5 Common Fitness Myths
Let’s be honest, the world of fitness can be overwhelming. There is a vast amount of information, and as always with the internet, a lot of misinformation as well. It’s important to ask questions about the fitness advice you encounter online. Who is the source? Why should I trust this person? And the most important question – is this based in science?
Today we’re debunking 5 of the most common fitness myths we see online, so you can have a better understanding of what your fitness routine does and doesn’t need!
Myth #1 The most effective way to lose body fat is cardio
Raise your hand if you’ve heard this one before! Aerobic exercise is undoubtedly a great way to burn calories, but it's not your only option. Recent research has shown that weight training does not only burn more calories than cardio but also has a host of other health benefits. A study published in the Journal of Strength and Conditioning Research found that women who lifted burned on average 100 more calories during the 24 hours after their training session ended. On top of the metabolic boost that strength training delivers, it also strengthens your bones, helps prevent injury, and improves heart health.
Myth #2: Weight lifting makes you bulky
This is a common misconception, especially among women. The truth is that lifting heavier weights will only make you stronger, not bigger. The real culprit of “bulking” is calories in vs out. If you consume more calories than you burn, you are unlikely to see a reduction in body fat. Weight lifting has been shown to increase your lean body mass. The more muscle you have the more energy your body expends. That means that everything you do, from sleeping to walking to the fridge to get a snack, you’re going to be burning more calories.
Myth #3: You can “target” your fat loss
Targeted fat loss or “spot reduction” is the idea that the fat you burn while exercising comes from the area around the muscle you are using. Doing 100 crunches will certainly make your core stronger, but it won’t make your abdominal muscles more visible. The truth is that there is no way to control what parts of our body lose fat. Weight loss is all about burning calories and most spot reduction exercises won’t burn enough calories to burn fat from anywhere on your body let alone a single area. Experts recommend this instead: Cardiovascular exercise, strength training and a healthy diet.
Myth #4: If your workout doesn’t make you sweat, it isn’t effective
Perspiration is in no way an indicator of how effective your workout is. Sweating has one major job: to prevent you from overheating. Age, body weight, genetics, humidity levels, type of exercise being performed are all contributing factors when it comes to the amount a person sweats during exercise. Lack of sweating during exercise can actually be an indicator of dehydration or even hypohidrosis – the inability to sweat normally, thus the body is not able to cool itself down.
Myth #5: Muscles will turn into fat if you stop exercising
Our bodies are capable of incredible things, but there are limits. There is no process in the human body by which muscle can turn to fat. Muscle is composed of mostly proteins, amino acids, and water. Adipose tissue (fat), on the other hand, is composed of lipid-rich cells whose primary function is to store fat in the body.
Over time, our muscles can weaken due to age or inactivity but their role and function in our body remain the same. When our muscles shrink, it clears the way for adipose tissue to replace them. This can create the illusion of muscle turning into fat, but what’s really happening is a change in our body’s composition. So don’t worry about having to take breaks from exercising, your muscles will still be there when you come back!
Remember to always question what you read online! Above all else, talk with your doctor before starting a new exercise regime or diet.