Mr. Universe or all women to look like Miss America, we all possess a vast range of genetic variations.
- Myth Number One: In order to be strong and fit, I must have good genetics from my parents.
Which end of your genetic range you exist in is mostly a function of your nutrition, exercise and lifestyle habits.
- Myth Number Two: In order to become and stay fit, I have to spend 2 ½ hours at the gym every day.
Reality Check: This false notion has been around since the early days of fitness. Most people take their 'lessons' from other unqualified people who are not credentialed and experienced fitness pros. They mistakenly base their own perception about what they must do in order to get into shape on their observation of individuals who appear to be in peak health.
The sad reality is that millions of people spend more time exercising than necessary as a direct result of being exposed to the inappropriate belief that fitness success requires an unrealistic time commitment.
- Myth Number Three: I'm not a 'fitness person' and exercise just isn't for me.
Reality Check: Taking care of yourself through realistic exercise and maintaining a solid foundation of healthy lifestyle habits should be a natural aspiration, not a daily burden. Your body, mind and spirit require exercise in order to function with vigor, strength and flexibility. Each of us has been blessed with the gift of life, so we must utilize our full potential instead of letting our bodies wither away, our minds become idle and our spirits become disheartened.
- Myth Number Four: I am not overweight and, therefore, I do not need to exercise.
Reality Check: First-rate fitness and health are not dependent upon weight. Although weight is a critical element in everyone's fitness profile, it is only one factor and it cannot determine what a complete fitness profile may look like. There are numerous health parameters that cannot be seen without testing.
For instance, bone density, cholesterol and blood pressure, to name a few, can still be at potentially deadly levels, even if you are not overweight. The good news is, however, that proper nutritional and exercise habits can often reverse certain health conditions that result from lack of exercise or a poor diet.
- Myth Number Five: Exercise is too dangerous for me. I know a lot of people who have been injured as a result of exercising.
Reality Check: Most people start a fitness program without proper guidance and instruction. Quite often, the result of this blind action leads to pain and injuries, which are sometimes serious and long term. You can't start your fitness quest by doing the same exercises you did many years ago or by imitating what you see other 'unsure' people doing.
Ideally, you should seek the assistance of a qualified fitness professional, especially if you are just starting an exercise program. Guidance is available in many forms ranging from books and DVDs to one-on-one personal consultation and training by a professional.
- Myth Number Six: If my calories are too low, my metabolism will shut down and stop me from losing weight and possibly cause me to gain weight.
Reality Check: Ponder this. Have you ever seen pictures or new segment videos of fat hunger-strike participants? The human body is capable of functioning with the consumption of far less calories than most people devour on a regular basis.
The equation is simple: If more calories are being burned for fuel than are being consumed, a caloric deficit occurs. Your body compensates for the deficit by honing in on the sources of fat storage. It is very rare that metabolic shutdown causes weight gain or the inability to lose body fat. This myth is more of a marketing tactic than a realistic weight-loss principle.
- Myth Number Seven: I'm too old to be in shape.
Reality Check: Being old is the best reason to be in shape. What most people dismiss as being side effects of aging can be stopped and often reversed through proper nutrition and exercise. To put this into perspective, being in shape as a mature adult does not mean partaking in next summer's ``hottest body' contest at the beach (although there's nothing wrong with doing that if you wish).
Rather, being in shape as a mature, wise adult means maintaining the highest possible level of physical, spiritual and mental independence.
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