Fitness marketers, gym trainers, and less-enlightened-self-taught fitness enthusiasts have long propagated to strengthen the notion that women are better off with cardio. It suits their body type and energy level. It is not uncommon to see men sneer at women who lift heavy. Women, over time, have found comfort in being assumed as “physically weaker” than men.
Misleading marketing tactics
I wasn’t born enlightened. Like millions of women, I too have been a victim of my ignorance. And however wise you may be, the marketers seem to get wiser by the day! They spend millions of dollars to create immensely tempting and targeted pitches that make their products irresistible. Additionally, they are also aided by our sensitivities and inadequacies. It is interesting to note that while the marketers do not explicitly down trade exercise, they position their products as superior alternatives, that not only deliver quick results but also require no effort. How often have you been tempted by these well positioned and targeted advertisements?
- Tone your body in 30 days with less than 5 minutes a day!
- Melt your belly in 45 days with a cup of magic tea!
- Lose up to 5 inches of your belly fat with hot pants in just a week!
Don’t worry. Don’t sulk. Don’t feel let down. You are not alone! It’s about time to debunk the myths shrouding women’s fitness. Let’s do it together.
- MYTH: Losing weight and losing fat…heck, it’s all the same
FACT: Hang on…NO, it’s not the same. There is a world of difference between losing weight and losing fat. Our body weight comprises the weight of muscles, water, and fat. When we lose a lot of weight in less time, we, it probably is the loss of water weight or loss of lean muscle. With just weight loss, you may look and feel a litter better than before, while with fat loss you will end up looking and feeling like a whole new person!
- MYTH: You need to do a ton of cardio to lose weight/fat
FACT: Are you killing yourself running endlessly on a treadmill or elliptical? Stop it! Cardio machines cause far more damage than they do good. Excessive cardio too is damaging and has exactly the opposite impact on our health than we are expecting. Trust me when I say, a short strength training session is far more effective in weight loss than hours of cardio put together. When you weight train, the muscles go through significant wear and tear, which takes anywhere up to 36 hours to repair and recover. The body spends a substantial amount of energy/calories in the process of recovery. Read my post Cardio or Weight Training: Which is Better? to know more.
- MYTH: One plan fits all…My friend and I follow the same plan
FACT: Our bodies, metabolisms, and tendencies differ. The same workout regime or diet plan would manifest differently for different people. A weight training plan may help you lose body fat more quickly than it does for your sister. You have to understand your body constitution and be patient and persistent with your approach to fat loss. Be focused on being fit and healthy, let fat loss be an obvious by-product.
- MYTH: Women must train differently than men
FACT: I lose my mind every time I hear that I should train less hard than men. In most gyms, trainers plan intense strength training routines for their male clients, while for their female clients they plan light dumbbell circuits. That’s neither fair nor correct. There’s no reason men and women should train differently. Women must go all out and challenge their limits, graduating from lighter to denser weights with time. Ladies put to rest all your worried about looking bulked up and muscular.
- MYTH: To lose weight eat fewer calories
FACT: Though not entirely false, we often see it partially and miss the point. Calorie in should be less than calorie spent for weight loss to happen is perhaps the most exploited and under-understood concept in the fitness and wellness industry. We must see calorie beyond just being a unit of energy. It’s not the calorie but the source of the calorie is what matters. 600 calories from a bottle of coke are far worse than 600 calories from a salad. The composition of nutrition value of calories consumed, and not just “calories” is what must be weighed when deciding a meal or a diet plan.
- MYTH: Spot reduction can be achieved with focused training
FACT: Leading women’s fitness magazines come up with wonder workouts that guarantee visible results in their hip, thigh and abdomen region with minimal efforts and in no time. Well, spot reduction of fat is sham and hoax. Hot pants, slimming leggings, sauna belts and compression garments are not only fad but also fraud. All that they do is cause discomfort while wearing them and depression after they fail to deliver the promised results. To lose that jiggly belly, bat wings or saddle bags you have to follow an optimal diet plan and workout routine comprising weights and cardio. Fat melts from all over the body uniformly giving it a toned and reduced look. Steer clear of fancy advertisements, hoax programs, fad diets and hearsay training schedules ladies! Save yourself the trauma and the bucks! Instead, move your ass and do what it takes – LIFT, RUN, HOP, JUMP, KICK, PUNCH.