Just as there are dieting myths that won’t die, there are fitness myths that seem to have a life of their own. When you read one thing, hear another from a good friend and see something else on TV, what should you believe? We’ve done the research for you, from trusted sources and can debunk a few fitness myths for you. Pass it along!
In no particular order here are our fitness myths debunked.
- Exercise Can Erase A Bad Diet: Sad to say but most of the way that you look is based on what you eat. Eat better and you’ll look better.
- You Just Need To Tone: Not true. Your muscle tone could actually be hiding underneath your fat. Lose the fat to make the muscles visible.
- Men And Women Need To Exercise Differently: We have the same body structures, and slightly different hormones. That’s not enough to warrant a different workout.
- Women Should Do Low Weights, High Reps: If you’re doing many reps with a 3 pound weight, you probably won’t see any results. You should challenge your muscles.
- Always Stretch Before Exercising: It depends. In some cases stretching before a workout weakens the muscles and may increase the risk of injury. The best advice seems to be warming up beforehand, and stretching afterwards.
- You Can Spot Reduce Fat: Sorry! No matter how many crunches you do, if you have a high body fat percentage you won’t have a chiseled six-pack.
- You’ll Burn Only Fat At Your Target Heart Rate: Actually you burn 100% fat only when you’re sleeping. The best advice seems to be mixing high and low intensity cardio for higher fat burning.
- You’ll Burn More Fat On An Empty Stomach: Don’t do it. You’ll also be stripping down muscle in addition to fat.
- Shakes Are Great For Weight Loss: They may have protein but they lack fiber and may not fill you up. Stick with whole foods.
- Eat Only The Egg Whites: Egg yolks have gotten a bad break. (Get it?) Go ahead and eat them for the vitamins, protein and a full feeling.
- Heated Workouts Help You Burn More Calories: Actually, you burn more calories when you work harder. So do that. Sweating during your workout may help you drop weight in the short term, but as soon as you hydrate that water weight will return.
- Lift Light Weights To Tone Up: See above. Light weights with many reps simply won’t do as much as weights which are challenging. A challenging weight is one which is hard to lift after 8-15 reps.
- Bicycling Builds Up Your Thighs: Cycling is cardiovascular, not muscle-building. Thigh muscles come from squats or other similar exercises. If you want more quads you would need to add resistance to the bike to generate fatigue after 6-8 revolutions.
- Pilates And Yoga Creates Long, Lean Muscles: You may feel longer and taller, but your muscles can’t actually lengthen. They are what they are.
- The “Fat-Burning” Zone Is The Best For Weight Loss: The only way to really burn more calories overall is to exercise harder and mix high-intensity cardio with strength training and low-intensity cardio.
- Swimming Is A Great Weight Loss Activity: Swimming is great for increasing lung capacity, toning muscles and burning off excess tension, but it may not help you lose much weight. The buoyancy of the water supports your body, so you’re not working as hard as if you were running.
- Machines Are Safe Because You’re Doing It Right Every Time: Not necessarily true. The machines must be properly adjusted for your height and weight and form is still important.
MYTHS THAT AREN’T MYTHS
- Running On A Treadmill Is The Same As Running On Asphalt Or Pavement. True! They both impact the knees. The best way to protect your knees is to vary your workout and make sure your quads are strong.
- Cardio Boosts Your Metabolism For Hours After You Stop Working Out. True! It might only be for about 20 extra calories, but it does work.