Fitness Myths Debunked: Q&A With Brooke Anderson, CPT

Photo from @brookeandersonfit on Instagram

With the surplus of health and fitness information accessible to us via social media, it can sometimes become easy to get lost in the noise of it all. Oftentimes, we are left wondering what is truly effective and healthy and what is simply a trend pushed on us in an attempt to generate revenue. 

Fortunately, Brooke Anderson, a certified personal trainer base in California, took the time to debunk some of the most common fitness myths out there!

*Remember, it is important to consult your physician when beginning any new intense workout or diet regimen.* 

Myth: Carbs are bad
Fact: When you eat carbs, your body converts them to glycogen, our main form of energy that our bodies use. Glycogen is a fast source of energy and your body will burn up your glycogen stores first. If you eat low or no carbs, your body will start to burn fat as a source of energy. Carbs are literally a powerhouse of energy and our bodies prefer those over our fat stores, but when you eat too many and your body doesn’t use that energy, it then converts that energy to fat, since it is a slower burning source of energy. This is why long distance runners get the “runner’s high,” because their bodies have used all of their glycogen stores and they’re not burning fat, which is much slower burning. In a balanced diet, you should aim to consume roughly 45-65% of your total calories a day in carbs. 

There are 2 different kinds of carbs, simple and complex. Simple carbs are digested very quickly in our bodies, and are usually higher in sugar. Think of things like candy, white rice, white bread, fruit, honey and juice. Complex carbs digest slowly, and usually have higher fiber content. These can make us feel full for a longer amount of time. Brown rice, lentils, oats, whole wheat bread, spinach and beans are good examples of complex carbs.  

Myth: Waist trainers will help burn belly fat 
Fact: You can’t “spot reduce” fat on your body. It’s just not possible, unfortunately. Just like how you can’t control where you gain weight, you can’t control where you lose it either. The only way to lose fat is to be burning more calories than you are consuming. Waist trainers make you build up a sweat, which may result in water weight being lost, but they don’t contribute to extra fat loss. They’re just a marketing gimmick to make more money off of the diet industry. If you stick to a healthy diet and focus on “eat less, do more,” to put it simply, you will lose fat!
Instead, try: This bodyweight 600 rep workout

Photo from @brookeandersonfit on Instagram

Myth: You can get abs with this TikTok trend 
Fact: Okay, wow I had no idea that this was even a thing. This doesn’t even make sense, you’re laying down doing NOTHING and you’re supposed to get abs? The only way to get abs is to burn the layer of fat on your stomach area. You have to train your abs just like any other muscle group [legs, shoulders, back, etc]. I recommend focusing on cardio sessions and 10-20 minute ab workouts 2-3x a week within your workout regime.
Instead, try: This upper body & abs circuit

Myth: Lifting weights will make you bulky
Fact: It’s really hard, nearly impossible, to gain a significant amount of weight and muscle unless you’re eating in a caloric surplus. Unless you are actively trying to gain muscle by lifting heavy weights and eating well above your maintenance calories, you won’t get “bulky” from weight lifting. It’s just as hard to gain muscle as it is to lose weight. Adding resistance into your workouts is a great way to burn more calories and to see more progress in the gym outside of what you look like! A good weighted exercise for beginners to try is lunges holding dumbbells in your hands, goblet squats, shoulder press, bicep curls, lateral raises and glute bridges [with weights on your hips]. 

Photo from @brookeandersonfit on Instagram

Another way to switch it up in the gym is to wear ankle weights during a cardio session. It’s also important to remember that bodyweight exercises can be made more difficult as well! Adding a pulse at the bottom of a squat, pushups on your toes instead of your knees or burpees is always great. You can always adjust your workouts by adding or removing more weight or taking an easier option of each exercise.
Instead, try: This full body kettlebell workout

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As a senior studying magazine journalism at Ohio University and a passionate feminist, I created Freely Femme as a way to use my love for storytelling to highlight some of the most inspirational women in my personal life and beyond.

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