Fitness YouTube star Matt Morsia shatters some commonly held fitness myths and misbeliefs…
As a former PE teacher, athlete, personal trainer and now fitness YouTuber, the most common question I get from followers and even people in the street is, “How do I get a body like yours?”
The secret is: there is no secret.
Despite all the fitness myths you have been told, there’s no magic routine, supplement or superfood that is going to transform your body in two weeks.
In contrast to what most people on social media and within the fitness industry would have you believe, the most effective way to build muscle or lose fat isn’t some weird combination of star jumps, drinking apple cider vinegar and playing the guitar naked.
It’s actually a surprisingly simple process which involves a lot of patience and perseverance. But be warned – it’s far from easy. If it was easy, everyone would be walking around looking like Adonis.
That’s why I wrote a book. A manual, if you like, to guide readers through the process of getting in the best shape of their lives.
The book is my attempt to shatter all the fitness myths and misconceptions, and clear up this wealth of misinformation. I called it The 24/7 Body because finding an equilibrium and happiness in your body isn’t something you can just dabble in. It has to become a way of life.
Below I cover some of the most common health and fitness myths we’ve been sold, and provide alternative advice which actually works. I hope this information helps those who are thinking of making a positive change and looking to build some good habits in the New Year.
THE FITNESS MYTH: “I want to lose weight”
THE REALITY: Trying to lose weight is stupid. What you actually want to lose is body fat. There’s a massive difference between the two. If you cut your arm off, you’d lose weight, but that probably isn’t going to get you any closer to your fitness goals.
Let’s be clear: unless you’re competing in a sport that requires you to do so, you don’t want to lose weight. What you want to lose is body fat. It’s all about body composition. It’s even possible to gain weight (as a result of muscle growth), despite losing body fat, and end up looking a million times better for it.
THE FITNESS MYTH: You need to eat exclusively healthy food to reach your goals
THE REALITY: You don’t have to turn into some kind of monk to have a great body and be healthy. If you’ve watched any of my YouTube videos, you’ll know I eat plenty of ‘crappy’ food. Any diet that says you can’t have pizza or chocolate is doomed to failure.
What’s more, it’s dangerous to label any food as ‘good’ or ‘bad’, or tell people it must be avoided at all cost. As well as being untrue, this is often a one-way ticket to an eating disorder. Obviously, you can’t eat crap all day and expect to build your dream body. But ultimately, it comes down to moderation.
THE FITNESS MYTH: Stop training if you’ve sustained any kind of injury until you’re fully recovered
THE REALITY: Stop using your injury as an excuse! Dial back the intensity of your workouts, but don’t give up. Now, obviously I’m not suggesting that anyone with acute and severe pain should be going to the gym. But with the exception of the most extreme injuries (think a broken leg), sitting at home with your feet up will invariably result in a slower and less complete recovery.
Numerous studies have shown that gentle exercise helps speed up healing. Plus, it can actually be helpful for improving balance, stability, and reducing the risk of re-injury.
THE FITNESS MYTH: Following a generic diet and training plan will transform your physique
THE REALITY: A one-size-fits-all programme which anyone can follow isn’t the most effective use of your time. If I have 100 different clients, they will follow 100 different plans. In terms of diet, even the concept of a ‘plan’ is flawed. It suggests something that will tide you over for eight weeks and then you can go back to your old life.
My book, on the other hand, gives you the knowledge and skills to empower yourself to make permanent changes in your life. By understanding the concepts of energy balance and basic physiology – how your body reacts to exercise – you won’t need to constantly be looking to a plan for guidance.
THE FITNESS MYTH: Keep an eye on your BMI
THE REALITY: BMI (body mass index) is a waste of time. In case you’re unaware of how your BMI is calculated, it’s literally your weight divided by your height squared. The only parameters considered are your weight and height. That’s it.
As a result of that, my own BMI is currently hovering around the ‘overweight/obese’ zone. In contrast, someone carrying a dangerous amount of visceral fat and with a very low bone density but who has never exercised in their life could slot nicely into the ‘healthy’ zone. A far more relevant gauge is an individual’s level of body fat (your body fat percentage).
Matt’s book, The 24/7 Body, is out in paperback. Get your copy at amazon.co.uk