People either believe that attaining fitness is a difficult or easy task, depending on the myths that they have been buying into. Many people seek advice from their friends or the Internet, but they don’t do their own research to determine the validity of these “fitness facts.” This is why it’s essential to be certain of what is true and what isn’t. If people believe everything they hear about losing weight or gaining muscle, their beliefs might actually do more harm than good. Here are 7 myths about fitness:
Fitness Myth #1: Crunches are the best way to build your abdominal muscles
Crunches may be the most well known exercise for your abdominals, but they are definitely not the most effective. According to Wayne Westcott, professor of exercise, crunches don’t burn as many calories as one would think; and, this means that they don’t lead to very much fat loss. Abdominal exercises that work your core more effectively are planks or bridges, for example.
Fitness Myth #2: If you sweat more, you will burn more calories
Many people think that if your workout causes you to produce more sweat, it is making you burn more calories. People buying into this myth choose to wear a heavy sweatshirt while on their outdoor run. However, wearing more clothes to increase sweat will not actually lead to greater weight loss. In reality, sweat is the body’s natural response to cool you down. Sweating does not have anything to do with burning calories. Therefore, when you wear heavier clothes or increase the temperature of the room, your body is just working harder to decrease your temperature.
Fitness Myth #3: Running is harmful for your knees
An extremely prevalent myth is that running is bad for your knees. While it is true that running is not going to strengthen your knees, a Stanford University study has shown that runners’ knees are no more damaged than those of people who do not run. However, it is recommended that you do strength training a few times a week to strengthen the muscles around the knees, giving them better support.
Fitness Myth #4: Stretching helps your muscles recover
A study at the University of Milan has shown that stretching after a workout does not change blood lactate levels. Blood lactate levels are an indicator of how fatigued your muscles are. Many people believe that stretching after exercising will decrease blood lactate levels, assuming that post-exercise stretches mitigate fatigue. Despite this myth, stretching does improve flexibility in joints, which may be advantageous to your workouts.
Fitness Myth #5: You have to exercise for a long time in order for it to have any benefit
This is far from being true. Even if you only have 15 minutes to devote to exercising, it is worth the time. You will still be improving your health, and your muscles will be strengthened. Although a short workout is better than no work out, it is still recommended that you exercise for longer periods of time throughout the week when possible.
Fitness Myth #6: You will get stronger if you do not skip gym days
Rest days are equally as important as gym days. According to celebrity trainer Ashley Borden, “Your body needs to recover, especially after a tough session.” Keeping this in mind, your muscles will be able to rest after being overworked at the gym. Ignoring your body’s cues for rest could lead to injury, which will prevent your body from improving in the long run.
Fitness Myth #7: Spot-reducing specific areas of your body is possible
Many people think that in order to firm your thighs or tone your abs you only need to do exercises for those specific muscle areas. In reality, spot-reduction is not possible. Exercising leads to overall body fat loss, but you cannot decide which body parts the fat loss occurs.
Now that you know some commonly regarded fitness myths, here are 7 fitness tips to increase performance:
Fitness Tip #1: Try shorter intervals of cardio rather than long intervals
Many people think that doing cardiovascular exercise for an hour at a time will achieve the greatest amount of weight loss. However, recent studies have shown that short intervals of high-intensity exercises burn fat more quickly.
Fitness Tip #2: Try switching up your exercise routines
The human body is really great at adapting when subjected to the same exercises over and over again. That is why it’s important to create variation in your exercise routine. Your muscles will experience more challenge, allowing them to build more strength over time.
Fitness Tip #3: Set small goals to keep you motivated along the way
Attaining fitness is not a simple journey. That is why it’s important to keep smaller, attainable goals in mind instead of focusing on the end result. Telling yourself that you will increase your run by half a mile every week is much more plausible than telling yourself you will run a mile more every single day. Reaching these smaller goals will motivate you along the way, and it will keep you proud of your accomplishments.
Fitness Tip #4: Eat a well-balanced diet throughout your fitness journey
It is essential to keep your body well nourished and energized. Eating healthy foods from all the food groups will help you accomplish your fitness goals.
Fitness Tip #5: Keep track of your progress
A great way to keep your progress in check is to take pictures to show how your body is changing. Take a before picture to look back at and see how you are working toward your fitness goal.
Fitness Tip #6: Drink plenty of water throughout the day
When you are dehydrated, your bodily functions are slowed. Therefore, your metabolism might not be as efficient, and this prevents you from burning calories as quickly. It’s important to drink plenty of water throughout the day so you can effectively burn calories during your workouts.
Fitness Tip #7: Don’t skip meals
It is important to keep your body energized throughout the day. Skipping important meals, like breakfast, does nothing for your body except diminish energy storage. It is important to be fueled before your workouts so that your body can work efficiently.
Although attaining fitness is a difficult task, keeping these tips in mind can help the process along. It is important to listen to your body and not push yourself too hard, especially in the beginning. Improvements will come in time, as long as you are challenging your muscles in moderation.