5 Misconceptions About Working Out

I’ve been spending a lot of time on Pinterest over the past several months and I’ve been noticing a trend that bothers me every time. As someone with a career in fitness and health, one of the boards I put a lot of time into revolves around different types of workouts. As Pinterest learns my preferences, I’m usually greeted with delicious food posts and workouts when I sign in.

The problem with most of these workouts is that they are almost always titled as some variation of “Belly Blaster” or “Melt that Arm Fat.” You get the idea. I can’t help but wonder how long it will take for people to realize that there is no quick fix to a healthy lifestyle. It’s easy to play into that psychology, but I wish that people and companies would be more honest in their fitness marketing. Also, this would help me have more workouts to actually pin to my boards. These are the important things.

Since I was reminded yet again today, I want to share five misconceptions that I want to change about working out.

There are far too many "quick fixes" on the internet when it comes to working out. See 5 common misconceptions and what I wish would change about fitness marketing.

Working Out Takes WORK

It’s called “working out” for a reason. In order for you to make significant changes to your body, you have to be willing to go beyond your comfort zone. If it were easy, everyone would do it and everyone would be in shape.

I had a previous client who would automatically stop when she became out of breath or perceived that she was working too hard. As a result, her cardio never improved and she only saw a small amount of weight loss over a period of months. You have to go into each workout being willing to give your all. That can mean different things on different days, but as long as you finish knowing you did everything you could, it’s a great workout!

There’s no short term

Unless you want to regress to your starting point, there is no short term in adopting a healthy lifestyle. This is also my problem with the word “diet.” Short term plans will result in short term solutions. You may lose weight, but if you don’t do anything to maintain it, you’ll soon find yourself right back where you started.

If you are serious about making changes for the better, you have to think long term. It’s about making manageable, consistent choices in order to live a better life.

Targeted fat loss doesn’t exist

Many of those pins that I see focus on one body part and use an extremely exaggerated photo to draw you in. I hate to break it to anyone who still thinks that they can lose their love handles by exclusively working their obliques, but it’s just not going to happen. Exercising and burning calories causes you to lose weight all over, and each body is different in where that weight will first come off. There is not one universal plan to help everyone in the same way.

Exercise is only part of the equation

Nutrition is HUGE when it comes to fitness and weight loss. Exercise is only part of the equation. If you work out consistently but then eat donuts and pizza everyday (don’t look at my Instagram), then you’re not going to see the same results as if you also adopt a cleaner pattern of eating.

While I say that nutrition is an important part of your overall wellness, I’m not advocating for restriction. Personally, I believe in moderation, and to me those donuts are worth not having rock hard abs. Make sure to think about your long term goals and weigh them against your everyday happiness. We only have one life to live.

Related: How I Ate and Exercised to Prepare for My Fitness Photo Shoot

You get out what you put in

If you do a 15-minute arm workout and call it a day, you probably won’t be seeing huge results. According to the Department of Health and Human Services, adults need an average of 150 hours of moderate aerobic activity or 75 minutes of vigorous aerobic activity per week. Make sure to get that heart rate up with things like running, walking, biking, swimming, etc. Even heavy weight lifting will raise your heart rate pretty quickly.

Questions:

  • What other fitness misconceptions have you seen?

*As always, I am a certified personal trainer, but I am not YOUR personal trainer. Make sure to seek the advice of a doctor before starting any type of new exercise routine and work with your specific trainer to develop a plan that works for you!

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24 Comments

    • erinsinsidejob
      February 23, 2016 / 1:19 pm

      Totally. If the market wasn’t so polluted with misinformation it might be easier for people to know how to approach it!

  1. February 23, 2016 / 6:17 am

    If I think really hard about working out, will that burn calories?? Something that I stress to my clients is that lasting change takes time. Just like with studying: you can memorize information in a night or two, but will it really stay with you and be applicable? Likely not. You have to work consistently to build that base of knowledge, to create a foundation that you can build upon.
    Susie @ SuzLyfe recently posted…BQs to Bottoming Out: What I’ve Learned From Injury and TriumphMy Profile

    • erinsinsidejob
      February 23, 2016 / 1:19 pm

      That would be great. I like to think about working out when I eat crap on the weekend and I think that prob cancels it out.

  2. February 23, 2016 / 6:42 am

    Yes to all of these but especially number 1. Working out takes work! I have my co workers at mt desk job that envy my body. Well I work out like 5-6 days a week. Sure for a while growing up I may have had a fast metabilism but as I have gotten older I realized it has slowed down a bit. Nutrition is also a big part and you need a lot of will power to resist the trays of cookies leftover at the office but I am happy that lately I have been and I am noticing the difference with how I feel. Not bloated and having more energy. It takes work and it is a lifestyle for me.
    Alicia recently posted…New Recipes and Relaxed Weekend: MIMM#59My Profile

    • erinsinsidejob
      February 23, 2016 / 1:20 pm

      That’s great Alicia! I had that problem at my old job too and it would make me mad when people would make comments about how easy it was for me to look the way I did. They seemed to forget about how I made exercise a priority before even coming in!

  3. February 23, 2016 / 7:42 am

    The pinterest workouts you mentioned (Burn belly fat, melt arm fat) make me laugh. How would your body know to JUST remove fat from your belly/arms/butt etc? People are so cray on the internet.
    Pragati // Simple Medicine recently posted…DIY Yoga Mat CleanerMy Profile

    • erinsinsidejob
      February 23, 2016 / 1:21 pm

      Haha I know. It makes me mad bc then I have to wade through stupid workouts to even find ones to pin!

    • erinsinsidejob
      February 23, 2016 / 1:21 pm

      I’m so surprised that people still buy into those!

  4. February 23, 2016 / 8:09 am

    I think you hit them all. It does bother me to see or hear people try to cheat their way to being “healthier” or “smaller.” There is no quick fix. You didn’t get to your state or size overnight and it won’t be an overnight reduction either.
    Shalama recently posted…3 tips when cravings kick in or think you are hungryMy Profile

    • erinsinsidejob
      February 23, 2016 / 1:22 pm

      Totally. I love your outlook on it!

  5. February 23, 2016 / 8:10 am

    All of this is so true, but it’s so sad how many people do not get this in today’s culture. I think truly healthy eating and fitness is so mystified with media and advertising and people trying to make money that people are just downright confused.

    I recently tried the Flat Belly Diet because it seemed slightly reasonable, not because I actually thought it would give me a flat belly. The concept of the diet is so stupid though. They claim based on one study that eating monunsaturated fats at every meal “blasts belly fat.” And I just think, if that’s really true, wouldn’t everyone know this by now? But there is no way to eat or exercise that targets just one area. You lose all over and sometimes in more area than another because there was simply more fat or more to lose there. Not because you can say “body, lose fat from your belly.” Silly!

    • erinsinsidejob
      February 23, 2016 / 1:25 pm

      Oh man I hate that “blast belly fat” phrase. If there wasn’t so much misinformation out there it may be easier for people to actually know where to start!

  6. February 23, 2016 / 8:34 am

    So much yes to all this! The targeted weight loss stuff drives me crazy! Also, obviously I know how much nutrition impacts results but I certainly saw it first hand in this past while as I finished up phase two of a strength program I’ve been doing and didn’t get the results I expected. It was all diet but like you, I believe in balance and not restriction so I’m okay with it too.
    Jen @ Pretty Little Grub recently posted…Live Fit Trainer Phase Two Results & RecapMy Profile

    • erinsinsidejob
      February 23, 2016 / 1:26 pm

      Yeah my diet could definitely be cleaned up, but right now eating clean 5 days a week and going on crazy good adventures on the weekend is working out just fine for me haha

  7. February 23, 2016 / 8:37 am

    Thanks for being the voice of truth on a topic that’s so misunderstood! I often hear people say they just don’t have time to workout, but I think that goes back to your first point. It’s not easy. If it were, everyone would do it. Sometimes the hardest part is making a commitment. Great post, Erin!
    Rica @Yoga Mat Monkey recently posted…Let Go or Be Dragged: My Experience with AssholesMy Profile

    • erinsinsidejob
      February 23, 2016 / 1:26 pm

      Thanks Rica! I try and schedule my workouts like any kind of meeting. That way I’m sure to show up!

  8. February 23, 2016 / 10:54 am

    So true about these, especially about short term results. It’s amazing that people think they can get the body of their dreams in a few days or weeks. I completely agree that diets are short term too! Lifestyles are what cultivate the long term changes
    Sarah @ BucketListTummy recently posted…For all you Snackers: How To Snack SmartMy Profile

    • erinsinsidejob
      February 23, 2016 / 1:27 pm

      Totally. Sounds like you’ve got it down!

  9. February 23, 2016 / 1:07 pm

    Thank you babe for speaking up about this! I really don’t look for workouts with cute names because I follow a heavy weight lifting routine that I love, but I think it’s deceiving when you see magazines with “quick” ab anything! LOL! Girl….abs take dedication!! They take work and they take CLEAN EATS!

    So, thank you!

    xxoo
    Kris
    Kris | iheartwellness.com recently posted…DIY Blackhead Busting Mask!My Profile

    • erinsinsidejob
      February 23, 2016 / 1:27 pm

      Yay heavy lifting! I love it! Abs are totally about what you eat which is why mine are hiding haha. They’re there though!

  10. February 24, 2016 / 4:07 pm

    You really do have the whole “balance” thing down. Your weekends are nuts haha but that’s less than two days of your week! Other than that you’re kicking butt and taking names! At the gym AND in the kitchen.
    Lauren @ i had a big lunch recently posted…What I Ate…WheneverMy Profile

    • erinsinsidejob
      February 26, 2016 / 6:51 am

      I try, girl, I try 🙂

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