There are lots of myths we believe to be true.

There’s the one about peeing on someone when they’re stung with a jellyfish (remember the Friends episode?!), how the Great Wall of China is the only human-made object visible from space and let’s not forget how going out with wet hair makes you sick.

It’s no surprise then, that there’s plenty of myths when it comes to women’s fitness. I’ve rounded up 4 most common ones, explored and then busted them for you!

1. Doing core exercises gets rid of your ‘mum tum’

If I had a pound for every time I get asked about this fitness myth then I’d not be sitting in my semi in Swinton but have bought my ex out of our old family home in Worsley!

I get why women think this is true. I remember a few months after having Thomas, my PT turned to me and said “Emma, doing core exercise is important after pregnancy but doing it will not give you a flat stomach”. Say what?!

It took several more years – including my PT and postnatal training – to come to terms with and truly understand what they meant.

‘Mum tum’ is a term I personally dislike, but am using as here as it’s one we all hear and have probably used.

It’s a natural consequence of our abdominal muscles stretching and in turn weakening to make more growing space during pregnancy. Add to this, women naturally gain weight which doesn’t miraculously disappear once the little one arrives. This potent mix of weakened muscles and additional body weight creates the infamous ‘mum tum’.

Which is why when you hear that doing x number of core exercises every day will blast that tum, is frankly not true. Sorry folks!

Yes, if they’re the right exercises they will strengthen your ab muscles; but they won’t specifically target and burn fat that we (naturally) have on our stomachs. Exercise unfortunately doesn’t work that way.

Did you note the word ‘natural’ above? Too often as women we are quick to criticise our post-baby bodies for how they look and feel; forgetting the sheer miracle of bringing children into the world.

Surely that’s cause for celebration not condemnation of our bodies for what they’ve done?

2. There’s one diet plan that’s the best

Hands up if you’ve tried and not stuck to a diet plan at some point. As a PT, I’ve only ever met 2 women who haven’t ever dieted – and I’m definitely not one of them!

It took me over 20 years of failed diets and a very dark period where my eating became so disordered that it led to therapy and medical intervention; to understand that there is no diet elixir.

I came to learn that rather than start with a diet plan, I had to start with myself. If I wanted a positive and healthy relationship with food, I had to explore what was important and would work for me.

Carbs are my true love (after Thomas and exercise!) so not eating them breaks my heart. Without eating regularly, I become the hangriest woman alive, so that rules out intermittent fasting. And as for banned foods, I feel outrage someone is telling me what I can and can’t eat!

Despite what any media hype says or whether my besties swear by it; any plan that doesn’t account for all these factors, will have zero chance of working with me.

Are you starting to see why there is no best diet plan and why it’s a fitness myth for women?

Because we are all unique and what’s important and will work for me, will be different for you, as it will be for your friend, and hers and so on.

3. The best exercise burns the most calories

Next up on our women’s fitness myths is linked to one of my biggest bugbears. Tracking exercise and its merits through calories!

If I look back, I’ve spent too much time choosing to do a particular exercise because it apparently burns more calories. HiiT and spin classes being top of the list!

Have you endured any classes due to this lure? If so, how long did you last doing it?!

I ask because this is SO important! My stint at HiiT lasted a few months, my soirée into spinning was even shorter.

Why? Because I was doing the exercise for the wrong reasons.

When we exercise to burn calories, it’s about taking from, rather than giving to ourselves. Exercise becomes almost a form of punishment on our bodies and this mindset brings little joy to the party.

However, when it’s something we like to do, regardless of how many calories it burns, it’s a game-changer! We nourish not punish our bodies and rather than reluctantly going a few times to a class, we find ourselves returning again and again and again.

4. You should exercise every day to get results

I know trying to fit exercise around work, kids and general life can feel exhausting before you’ve even done it. Let alone when you then hear you should be exercising every day – and let’s not forget about moving 10,000 steps on top of that.

Could you realistically do that?

I’m a PT, so exercise really should be my thing; yet I couldn’t achieve all that every single day. Importantly, nor would I want to.

My exercise is planned around running my MTW programmes, Thomas and the rest of my life – yes I’m still unpacking boxes from our last house move!

I don’t have enough time left over to dedicate to that much exercise and I’m pretty confident if you’re reading this blog, you’re also a busy woman who doesn’t either.

And that’s ok, because you don’t have to.

Exercising every day is not necessary to increase your fitness and wellbeing. In fact, it can do the opposite.

Without rest days (I mean from exercise – no working mum I know gets any from life), you’re not giving your body chance to recover. Those recovery days are really where the results happen as your muscles have time to repair, recharge and be fighting fit for your next workout.

Women’s fitness myths busted: what now?

In hearing those women’s fitness myths busted, how did it make you feel?

My aim in writing this blog was to ease any perceived pressure for you to be exercising all the time and give you confidence to do a type of exercise purely to enjoy it.

I also wanted to dispel any feelings of personal failure for plans you have tried and not sustained with your eating. And to stop us from feeling that our postnatal bodies can and should be changed through sit-ups.

Are you looking for support with your fitness?

Taking an honest and empowering approach to fitness is the foundation of how I coach women within the MTW community. If you would like explore a way to move your body that feels good, surrounded by a positive and inspiring group of women like you, I’d love you to join us.

Click here to hear to hear what other women say about me and my programmes.

Emma x