There are a number of claims made around health and fitness, which can make it difficult to know what’s really true. Our experts bust 10 health and fitness myths and educate you on what’s real, and what’s fake.
Myth #1: You need to drink 3 Liters of water a day
We all know drinking water is vital for optimal health… but how much do we really need to drink? You may have heard that 3 liters is what to aim for, but the truth is, you may not really need that much.
The amount you need to drink is dependent on your body size, gender and activity level. For most people, drinking 2.2 liters a day is just enough. However, if you notice signs of dehydration such as fatigue, dizziness, and a dry mouth, you should definitely increase your intake.
Exercise also increases your need for water as you’re losing hydration through sweat. So in reality, there is no magic number. Drink the amount of water that keeps signs of dehydration at bay so you can feel your best.
Myth #2: You can gain weight from one day of overeating
How many times have you thrown in the towel during a diet because you ate over your recommended calorie intake and thought it’s better to “start fresh” next week?
Good news is, it’s actually not that easy to gain weight from one day or meal over your recommended calorie intake. To put this into perspective, in order to gain 1kg you need to eat 7,700 calories over your Total Daily Energy Expenditure (TDEE) for the week. So, let’s say you’re in a daily caloric deficit of eating 400 calories less than your TDEE. Even if you ate a large Big Mac meal (roughly 1300 cals) that day, you have exceeded your TDEE by 900 calories on that particular day.
Now, divide that by 7 (days in a week) and subtract your result from 400 (your daily caloric deficit) = you are still in a caloric deficit of 272 each day for the rest of the week.
Meeting your caloric requirements is important, but what’s more important is to look at meeting your calorie goals from a weekly and monthly perspective. Consistency over a prolonged period of time will ensure you achieve your fat loss results, so don’t let one day throw you off track!
Myth #3: You’ll get better results if you perform fasted cardio
When it comes to working out, most people are under the impression that fasted cardio is superior. But what if you prefer to eat before a workout? Don’t stress!
What matters most in terms of achieving results is the quality of your workout. Did you train to the best of your ability? Are you applying progressive overload to get stronger? Those are the types of factors that impact your progress the most.
If you prefer eating before a workout, then go for it! In fact, a pre workout meal or snack could actually boost your exercise performance by giving your muscles more energy.
Myth #4: You can burn off a cheat meal
Have you ever felt like you should do a workout simply to make up for eating an indulgent meal? We hate to break it to you, but the body simply doesn't work that way.
Metabolism and energy expenditure is a highly complex process - it’s not as straightforward as ‘calories in, calories out’. Simply doing one additional workout will not burn off the calories from a particular cheat meal. It’s the overall calorie intake for an extended period of time that contributes most to fat loss or gain.
So what should you do if you have a cheat meal? Simply carry on with your regular exercise regime and diet. Everything evens out in the end. One high calorie meal will not derail your progress in the long run, we promise!
Myth #5: You must reduce carbs to lose weight
Think you need to cut our carbs to lose weight? Think again!
Carbs are a macronutrient, meaning a nutrient needed in moderately large amounts on a daily basis. Carbs supply the brain, muscles, and organs with energy that can easily be utilized. Plus, carbs are an incredible source of fiber and micronutrients like magnesium, and B vitamins which can actually help with fat loss!
The key is to mainly consume complex carbohydrates. This is because complex carbs take longer to digest, which stabilizes appetite and keeps blood sugar levels stable. Examples of complex carbohydrates include wholewheat bread, wholewheat pasta, brown rice, quinoa, legumes, fruits and vegetables.
Myth #6: You shouldn’t do cardio if your goal is to build muscle
If you’re trying to build muscle, you may have been told to avoid cardio at all costs.
The truth is, you should not completely avoid cardio, even if your goal is muscle building. Whilst doing a lot of cardio may hinder your muscle building process by placing you in a further calorie deficit, a small - moderate amount of cardio is still advantageous for your health.
Just because you are focusing on muscular strength, doesn’t mean you should neglect cardiovascular fitness. Incorporating some cardio such as walking, light jogging, cycling or even the occasional HIIT class, is important for keeping your heart in tip top shape. As long as the majority of your training is strength-based, incorporating some cardio will not impede on your muscle building goal.
Myth #7: Eating late at night makes you gain weight
Have you ever been told to avoid eating late at night to avoid weight gain?
This idea comes from the hypothesis that eating disturbs your circadian rhythm, which is the 24-hour cycle that tells your body when to sleep, eat and wake. However, no evidence exists to support this claim. So if you eat past 8pm, don’t worry, you will not gain weight because of that. The truth is, meal timing doesn’t really matter, as long as you don’t exceed your overall calorie intake.
Eating too late at night can however affect your sleep which is why it’s important to aim to have your last meal 2-3 hours before you go to sleep. This is because eating too close to bed time doesn’t allow your body time to digest the food you have eaten properly, affecting the quality of your sleep.
In conclusion, when it comes to gaining weight, what you eat is much more important than when you eat!
Myth #8: Drinking lemon water helps you detox
Whilst drinking lemon water is super refreshing, it certainly does not help you detox. Lemons do not possess any miracle properties to stimulate detoxification processes. Lemons do contain Vitamin C (which is a great antioxidant), but in no way do lemons directly affect liver function.
Instead, focus on eating an overall balanced diet filled with an array of nutritious foods. You should also try to avoid or minimize things that place a high toxic load on your liver, such as consuming alcohol, and smoking.
Myth #9: Micronutrients don’t matter much
You’d be surprised just how much micronutrients (vitamins and minerals) make a difference. In fact, vitamin and mineral deficiencies are responsible for a large range of health symptoms like fatigue, low immunity, poor gut health and much more.
Whilst macronutrients (carbs, proteins, fats) are super important for achieving physique goals, micronutrients are vital for the overall health and vitality.
Fruits and vegetables are a major source of key micronutrients like magnesium, B vitamins, Vitamin C, Vitamin A and so much more. However, eating the recommended amount of fruits and vegetables continues to be a major struggle for most of us.
This is why we’ve created OxyGreens - a superfood greens supplement that delivers essential micronutrients whilst tasting delicious!
Myth #10: Coconut oil is a superfood
The popularity of coconut oil has soared due to its proclaimed health benefits. However, based on current evidence, coconut oil is not a superfood, nor is it bad for you, if you eat it in moderate amounts.
Coconut oil is made up mostly of saturated fat. Fatty acids are what makes up fat, and there are several types of saturated fatty acids in coconut oil. The predominant type is lauric acid, with myristic and palmitic acids present in smaller amounts, which have been shown to raise harmful LDL levels. Coconut oil also contains monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fats as well as traces of vitamins, minerals and plant sterols, known for their health benefits. However, the amount found in a tablespoon of coconut oil is too small to produce a beneficial effect.
A review of seven controlled trials found that coconut oil raised harmful LDL cholesterol levels. Therefore, it can be concluded that oils containing monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fats (such as olive and avocado oil) are the healthier fat alternatives.
At EHPLabs, our teams work aimlessly to ensure our products and expert advice is the most trusted amongst the fitness community. We hope that we’ve helped you learn something new and bust these myths once and for all!