Fitness myths – we’ve all inadvertently encountered many of them on our journey towards getting leaner and fitter. In this article, we take a look at 5 commonly mistaken beliefs about fitness, and set the record straight about them so that you may have greater clarity, and thus more success, be it in the gym, during your exercise or in your diet.
Myth 1: The only training method to lose fat is through cardio
Cardiovascular workouts have long been associated with fat burning. How often do you hear someone around you say, “I need to lose weight; it’s time to go jogging!” Well, although you can indeed engage in cardio exercises to burn fat, it is not the only method, much lest the most effective way.
In fact, in various ways, strength training has been proven to be more effective in fat-burning than cardio training. Not just that, strength training has an added advantage of helping to strengthen your bones and build lean muscle tissue. It also increases your metabolism, which in turn boosts the burning of your calories resulting in fat loss.
Myth 2: You can target the areas to lose fat
A correct diet and ample exercise will definitely help you to reduce your overall body fat, but there is scant evidence that you can choose or control which part of your body to lose it. Yet many advertisements or workout programs tend to mislead people into believing that you can specifically target fats around your waist area via diet supplements or rid yourself of your “love handles” through certain exercises.
Unfortunately, “spot reduction” is merely a theory that has been floating around for the longest time, but has little scientific proof to back it up. While you can’t target fat loss at a particular region, what you can do as a whole is to aim for a healthier lifestyle. At the end of the day, there is no shortcut to losing fat.
Myth 3: Doing sit-ups gives you six-packs
Again, much as it hurts to dash your hopes, you can’t develop a six-pack simply by doing sit-ups. Isolated exercises like crunches or planks can help tone your core, but the hard truth is no number of these exercises will result in your abs showing, at least not without the right amount of body fat.
Getting well-defined abdominal muscles goes beyond just doing sit-ups or some special ab exercises, despite what the tons of so-called viral workout videos out there have you believe. In order to really get those selfie-worthy six-packs, you need to adhere to a disciplined diet and a structured exercise regimen that includes compound exercises which strengthen and build up your core musculature.
Myth 4: Weight training leads to bulky bodies
In general, many women are reluctant to do weight training because of this perception, which applies to a lot of men too. The rationale is of course that lifting heavy weights builds bigger muscles. But this is not necessarily the case, especially when it pertains to women.
Weight training is not the only factor in muscle building. Huge amounts of testosterone, an intensive calorie-dense diet, as well as one’s genetics also play a part. Lifting heavier weights with fewer repetitions can actually boost the rate of caloric expenditure in most cases. That means that instead of developing bulky bodies, one actually gains lean muscle mass along with reduced fat!
Myth 5: Always stretch before working out
Ever since we were school kids, we have probably been taught to do all kinds of static stretching exercises before engaging in any sports or strenuous activity. Though well-intentioned, these exercises actually loosen the whole bodily structure, which can cause more injury than good.
Rather than static stretching that entails a prolonged hold of certain muscle fibers, dynamic stretching, where you perform short bursts of movement, can far better warm up your body and help you prepare for the upcoming activity. If you have been doing static stretching before working out all this while, it’s time to ditch it for dynamic stretching!
So there you go, 5 common myths that are counter-productive to reaching your fitness goals. By separating the fact from the fluff, you will be able to focus on what truly matters and not waste time or effort chasing after gimmicky, flimsy fitness advice.