Work out every day, lifting weights makes you bulky: Fitness expert busts exercise and diet myths

anjuli mack fitness
Anjuli Mack joined Nats Levi to seperate fact from fiction. Photo credit: Instagram/Getty Images.

If you've ever begun a fitness, wellness or weight loss journey, you'll know there are a lot of myths and diet 'rules' circulating out there and it can be tough to tell fact from fiction. 

Body transformation coach and fitness expert Anjuli Mack joined the latest episode of Newshub podcast Fierce Fitness to bust some of the ever-prevalent fitness myths she's come across in her time as a trainer. 

Is it true that you need to cut out carbs to lose weight? Does only fasted cardio work? If I lift heavy weights, will I put on too much bulk? Listeners sent in their pressing health and fitness questions, which host Nats Levi put to Mack to give her expert opinion.

To hear more from Mack, listen to the full episode. 

Fiction: I just want to tone my muscles, if I start lifting heavy weights I'll get bulky 

"Everyone always says I want to look toned, I want to get strong, but I don't want to get too bulky. I can tell you from eight years of weight training, I wish it was that easy! But I can tell you as women especially, it takes more than just going to the gym a few times a week to get to an elite level of muscle," said Mack.

"When people say 'I want to get toned' they really mean, 'I want to build muscle', which is then going to give you that shape. But they also need to reduce the fat that's covering the muscle, and what people do is start working out but don't look into their nutrition. 

"So they might think they're looking 'bulkier', but really the reason for this is they are eating too many calories for their goals and then they're gaining more fat, which is covering the muscle they're building. That's opposed to someone going to the gym weight training aligning nutrition to their goals and then getting leaner. 

"For anyone wanting to look toned the key is going to be weight training, and it's not going to be super high rep - anything from the eight to 20 rep range is great."

Fiction: I need to work out every day to see results

"Sometimes more is not necessarily better. When it comes to working out, the common thing I see with women, in particular, is them going 'OK, I'm going to do fasted cardio every morning' and 'I'm going to go to the gym and do weights every afternoon'," said Mack.

"And this is the template and of course, they're going slash their calories down. Within about two weeks they've usually already given up or they're completely burnt out, because who can keep up with that? 

"In terms of working out every day - I don't believe in strenuous workouts every day but I do believe in moving your body every day, and that's where the step come in. For me personally, I'll do five weights sessions a week and then I'll make sure I hit my steps seven days a week. 

"For the general population, four to five days a week in the gym is great, or even add in-home workouts. And they shouldn't be strenuous every time - if you're having a very stressful week you don't want to be having a super high-intensity workout every single day. 

"Be aware of what your goals are, what you need to do to achieve them, and space it across the week so that you have time to rest. When we rest, that's when our body recovers."

Fiction: Exercise can erase bad eating habits 

"A one-hour workout is four percent of your day. So what are you doing for the remaining 96 percent of the day?" asked Mack.

"A lot of people are commuting to work, sitting at a desk all day, they're not moving significant amounts, then commuting home, sitting on the couch watching Netflix. That is a significant amount of time sitting down. And of course, the rest you're sleeping. So you have a significant amount of time not moving much at all unless of course you have an active job. So what are you doing in the remaining time? Then you have to consider the calories you're burning in that time, versus the calories you're consuming and the lifestyle that you live. 

"It's just not possible for you to be out exercising your diet. The most effective thing for fat loss is to get your nutrition on point and in line with your goals. To put it simply, if I ran on the treadmill and you stood next to me eating pizza, who's going to eat/burn more calories?"