If you’ve been hitting the gym six days a week, heading to the front of your running club, and pumping more iron than Arnold in the ‘80s, well, then, hey, good for you. This is for the rest of us — mere mortals who are struggling to overcome the plateau we all inevitably hit. To get yourself going (back on track), check out these common fitness myths (and mistakes) that may be holding you back from unleashing that tank top bod next summer.
Myth #1: Sleep doesn’t matter.
You’ve heard it before, probably from your old man, “You can sleep when you’re dead” (or from 50 Cent, with, “Sleep is for those people who are broke”). But this is all wrong if you’re trying to achieve your top fitness goals. Sleep is when your muscles have the chance to regenerate and rebuild from being torn apart in the weight room. You’re also more likely to head for that bag of chips at midnight if you haven’t been sleeping well, because your resistance is down. Get those seven to eight hours of recommended sleep and watch the number on the scale drop.
Myth #2: Diet soda isn’t hurting anything.
But it is. Sure, diet sodas have way fewer calories, but that isn’t where the problem lies. Instead, according to Harvard Health Publishing, diet soda can lead to an increased appetite for higher amounts of sugar and higher-calorie foods elsewhere in your diet. Instead, swap for unsweetened green tea, flavored water, or filtered water flavored with lemon, lime, or orange slices. You’ll feel awesome about all the chemicals you aren’t ingesting.
Go for gains in a heather grey crew neck tee.
Myth #3: Working out can be the entire strategy.
You may have heard stories of people, possibly including yourself, who worked out constantly, only to see very little progress on the scale or in muscle gains. The answer may often be that working out with no nutritional strategy can lead to slower progress. The so-called 80/20 rule matters for some folks, asking you to zone in on nutrition (80%) with exercise as your supplemental strategy (20%). While both are important, a solid diet matters, sometimes more than you think.
Myth #4: You have to be on it all the time.
People hold themselves to such high standards and absolutes that they end up failing at their health and fitness goals. They see one “bad” meal as a sign of epic failure and lack of restraint rather than being human and enjoying your life. To stay on track, plan for these meals or imperfect days of diet and exercise to happen occasionally, or even on purpose, but don’t let them derail your goals for an entire week or month. Instead, focus on overall consistency, targeting most days rather than every day, over a substantial period for optimum results.
Myth #5: You’ve got to have all the gear.
Does the military, which includes some of the most fit men and women in our country, spend the entirety of their days on insanely expensive weight machines? No, not usually. Instead, look at the basics of fitness and what you can accomplish with minimal equipment and gear. A simple regiment of push-ups, pull-ups, sit-ups, and body squats can effectively increase muscle like you wouldn’t believe. A couple of free-weight options can be just as helpful as an entire bench system. Moreover, your extremely stationary street or sidewalk can easily replace any need for a treadmill, with you out there running, jogging, or nailing a fast-paced walk, ultimately accomplishing all of your cardio goals.
Likewise, while you may think you need top-of-the-line sports outfits, they aren’t integral to your success by any means. Instead, go for a better value with Fresh Clean Tees and grab a variety of breathable t-shirts for indoor workouts, whether you’re a crew neck t-shirt or v-neck t-shirt kind of guy, and go for a simple lightweight tank top for outdoor workouts. Your body, mind, and wallet will thank you.
— Alexandra Frost