Myth 1: Fitness models are immune from eating disorders such as bulimia, anorexia and binge-eating.
Reality: Many in fact do suffer and some have been open about the pressures of maintaining a certain level of leanness required from the profession. Check out American Fitness Influencer Stephanie Buttermore’s video on going “all in” after struggling with finding balance, it will help anybody recovering from ED’s in knowing that their bodies can adapt to a healthier weight despite the damage done by over-exercising/excessive dieting.
For those who do not know her, Stephanie Buttermore is a fitness Youtuber with 830.000 subscribers, she uses her platform to share her food-related struggles and how she is seeking balance, just like anybody else, in her life. She is transparent about how the fitness industry may have led to a lot of the pressure that she faced to diet so excessively and this is important for young people to be aware of.
Lesson: Exercise as an act of self-love. Eating disorders are a mental affliction, and while there is nothing inherently shameful about eating disorders, they can clearly affect anyone regardless of profession, intelligence or ethnicity. My take-away from following up on Stephanie Buttermore’s story, for instance, is that self-love and acceptance is part of the fitness journey. Never compare yourself to anyone else as nobody is perfect. Only focus on moving forward to become your best self.
Myth 2: You cannot overdo exercise, more is better than nothing.
Reality: You can over do it and no, sometimes it can be counter-intuitive to your health and mental health. There is a proven rep scheme for efficiency and that is 10-20 sets per workout. You can deviate from this by a bit depending on your body and its fitness but 40 sets in a workout for instance is excessive.
Lesson: Learn to work hard within the 10-20 sets per workout rep range and focus on quality gains versus quantity. Engage that mind-muscle connection and you will find good recovery particularly because you are not doing excessive volume.
Myth 3: Exercise classes like Zumba can give you a body like Michelle Lewin’s body.
Reality: No, Zumba cannot give you that Michelle Lewin-type of aesthetic as Michelle Lewin primarily utilizes progressive overload, eats a high-protein diet, may use a small dose of enhancers and has been strength-training for over a decade.
Lesson: Ditch the class if it is her body that you want to emulate. Regardless of whether she does use enhancers, the muscle tone that she has achieved can only be attained through strength training, with your muscles being under pressure at a high intensity for a certain amount of time 3-5 times a week.
Myth 4: Heavy weights can contribute to a manly looking physique on a female.
Reality: No, it is not the heavy weights fault that a female bodybuilder looks manly, it is because she has chosen to emulate that aesthetic, check out my previous article on fitness models vs competitive bodybuilders to understand how you can train to look however you please, there is no one body type in the fitness industry.
Heavy weights will never outwork your genetics in terms of aesthetics. I do promise that if you engage your mind-muscle connection during sets, utilise progressive overload when strength training 3-5 times a week and clean up your diet, you will look your best.
Lesson: Do not mistaken what seems to make sense for what is the truth in fitness. Bodybuilders, the very big ones, are definitely using enhancers. Enhancers by design are meant to create a very large, thick, veiny and squarish shape, that is why the men who want to look very big and the women who are competing as “bodybuilders” use them (the female bodybuilding category that has now been removed from fitness competitions) .
The reason they removed the bodybuilding category is probably because women never want to look like them, I know I would not want to lose my feminine shape so why would I even concern myself with their physiques? Additionally, by having women on high-doses of steroids like they do in those shows, is depicts an unhealthy reality of the fitness world with no female-aesthetic value,in my opinion.
Knowledge is power, if you want a physique that is impressive, do not train less than your potential thinking that your potential is the female bodybuilder. She is never going to be your natural potential primarily because she is using steroids, she is training herself to get “very large in size” and she once was represented in fitness competitions so she could get rewards from looking that muscular.