There are tons of myths and common misconceptions about exercise out there that can steer you in the wrong direction. The aim of this article is to help clear things up once and for all. So read on and spread the word to help stop the rumors!
Myth # 1: Only intense exercise burns fat
FACT: Many people think if they’re not exercising intensely, they’re not having a quality workout or burning any fat. This is a huge myth; we don’t have to sprint fast and/or train insanely to achieve results. All sorts of physical activity burn fat, even window shopping or walking up the stairs. Now this doesn’t mean you don’t need to workout at all; exercising at least three times a week increases your level of fitness. The point here is to stay active whichever way you choose. As long as you burn more calories than you consume, you will burn fat and lose weight.
Myth # 2: Cardio exercise is better than weightlifting to lose weight
FACT: Most people think that if they’re trying to lose weight, lifting weights is a waste of time and it’s better to focus on aerobic exercise. Now, it is true that you burn more calories and fat when you perform aerobic exercise, but as soon as your workout stops, your fat burning process stops. On the other hand, weight training will allow you to gain muscle mass which boosts your metabolism; this will help you to keep on losing fat long after the workout is over.
Myth # 3: To gain muscle, you must train every day
FACT: When you train the same muscle group every single day, you end up with muscle exhaustion. And if you concentrate your workout on always training the same muscle group, they won’t grow; on the contrary, it only drives you further away from your goal. If you MUST hit the gym every day, train different parts of your body regularly. In addition, for those of you who are lean and wish to gain muscle mass, do not perform cardio sessions for too long or too often because you end up canceling out muscle gain.
Myth # 4: No pain, no gain
FACT: Some people think that if you don’t feel uncomfortably sore the next day, it means your workout wasn’t good enough. Others think that if you are experiencing horrible pain while exercising, you should continue pushing yourself and ignore it. It is true that your workout should be challenging and a little amount of discomfort is normal, but if you feel pain and still continue, it’s a stupidly dangerous thing to do. You will probably hurt or injure yourself in the end. Some also think that if you don’t sweat, you’re not working hard enough. Sweating simply cools down the body; it has nothing to do with how many calories you are burning.
Myth # 5: Exercise alone will help you lose weight
FACT: People who are trying to lose weight think that spending hours exercising can help them accomplish their goal. The truth is, the only way you lose weight is when your burned calories exceed your caloric consumption. You can’t exercise and make poor eating choices at the same time and expect to lose weight. Abs are made in the kitchen, not in the gym! If you want results, you must follow a healthy diet along with your exercise program, or else you will only be burning off the extra calories you are splurging instead of burning your stored fat.
Myth # 6: You can’t build muscle without taking supplements
FACT: Yet another myth most probably spread by marketing people. If you’re an average person who does some weight training twice a week and wishes to build muscle mass, you do NOT need to pop pills or drink protein shakes. You can easily get the extra protein to build muscles from food. Drinking protein powder is useless, not to mention expensive; moreover, it has calories too, so if you’re taking more than your body consumes, you’re adding calories to your intake. This is bad news, especially for overweight individuals. Eating a protein rich meal after your workout is sufficient and even much more beneficial.
Myth # 7: To get a flat stomach, you must work out your abs
FACT: Some think that if they have fat in a certain area, targeting that spot and working it out day and night can aid them in getting rid of it. The truth is, spot reducing is a myth; no matter how hard you workout your abs, if there is a layer of fat on top, your stomach won’t look flat. The same goes for other areas such as the hips and legs. The important thing here is your total percentage body fat; if you reduce it, your muscles will be revealed, and if you don’t, your strong muscles will be forever hidden. Another myth related to this one is that exercise transforms fat into muscle; exercise does burn calories and helps you build muscle, but there is no conversion whatsoever going on.
Myth # 8: Lifting weights will make women look masculine
FACT: Many females think they must avoid lifting weights to avoid becoming bulky. That is a huge misconception! Women do not have enough testosterone to gain big, manly muscles, no matter how heavy they lift. On the contrary, lifting weight and training your muscles will boost your metabolism, prevent osteoporosis, and help you lose more weight; so don’t be afraid to hit those iron bars at the gym. As for those female bodybuilders with bulky muscles you see on TV, they have probably taken a good amount of hormones and supplements to look that way.