By Brittany Baldwin
Whether I’m within the Wellness and Recreation Center, or in meetings around campus, I regularly have students, faculty and staff ask my opinion about the validity of various fitness techniques they’ve heard. I’ve found that many are myths based on facts that have been misinterpreted. However, some are based upon incorrect and harmful assumptions.
Here is a list of the top four health and fitness myths I’ve encountered around campus and debunked:
Myth #1: Eating after 7 p.m. makes you fat
Facts: Due to rigorous work and school schedules, many FIU students have to eat whenever their busy schedules permit.
Therefore, I often make the important distinction that it is not the timing of your meals that makes you gain weight, it is what you are consuming during those meals that’s doing the damage.
Having a healthy and nutritionally balanced meal after 7 p.m. is not going to tip the scale. As long as you remain within your recommended daily caloric intake values according to your body’s needs.
Myth #2: Crunches are the key to flat abs
Facts: Despite what social media portrays, doing crunches and other abdominal work is not the most effective way to lose belly fat.
Increasing your overall physical activity levels and choosing healthier fresh foods are far more effective ways to trim and tone the midsection.
Myth #3: Spot or target weight loss is possible
Fact: At least once a week, I have a Wellness and Recreation Center patron come to my office requesting a personal trainer to help them obtain the butt, legs, stomach or arms of their favorite celebrity or influencer.
During these encounters, I inform patrons that just as it’s physiologically impossible to only gain weight in the select places that you want, it is also physiologically impossible to lose weight only in desired spots.
When you begin a strength-based exercise regimen, you typically lose body fat from all over your body, not just a few desired areas.
Myth #4: No pain, no gain
Facts: The old school “no pain, no gain” mentality is not only outdated, but it is also very ineffective and potentially very harmful to your body.
No exercise is designed to “hurt” you or make you feel extreme pain, especially in your joints or your lower back. I often encourage patrons who adhere to this sentiment to instead learn to differentiate between “feeling the burn” and “feeling pain.”
If you have questions about other fitness myths not listed, I recommend connecting with a trusted fitness professional (such as the personal training team at the Wellness and Recreation Center) to receive the proper information on how to best achieve your health and fitness goals.
Brittany Baldwin is a certified personal trainer and group fitness instructor who currently works as the assistant director of fitness at the FIU Wellness and Recreation Center at MMC. This article is part of an FIU News series featuring Baldwin’s perspective on health and fitness.