By Tia Norris, April 2017 Issue of Echo Magazine in Phoenix, AZ.
When it comes to diet and fitness, the truth is that most people simply don’t have the body that they really, truly want. Now, in some cases, these people are just too lazy to invest the time and energy into achieving that dream body. But, more often than not, my clients are trying and still not succeeding.
In my years of experience, I’ve come to realize that the difference between flab and fab really just boils down to just having the right information and the right plan. Knowledge is power!
In honor of April Fools’ Day last year, I introduced “Fool Proof: Debunking Fitness Myths,” which you can read at echomag.com/talking-bodies-april-2016. This year, I’m bringing it back for a second installment of dispelling all the inaccurate gossip you hear circulating the world of diet and fitness.
Here are some of the most popular diet and fitness myths I hear, followed by the real truths behind them:
1. Exercise (blank) is bad for my (blank).
First of all, exercise shouldn’t hurt in a bad way. Yes, it’s supposed to be difficult, but it’s not supposed to injure you. Second, if something does hurt during exercise, use common sense, dumbass! You’re probably doing it wrong.
Here are some common examples:
“Squats hurt my knees.” Show me a client who hurts while squatting, and I will show you their poor external rotation in the hips and tight low back.
“Running hurts my knees.” Show me a client who hurts while running, and I will show you their weak glutes and terrible form.
“Deadlifts hurt my back.” Show me client who hates deadlifts and I’ll show you a client who has piss-poor mobility and terrible movement patterns.
If it hurts, there’s a 98-percent chance you’re doing it wrong, so hire a good trainer. And if you’re positive you’re doing it right, but it still hurts, go see a doctor you stubborn ass.
2. Eating “healthy” is terrible and is going to crush my soul forever.
I’m going to let you in on a dirty little industry secret: No one in this industry has a perfectly pristine diet 24/7/365. NO ONE. It is shocking how many of my clients’ heads explode when I tell them that I too enjoy pizza, cupcakes, burgers and fries. The key with these lower quality choices is moderation. You can’t eat like a slob every day, you must balance your cheat days or cheat meals with otherwise higher quality choices for the majority of the time.
Now, before you start fantasizing about what burger or pizza you’ll eat next, remember: every client and every program is different! Generally, there are two things that will allow you to get away with more cheat meals more often. 1) building more muscle and 2) working out more frequently will both allow you to enjoy a bit more dietary freedom. And, of course, it all depends on your goals, your fitness level, your current program, lifestyle factors and so on.
Every single client that I work with must include cheat meals and “off the program” types of dietary choices eventually. The punchline is this: if you’re intimidated by starting a diet, please know that you will not restrict or suffer forever! You will be able to have those lower quality, delicious foods again once you have built a solid foundation of muscle build and workout frequency. There are hundreds of different diet plans out there, but the most accessible in terms of quality is this: eat clean during the week, have a bit more freedom on the weekends.
3. I need to spend hours and hours in the gym everyday to get my goal physique.
When it comes to workouts, the key is efficiency. Remember that intensity and duration are inversely related. Generally speaking, this means that the harder you work out, the shorter your workouts can be. I’m not big on CrossFit but they have really cornered the market on short, hard workouts – they work, for a reason! So for most people looking to save time in the gym, this means you can work out harder, rest less between tasks, lift heavier and get out of there a bit faster.
Even if I wasn’t a trainer, I would tell you to hire a trainer. It is a trainer’s job to know what works fastest. It’s also their job to give you accurate information on what will transform your body more completely and more quickly.
There’s a reason so many people are hooked on clean eating and regular fitness. It’s not nearly as bad as all of the myths suggest. Just remember: Don’t believe everything you hear!