Fitness Myths that Simply are or Aren’t True
If you’ve ever searched the Internet or asked a group of your friends about fitness, chances are you’ll hear several different ideas of what fitness is and what it encompasses. Today, I’d like to share a few myths that I have researched and found either true, or totally off base.
Myth #1 - You can spot reduce. It is a common thought that if we want a smaller waist, we must spend our time in the gym doing crunches and sit ups to see any results. This is completely false; the body does not know of nor choose one place to burn fat. Rather, our bodies will burn fat in all areas through time. With that said, it is important to strength train the entire body (legs, back, core, etc.) with the intentions of building muscle. By doing so, you’ll find yourself getting stronger AND losing fat all over - a double whammy in my book.
Myth #2 -You must spend your time at the gym on the cardio machines to burn fat. This misconception is what I feel leads to the several women you see on treadmills and ellipticals for hours. Yes, hours! While I do believe that cardio is a great tool to help build up a healthy heart and burn fat, it’s short bursts of high intensity interval training incorporated with strength training that will give you the most bang for your buck.
Myth #3 - Lifting will make you bulky. This myth ties in with the one above; we need strength training to burn fat and accomplish several other fitness goals! Lifting will not make you bulky. In fact, it may even make you slimmer! By lifting, we are creating tiny tears in our muscles. As our muscles repair themselves, they are becoming stronger. Stronger muscles burn more fat at rest. In addition, lifting will help strengthen your bones, improve your posture, reduce back pain, and reduce your overall chance of injury.
True Myth #1 - Even a few minutes of exercise is beneficial. Have you ever heard the saying, “something is better than nothing”? This is so true when it comes to exercise. Do you have 30 minutes? 20? Only 15? Plan ahead, get moving, and your body will thank you for it later. You do not have to spend hours in the gym to see results. In fact by planning effective workouts, you can even see more results with a short amount of time spent in your workout clothes. This might look like a quick strength training circuit or HIIT routine - both will leave you sweaty and feeling accomplished after!
True Myth #2 - Exercise has many benefits outside of physical health. Sure, getting a solid strength training workout in has its physical benefits. Did you know it can also help your emotional health? Exercising releases endorphins that can better your mood, leaving you feeling happier and less stressed than beforehand.
True Myth #3 - Taking days off can improve your fitness. Bodies need rest to repair and prevent injury. Although it may sound counter-intuitive, a few rest days here and there will enable our bodies to repair the muscles that have been stressed from the week’s workouts, preventing injury. It also gives our immune systems a chance to recover. A burned out body is not prepared to fight the cold and flu season. Lastly, taking time off from the gym helps to keep us motivated and seeking better health and fitness.
With several resources and opinions out there, it’s hard to believe what is true and not true in the fitness world. I hope you’ve found these explanations helpful and now see what fitness myths simply are or aren’t true. Have more questions? Feel free to reach out to me, or register for the next FASTer Way to Fat Loss® round where we continue to debunk common myths!