• Hannah

Most Common Fitness Myths: DEBUNKED

You and I both know that there is a TON of misleading information circulating around in the fitness world. You have people telling you the only way to lose belly fat is to maintain a juice cleanse diet, while Pinterest claims you can get 6 pack abs in 3 days by doing this specific workout. Unfortunately, false claims like these will never stop surfacing, which is why I'm debunking these common fitness myths here today!

Myth: Crunches are the key to getting rid of stubborn belly fat.

  • This is a common misconception upon many individuals whether beginners or “fitness veterans”.

FACT: You can do crunches all day long to build muscle and strengthen your abs, but if your nutrition isn’t on point, those abs will never show through the layer of fat that’s lying on top of them.

  • It’s absolutely necessary to have a balance of a healthy diet and exercise in order to reduce body fat.

Myth: Always stretch before exercise.

  • Your PE teacher was WRONG.

FACT: There is a huge difference between warming up and stretching.

  • Warm-ups prior to exercise should be completed in order to lubricate the joints, elevate the heart rate, increase blood circulation, and prepare the muscles for the movements they will be doing during the workout. There is a huge difference between warming up and stretching.

  • Effective warm ups should consist of light cardio and dynamic exercises (jumping jacks, high knees, butt kicks, skipping, etc…) while stretching should be saved for the cool-down when muscles are warm.

  • Stretching helps to Improve flexibility and range of motion in the joints by preventing tightness.

  • Stretching on cold muscles can cause more harm than good – putting them at risk for injury.

Myth: No pain, no gain.

  • If this is your motto for the gym, you may be setting yourself up for a serious injury.

FACT: There is a difference between exercising to the point of pain and exercising to the point of fatigue or discomfort.

  • No exercise should be painful. If you’re exercising to the point of pain, you’ve likely got an injury or are completing the exercises incorrectly.

  • If you feel pain at any point in time, stop the exercise to avoid further injury.

Myth: Aerobic exercise boosts metabolism.

  • Individuals with more lean muscle mass will have a quicker metabolism than those without it.

FACT: Doing cardio will burn calories because you’re moving, your heart is pumping, and you’re using energy. However, cardio will not build muscle.

  • You build lean muscle by lifting weights.

  • The more muscle you have, the more energy (calories) your body will need to use throughout the day to maintain itself, therefore increasing your metabolism.

Myth: Lifting weights will make you bulky.

  • Ladies, this one is for you.

FACT: Women do not physically produce enough of the hormones (testosterone) that contributes to the “bulky” look that men achieve with weight lifting.

Lifting weights DOES:

–Help to build lean muscle while burning more fat (see above)

–Help to achieve the “toned” look that many women strive for.

Myth: The more you sweat, the better workout you’re getting.

  • If you go for a 3 mile run outside in the middle of July, you’re obviously going to sweat more than you would running 3 miles on a treadmill in a climate-controlled gym.

  • If you go to hot yoga, you'll sweat more than you do in a regular yoga class.

FACT: Just because you sweat more outside or in a hot room doesn’t mean your workout was better. It just means it was freaking hot. You ran 3 miles/did the yoga class either way.

Myth: More is better.

  • We’re talking about sets, reps, and weight here.

  • It’s important to understand your goals and why you’re choosing the weights, sets, and rep schemes that you’re doing.

FACT: In order to build strength, you need to challenge your muscles by choosing a weight that you can only do about 4-6 times with good form. The last couple reps should feel very difficult.

  • Just because you’re able to do 45 shoulder presses with 5lb dumbbells without stopping doesn’t mean you’re building strength. It means that your shoulders have a lot of muscular endurance!

  • And just because Carol over there is putting 150lb dumbbells over her head doesn’t mean that you should try that either.

Myth: You can target certain areas of the body to lose fat.

  • You cannot “spot treat” body fat like a stain on your brand new t-shirt.

FACT: Your body burns calories systemically during a workout, therefore – working larger muscle groups will yield the most calories burned and is more more effective for weight loss.

Myth: No days off yields the best results.

  • Our bodies are machines.

  • If you overwork a machine, the machine will eventually break down. You’ll have to order new parts and the machine will be out of commission for awhile before you can use it again.

  • Overworking your body will often lead to injury and burnout.

FACT: Muscles actually tear during exercise - specifically resistance training. They need to recover in order to rebuild and gain strength. If you’re constantly breaking down your muscle and not giving it sufficient time to repair itself, you’ll find yourself on a downhill spiral towards injury.

  • Listen to your body, know your limits, rest & recover to get the best results.

Don’t always believe what you hear! Learn the facts before you assume and make sure that any of your health and fitness questions are directed towards professionals that can provide you with the correct answers.

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