With so much information out there about health and wellness, everyone (including myself) thinks they are an expert, it can be confusing and even down right frustrating to know what is good quality information. You read an article stating a diet which includes meat has no effect on your cholesterol levels, then you read one the next minute supporting the opposite- both articles site sources and research which backs their claim, perfectly too. So let me share a little secret- most people don’t know what they are talking about when it comes to health and wellness and more importantly- what’s popular, is usually the worst type of information out there. Writers and researchers have a hard time dropping their own agendas and forget that we are all unique and what works for them, doesn’t necessarily work for others. Plain and simple, different people thrive on different types of diets, supplements and workouts. At the end of the day you really need to find out what works for you, follow information from a select few trusted sources, be willing to adapt and then go from there.

So in hopes of removing some myths around wellness, I’ve made this list, which (of course) is biased by my own point of views and agendas.

1) What’s popular is wrong
Popular information (or information generally accepted by the public) is a bunch of crap. If it’s popular, you can bet it’s popular because big business and or government have told us so. Take the milk industry for example; we’ve been told that milk is essential to our diets (after infancy) and that it makes our bones strong. Both claims are false. Studies show that drinking milk creates acidosis which actually weakens our bones. Secondly, if milk was actually essential to our diets, mankind as we know it would not have survived for millennia without it. Cavemen and even our recent ancestors (before domestication of food) were not able to milk wild animals. Don’t believe me, go try to milk a wild animal and leave a comment below letting me know how it went. If popular information was correct, then 2/3 of the U.S. population wouldn’t be overweight or obese, period. Next time you read something endorsed by a company, governmental agency or celebrity, just do the opposite of what they are saying when it comes to your diet and exercise habits.

2) Stop trying to lose weight
If you are trying to lose weight, stop, right now. Your body weight tells you nothing about your health, your body composition (proportion of fat and fat-free mass in your body) tells you way more. For example, I weigh 215 pounds. Now unless you know that I am 6’6’’ and a male you know nothing about my body shape. At 215 pounds I’m actually slightly underweight for my build, while a 5’6’’ male at the same weight could be considered obese (again depending on his body composition). Focus on decreasing your body fat percentage and increasing your lean muscle percentage. Shed 10 pounds of fat this year and add an additional 5 pounds of muscle and you’ll have yourself a whole new body- even though you’ve only “lost 5 pounds.”

3) Forget about cardio
It’s a waste of your time and isn’t giving you the results you think it is. Cardio refers to exercising so the heart rate is at 60-85% of it’s max for an extended period of time. Next time you are at the gym, look at the bodies of people on cardio machines versus those lifting weights- the ones lifting weights almost always have better composition and spend less time working out. Why? There’s many reasons, one is that cardio is inefficient. It simply does not burn calories and fat stores like lifting weights does or HIIT. Cardio actually starts to breakdown your muscles over extended periods of time, decreasing your body composition and creating the all illusive “skinny-fat” body in return

4) Your diet is not healthy
The average American consumes 150lbs. of sugar per year, most don’t eat the daily recommended 3-5 servings of fruit and vegetables and over 50% of our calories come from processed foods (over 10% comes from fast food and 10% from alcohol for drinkers). Any arguments left that your diet is still healthy? I’m not going to spend time on this article breaking down nutrition rules, but will say this; if it comes in a package don’t eat it, don’t drink calories, shop on the outside isles of the grocery store only and eat your veggies. This will improve your health more than any product or fad ever will.

5) A calorie is not a calorie
The next time someone tells you that it’s all about “calories in and calories out” please site number one of this article. The calories in an apple are not the same as the calories in an ice-cream cone, they effect your body differently, plain and simple. The same goes for exercise, different types of exercises have different effects on your system and body composition. Change your mental frame work around food and exercise to look at quality not quantity. It’s not about how much you eat, it’s about how you eat. It’s not about how much you exercise, it’s about how you exercise. The same goes for your thoughts, dreams and goals by the way.

Bonus tip: Yoga is not just for women
Real men do yoga, especially real healthy men. Ladies, get your man to class. Guys, I know it hurts, but it’s worth it- physically, mentally, and yes even emotionally.

If you remember one this from this article, just remember to forget about these 5 wellness myths. Listen to yourself, listen to your body, move daily, eat natural food and find out for yourself if something works or not.