When it comes to health and exercise, the amount of information available can be overwhelming, and it can be challenging to know where to look and who to listen to. However, it’s important to note that not all of this information is correct and can end up doing more harm than good.
Here are the top 7 fitness myths busted – to help you get your facts straight
Exercising cancels out bad habits.
Many people believe that as long as you are active enough, it doesn’t matter what you eat or drink, because ultimately the exercise will balance it out – getting rid of any of the bad, saturated fat along the way. Unfortunately, the complex and simple truth is that you can’t out-exercise a bad and unhealthy diet. As the famed saying goes, abs are made in the kitchen, not the gym floor, which is valid for the entire body. About 80% of what your body looks like is based on your current diet.
Many try to play the calorie game and match what they consume with long workout sessions, believing it will equal out. However, most people overestimate how long it takes to burn just one item of unhealthy food, let alone an entire meal or day of unhealthy eating. Having a balance is key here, and taking the time to figure out what amount of calories is right for you about how active you are.
2. Lifting_weights_will_make women look bulky.
One of the biggest misconceptions women have when it comes to lifting weights is the belief that it will result in bulky like the men they see in the weight section of the gym that look like they are on Canadian Anabolic Steroids. False, false, and false again! It is a well-known fact that women and men are built differently, and actually, it is very challenging for women to build muscle.
This is because men have much higher testosterone levels, which drive and is crucial to muscle growth, making it much harder to produce the same amount of muscle. Far from making you look like the hulk, resistance training improves health, assists in fat loss, reduces the risk of osteoporosis, and boosts metabolism. Plus, professional Bodybuilding is considered a sport although it is not recognized by the Olympics.
3. You can reduce and target fat in specific areas of the body.
Spot reduction is one of the biggest misconceptions around and, simply put – doesn’t work. When you exercise, while you can target specific muscles, if you want to lose weight in a particular location, the only way to do that is by losing weight all over your body. While scientists have already disproved this myth, it still circulates, with many believing that 100 sit-ups a day are the key to losing stomach fat.
That’s why it is vital to snip this one in the bud to avoid any future disappointment and help you to reach your fitness goals faster. What is the quickest and most effective way to lose fat, you ask? Regular and frequent cardiovascular exercises such as running, jump rope, or swimming is excellent fat burners. And when combined with a healthy, balanced diet, they will help you to create a calorie deficit that will trim down your overall body fat.
4. If I want to burn fat, I can ONLY do cardio.
While there is no doubt that cardio is a great way to achieve effective overall body fat loss, resistance training is just as helpful when it comes to shedding unwanted body fat and isn’t just for building muscles. Lifting weights, for example, elevates the number of calories you need to maintain normal bodily functions at rest – or your BMR (Basal Metabolic Rate). This results in more fat being burned even when you are not exercising or being active, and the growth in muscle mass increases the number of calories burned when resting. Therefore, while cardio workouts burn more calories than a resistance workout, a weight-training session will elevate your metabolism for longer, resulting in weight loss and improved body composition.
5. It’s best to work out first thing in the morning.
The truth is that exercising at any time of the day is good for you and is better than not exercising and being active. Exercise will boost your metabolism, but the optimal time for doing this depends on you, your daily routine, and when your body is best primed for activity. Everyone is different, and scheduling a workout when you feel your most energized and not in a rush will make it far more enjoyable.
It will also give you better results than if you force yourself to wake up at 5 am to squeeze in a rushed and sloppy 30 minute run before work. While some research suggests that exercising first thing in the morning helps the body burn more fat throughout the day, helping to speed up the weight loss process, being consistent and making physical activity a daily habit is far more important.
6. You should always stretch before exercising.
Stretching before and after a workout has been drummed in us ever since we were little, and we took part in physical education at school. However, the long-ingrained belief that stretching prevents injury by elongating the muscles isn’t correct and can even weaken the power by up to 30%. The reduction of tension as a result of stretching pre-exercising can also increase the risk of injury. Save the static stretches after your workout and warm up your muscles by doing a little light cardio such as walking or even lifting some light weights to ignite and fire up those muscles instead.
7. You need to consume supplements and protein shakes.
Looking at various fitness channels on social media platforms will leave you believing that you need to go out and purchase multiple protein supplements to take as soon as you have finished a workout if you want to see any gains. The truth? They aren’t necessary, and you can get the same benefits and nutrients from natural and less expensive food sources such as turkey, eggs, peanut butter, and even milk chocolate! Many protein and supplement companies are just trying to make money, so don’t let impressive marketing fool you.
Many of these fitness myths have been ingrained in fitness culture since we were young, leading us to believe that they are true without us questioning them – and there are many more out there.