I must confess that ‘two truths and a lie’ is probably my LEAST favorite ice breaker activity (ahh, flashbacks to awkward work meetings), but it seems to work for this post so here goes.
Fitness myths told to women that need to be debunked:
Lie #1: Lifting weights will make you bulky.
Truth: Women have a female hormonal makeup and cannot easily develop large muscles like males. It typically requires supplements, a targeted diet, and frequent, intensive hypertrophic training sessions for women to develop a ‘body-builder’ physique.
Truth: Combined with proper nutrition and healthy habits, strength or resistance training actually results in the type of (toned) body that many women want.
Lie #2: Frequent HIIT (high intensity interval training) and long, intense workout sessions are optimal for women’s health.
Truth: While some stress on your body is beneficial (causing it to adapt and get stronger), too much can lead to negative health outcomes (e.g., fatigue, trouble sleeping, irritability, weight gain, etc.). If your workouts are repeatedly too intense and/or too long, your body will respond by raising your cortisol levels, which over time can result in chronic stress.
Truth: Everyone has different fitness needs. Learning to listen to how your body adapts and responds to various forms, lengths and frequencies of exercise can help you know when to go for it (and challenge yourself) and when to rest or decrease the intensity.
Lie #3: Women should follow the same fitness guidelines as men.
Truth: The majority of sports science research is conducted with men. Because their hormones are more predictable (and there is less variability to account for), using males in trials is less complicated and less expensive. Men and women experience different health outcomes in some aspects of medicine and exercise, necessitating different approaches and fitness recommendations.
Truth: When women are mindful of how hormones affect their bodies, they can adapt their exercise routines to their advantage. I am new to ‘cycle synching’ and promise to share more in upcoming blogs. I have found tracking my energy levels and exercise performance at different times throughout the month to be a valuable first step.