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By Zue Wei Leong
July 30, 2021
Benjamin Price—better known as Coach Benny—sits down with Tatler to debunk the most common fitness myths and share the biggest mistakes that people make when working out at home
Coach Benny is a certified personal trainer and martial arts coach with more than a decade in the fitness industry. He also happens to be the CEO and founder of Joompa, a fit-tech app launched in 2017 with a mission to make fitness in Malaysia more accessible by connecting people to personal trainers. Currently, Joompa offers online coaching sessions, personalised to the needs and goals of each client.
He reveals, in his own words, the myths about home fitness that may be stopping you from achieving an effective and sustainable workout routine that gives you the results you want.
See also: Julie Woon Finds Her ‘Fit’ During The Covid-19 Pandemic
Myth #1: Weight loss is all about cardio
Firstly, a more accurate and helpful term to use is ‘fat loss’ because if you’re referring only to weight, you cannot be sure if you’re losing fat or muscle tissue.
And when it comes to fat loss, the hard reality is that exercise is generally quite overrated.
There are so many potential factors that can affect an individual’s ability to lose fat through intense cardio and exercise, such as joint strength and hormones. If you take out these factors out of the equation, the hard reality is that it comes down to your diet.
See also: 4 Full Body Exercises You Can Do At Home By Pilates Instructor Siu Lim
Myth #2: Strict eating plans are essential
Eating plans are definitely a good starting point but as coaches, we generally steer clear of eating plans because it’s not sustainable in the long term. People can become too dependent on them and get easily lost. For example, if they go on holiday, their eating plan goes out the window.
Instead, we try to teach people about the basics in nutrition so they can judge their meals and start the process of clean and healthy eating for themselves.
Related: 6 Habits Supported By Science For Better Health
Myth #3: The gym is the only place for gains
My answer to this question comes in two parts: equipment and motivation.
A massive part of exercise mechanics is how to make something small weigh as much as possible. People don’t realise that there are so many variations when it comes to joint position and intention, to make their resistance bands or 10kg dumbbells so much more challenging and effective.
If we really do need bigger weights for our clients, we often adapt with things we can find in their home. I would say it’s definitely been fun scanning different rooms in their house through the phone screen and trying to figure out how much things weigh!
In terms of motivation, I honestly understand and relate completely. For a lot of people, the gym is their designated game zone. It’s difficult to exercise in your living room where you work, eat and hang out. The way to overcome this is to keep company, whether it is your friends or a coach. You tend to push yourself a little harder when you know someone’s watching you.
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Myth #4: It’s about looking good
I got into fitness through sport. I grew up with Muay Thai and rugby. When I was at university in the UK, I became a geek for kickboxing, so I’ve always had a sports mentality. My goal was always to improve my performance rather than to look a certain way.
However, I understand that a lot of people become interested in fitness for aesthetic reasons. As a coach, I try to move my clients beyond this aesthetic-driven, self-deprecating mindset because it’s not necessarily productive.
Essentially, it is another form of stress, which can affect eating habits and body composition—causing them to spiral further. Rather than fixate on what you did or didn’t do, it’s much nicer to be congratulated on what you achieved and how you improved this week.
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Myth #5: Bigger is better
When it comes to unsupervised home training, one of the biggest mistakes someone can make is by overcomplicating their workout routine, especially if they are inexperienced.
Focus on mastering the basics, such as squats, push-ups and rows, because being good at these movements can make workouts much more effective.
And don’t go too extreme with it. It’s not enjoyable and there’s no point cutting all that fat in such a short time only to put it back on again.
See also: 5 Good Reasons To Practise Yoga
Myth #6: All fitness content are created equal
Social media is a creativity platform that values novelty and popularity, which is why fitness enthusiasts and influencers are able to grow a huge following by posting half-naked photos and videos of their insanely impressive workouts. And there’s nothing wrong with following them as inspiration or motivation.
However, one of the most poisonous aspects of the fitness industry today is that they have become regarded as a source of education. Can you imagine judging the expertise of a doctor or lawyer based on how they look or the number of followers they have? It is the weirdest metric that is exclusive to the fitness world.
People need to differentiate between education and entertainment!
Don’t get me wrong, social media can be useful and there are a lot of people putting out good stuff on the internet. But it is easy to fall for the illusion that you can learn everything about nutrition and exercise mechanics from a 15-second Instagram reel.
There are many people on social media propagating fitness myths and building a culture around easy solutions and quick wins. They’re selling you a dream that you can achieve too—if you just click on the link in bio! That is why it is so important to be discerning about the content that you are consuming.
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