It’s no secret that exercise has a multitude of health benefits. But to be honest, we’re all prone to following incorrect advice — especially when it comes to physical fitness.
Physical training is a complicated subject, and as such, many mistruths persist as truths in the fitness community.
This article will debunk ten of the most common fitness myths you should be aware of. You should not take this as an attempt to diminish your efforts or knowledge in the gym, but rather to inform you so that you can put yourself on the road to success.
We want you to learn how to work out to get the most out of your efforts appropriately. Here are some fitness myths to stop believing in.
- 1 1.You can target specific areas of your body through spot reduction
- 2 2.You can only burn fat with cardio
- 3 3.You get bulky if you lift weights
- 4 4.You need to stretch before working out
- 5 5.Doing sit-ups will result in six-pack abs
- 6 6.You should only focus on compound exercises.
- 7 7.The secret to training is making it tough.
- 8 8.There is only one way to train.
- 9 9.It’s all about the calories
- 10 10.Anytime, anywhere, is the best time to work out
1.You can target specific areas of your body through spot reduction
The Reality: You can undoubtedly reduce overall body fat by exercising and eating right, but you cannot choose where you lose that fat. So often, people wonder, “How can I lose fat around my tummy?” or “How can I lose fat around my thighs?”.
How can this be done? Obviously, you can’t.
The idea that fat loss can be targeted or ‘spot reduced’ has been around for decades. The claim, however, has no scientific basis.
Losing fat isn’t as easy as it sounds. So what are your best options? The first step is to improve your lifestyle. If you’re already active and nutrition is in check, don’t make it your mission to try and prevent fat loss in certain areas.
Instead, work towards overall fat loss. This will result in a leaner physique across the board. You have to be patient and stop setting unattainable goals for yourself that can cause frustration when you don’t achieve them. Instead, focus on losing fat by reducing overall calories in your diet.
2.You can only burn fat with cardio
The Reality: Cardio as a fat loss tool is feasible, but it may not be the most effective. The effectiveness of strength training has been demonstrated in various ways to be greater than cardiovascular exercise in terms of burning body fat.
It doesn’t end there!
Furthermore, it provides a means to build lean muscle tissue and strengthen bones while also raising your metabolism, which will lead to fat loss.
In short, cardio can help you burn fat, but it’s not the only way.
3.You get bulky if you lift weights
The Reality: While this myth mostly affects women’s perceptions, it also affects men.
The truth is this: Lifting heavier weights is not always associated with bulkiness, especially among women. However, muscle building isn’t just limited to weight training. It also requires a lot of testosterone, a rigorous diet high in calories, and good genes.
Those who lift heavier weights with fewer repetitions often have a higher caloric expenditure. A result of this is typically a fat reduction and a subsequent increase in lean muscle mass.
4.You need to stretch before working out
The Reality: Stretching can be either static or dynamic. To perform static stretching, specific muscle fibers must be held in an isolated position for a prolonged period of time.
This results in a loosening of the body, which makes exercising difficult. On the other hand, dynamic stretching only requires short bursts of movement. By stretching in this way, you warm up your body’s temperature and prepare it for activity.
Performing static stretching before exercising is not recommended. This will only result in injury.
5.Doing sit-ups will result in six-pack abs
The Reality: Exercises such as sit-ups, crunches, and planks are good for toning the core. However, the abdominal muscles will never show if they’re covered by a layer of fat regardless of how many crunches you do!
Sit-ups alone won’t give you a six-pack. You must adhere to a strict diet, perform a structured exercise routine, and incorporate compound exercises that strengthen and build your core muscles for a six-pack. Isolated accessory exercises simply won’t cut it.
6.You should only focus on compound exercises.
The Reality: Don’t get us wrong, compound exercises are great, but they aren’t the end-all-be-all.You can make great gains by simply hitting the body from all angles with isolation exercises. Start with the big lifts to lay a solid foundation and then move on to include some smaller movements to work out the kinks.
7.The secret to training is making it tough.
The Reality: Training isn’t necessarily tough; it’s challenging and demanding. It may be tough to deal with, but this “toughness” is actually your resilience in the face of adversity. There is no need to make things harder than they need to be; this leads to injury and burnout.
The muscle ‘burn’ (i.e., lactic acid build-up) that results from muscle fatigue is actually a good thing. Lactic acid build-up shows that you’re challenging your muscles. But you don’t need to exercise to the point where you’re literally in pain. Instead, you should exercise until you feel ‘good’ — you know, when you’re breathing hard, your heart rate is up, and you feel challenged, but not completely exhausted.”
Aggressive training leads to overtraining, which results in decreased performance and increased injury. The best way to handle training is by having fun with it. Variety is the spice of life!
8.There is only one way to train.
The Reality: No one knows the law of the universe, but you don’t have to train in a certain way in order to get results.
There are so many variations of training methods. However, whatever method you choose, you must adhere to the basics regarding nutrition and rest.No matter how you train, you should recognize the importance of a comprehensive approach to health and fitness.
Don’t let yourself fall into a habit that leads to stagnation. In the end, there is no best way to train. Instead, keep seeking out new experiences and you’ll be surprised how much you learn.
9.It’s all about the calories
The Reality: It’s true that to lose fat, you need to expend more energy than you consume. But the real key to weight loss isn’t so much about counting calories as it is making smart choices about what you eat.
If you’re not getting enough protein in your diet, for example, you’re far less likely to build muscle and burn fat. Protein also helps regulate your blood sugar levels and stimulates your metabolism.
10.Anytime, anywhere, is the best time to work out
The Reality: There are times when working out is completely acceptable and appropriate. However, there are also times when this simply isn’t the best idea. Below we will list a few situations when you should or should not work out:
If you’re sick: We don’t recommend exercising while congested and ill. If your body is in any way weak due to sickness, then you will potentially harm your joints and muscles. If you have a fever or are sick, it’s best to take a few days off from working out. Your immune system may even get weaker during this time.
Right After having a meal: Digesting food requires blood flow to the digestive tract. So, when you exercise right after a meal (especially a big one), your body uses most of its blood flow to digest food and not for your workout. It’s a good idea to give yourself a two-hour window after eating before you exercise.
By now, you probably realize that fitness myths can be harmful! They set expectations that are often out of the realm of reality.
The bottom line is this: Fitness is about more than workouts and dieting. Instead, it’s about developing lifestyle habits in an effort to reach your maximum potential. Before you know it, those myths will be a thing of the past
Now go forth and be awesome!