Just like the Romans and Greeks, our culture of health and fitness has cultivated a wide variety of myths that cater to our desires for beauty and vitality. Some myths have stood the test of time and some have been rediscovered, dusted off, and presented as new information. What’s important for the health and fitness enthusiast is to approach each myth armed with ability to separate what is real and what is snake oil. The following presents five of the most prevalent myths as reported through TV, social media sites, or a neighbour’s best friend’s brother’s cousin…
1. Targeted Fat Reduction Is Possible
This ever-popular myth continues to influence (and disappoint) many exercisers as they perform crunch after crunch to obtain the coveted “six pack” or flat belly that is promised. This myth, known as spot reduction, has been disproved in the exercise research for decades and suggests one may target specific parts of the body for localized fat loss. The University of Connecticut conducted a study examining 107 participants after performing a resistance training program with their non-dominant arm for 12 weeks.
After an MRI was conducted on each, the findings suggested no difference in subcutaneous fat (that is fat under the skin). If spot reduction is not possible, how can one achieve the desired fat loss? A combination of cardiovascular exercise and resistance training coupled with a healthy diet (and patience) may reap the desired results…but performing 200 sit ups before bed will only result in very tired abdominal muscles.