Common Fitness Misconceptions
- Exercise can erase my bad eating habits.
This one is pervasive and unfortunately a myth. You can’t out-exercise a crappy diet. Your eating has to be in check. About 80% of what you look like is based on diet. It’s a calorie game, and people often overestimate the amount of food they burn in an hour-long session. You have to sit down, do the math, and figure out your weight-loss goals.
- I can just tone my muscles.
More often than you can count, you hear people say, “I just want to tone.” But it’s the wrong way to look at it. You can only lose fat. Your muscles are already toned or you wouldn't be able to move around. They're just not visible because of the layer of fat covering them. First and foremost, fix your diet. Then lift weights at intense (about 85%) muscle capacity., and do cardio regularly.
- Women need different exercises than men.
Despite what the relationship books say, when it comes to fitness, men and women are from the same planet. Both sexes have the same body structure but different hormonal make-ups, which may mean a difference in muscle strength but does not mean they should work out any differently necessarily. Men typically tend to focus on abs, chest and arms, and women tend to focus on glutes and legs. They're each forgetting one half of their bodies.
- Women should lift lower weights and do higher repetitions than men.
This myth is particularly common because women worry that lifting weights will bulk them up. However, without chemical assistance, women cannot achieve extraordinary muscle growth. Because women’s testosterone is lower, they likely won't be able to lift as much weight as men, but the typical three-pound lady dumbbells won't work because the resistance is too low to create change in the muscle. It is recommend that most people perform six to eight repetitions with a weight that challenges them.
- You should always stretch before exercising.
Stretching is something many people just do because they feel they should or someone told them to. The conventional wisdom is that stretching elongates the muscle and helps prevent injury. Conversely, stretching before a workout will weaken the muscle by 30%, and the reduced tension may increase the risk of injury. Follow this advice: Do a dynamic warm-up and specific mobility drills before intense training, and perform the stretching after the workout.
- I can reduce fat in one area.
Sorry, but spot reduction does not work. It all comes down to that pesky layer of fat obscuring those perfectly toned muscles. No matter how many crunches they do, someone with 20% body fat will never have visible abs like someone with 8% body fat. To lose weight quickly, you’ll need to burn as much fuel as you can with intense exercises like squats, dips, pull downs, dead lifts and shoulder presses while following a strict diet.
- I’ll burn only fat at my target heart rate.
While cardio equipment often features graphs listing target heart rates for fat burning, the body is too complex for them to be accurate. The only time when you burn fats exclusively is when you are asleep, and then it’s not all that much considering that, well, you're sleeping. Interval training, a mix of low and high intensity, will produce the best results.
- I’ll burn more fat on an empty stomach.
While this statement might technically be true—in the morning the body is deprived of nutrients so will tap fat stores–but it's the wrong approach. Working out on an empty stomach burns more muscle, which defeats the purpose of any fat-loss diet. It is also believed that working out in a fasting state is suboptimal, since the lack of nutrients will not allow for peak performance.
- Shakes are great for weight loss.
Nope, this won’t work. Most are a mix of cheap protein, vitamins, sugar and coloring agents. It’s not that they’re inherently bad for you, but that they won’t keep you full. Whole foods have more fiber and take up more stomach volume, which keeps you feeling satisfied. They also require more digestive work, so use more energy and keep the metabolism up. But if you just have to drink them, it is suggested to look for high-end whey protein and adding some fats like nuts or oil to increase satiety.
- Eat only egg whites and not the yolks.
Egg yolks have long had a bum rap, supposedly being terrible for your cholesterol. However, eggs won't affect your cholesterol balance unless they're fried in butter and served with bacon. In fact, one study by the University of Connecticut found that the fat in the yolks helped to reduce LDL, or the bad cholesterol. The yolk contains most of the vitamins and minerals in the egg, plus half the protein. Since an egg white-only breakfast is nearly fat free, it will cause a significant insulin spike and promote hunger cravings as well as energy swings later in the day.
- Cardio burns the most calories.
While cardio burns more calories than resistance training during your workout, lifting weights torches more fat overall. In a study published in The Journal of Strength and Conditioning Research, women who completed an hour-long strength-training workout burned an average of 100 more calories in the 24 hours afterward than those who skipped the weights. The more muscle owned, the more fat burned. If you want to burn more fat overall - and keep burning it long after your workout is over - a combination of weight training and cardio is the way to go.
- Overweight People Are Unlikely to Benefit Much From Exercise.
Studies show that obese people who participate in regular exercise programs have a lower risk of all-cause mortality than sedentary individuals, regardless of weight. Both men and women of all sizes and fitness levels can improve their health with modest increases in activity.
- No pain, no gain.
Pain happens to be the body's signal that something is amiss. Stop the activity because serious injury may occur to the body [art in pain.
- Drinking water during exercise gives you cramps.
According to doctors, you should drink water before, during, and after exercise to prevent dehydration and overheating.