As a former collegiate strength and conditioning coach, I know that women can be a target for all kinds of incorrect health and fitness information. While I was coaching, I also noticed that men were given immediate credence in the weight room, regardless of the amount of research, coaching or personal trainer education they had completed.
My female athletes would tell me that they did not want to squat because it would make their butt big. When asked where this information came from, they would say that their dad told them that. The next question would be, “Is your father a strength coach?” The answer was always something like, “No, he is an computer programmer.” I see.
Now that was a long time ago and I sincerely hope that female athletes in collegiate weight rooms are getting after it and thinking more about their performance than their appearance. However, these women have access to highly-trained coaches and top-notch sports medicine professionals. The average woman gets most of her health and fitness information from questionable sources on the internet or fashion magazines.
Recently a friend sent me an online article about weird ways to lose weight. One of the ways listed was to take tapeworm pills and another was to use a feeding tube. I’m serious. Now do you think for a minute that using a feeding tube or introducing a parasite into your body is a “healthy” or “natural” way to lose weight? (Where in the world would one get tapeworm pills anyway?) Honestly.
Now, when it comes to magazines, consider this: they are beholden to and, in a way, censored by their advertisers. For example, in the “Top 10 Ways to Prevent Cancer,” you will likely read nothing about the dangers of smoking.
So, with that in mind, here are five myths that women still seem to believe in the world of health and fitness:
1. Lifting weights will make me big and bulky. Absolutely not. Women simply don’t have enough testosterone, nor do they eat enough, to put on massive amounts of muscle.
2. Eating low-fat food is better for me. Wrong. Full-fat foods like yogurt, cheese and milk are better for you (and your hormone production) than low- or no-fat alternatives.
3. Eating 6 small meals a day is better for me. Wrong, again. Try to go 4-5 hours between meals.
4. Drinking diet soda is a healthy alternative to soda. Nope. Both should be avoided at all costs.
5. Weight loss is all about calories. Many women mistakenly think that if they eat less, they will be in a calorie deficit and lose weight. This is not a long-term weight loss solution. What is more important for your health and well-being is the kind of calories you consume.
There is a great deal of misinformation out there about fitness and nutrition. Look past the marketing and hype and instead look to wholesome, healthy foods and workouts that you enjoy. Best of luck to you!
Learn more about the Health Fitness Specialist degrees at Globe University/Minnesota School of Business.