The 10 Biggest Fitness Myths

Happy fit fitness girl exercising indoor in fitness center

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There are many myths in life. Myths, that for some reason or another are now accepted as truths because they have been consistently spoken as gospel for many years and are now ingrained in our grey matter.

Some myths won’t really affect us on a daily basis, or even at all. Like, for instance, the myth that if a penny were dropped from a tall building it would kill anyone it landed on below. Big myth apparently, because science tried it and the worst that will happen to the unsuspecting person below is a sting from the impact. No horrible channel 5 death will happen.

Then there are other myths that will actually halt, cut short, or even worse, terminate us from reaching our health and fitness goals. Below are 10 of the biggest fitness myths out there.

I should stretch to warm-up.

Stretching exercise

The body requires movement to warm itself up before activity, not static stretching. Do dynamic range of motion drills before your sport and workout and save the stretching for your cool down.

Standing on a balance tool will work my core harder.

The Journal of Sports Physiology and Performance performed a study with twelve trained men to see if exercising on a BOSU ball recruited more core muscles than doing the same movement on the ground. They performed four exercises at 50-75% of their repetition max and after each lift the major muscles of the abdominals and back were assessed.

Their findings? There were no significant differences in the stable or the unstable group’s activation of their core. In other words, standing on a BOSU ball, wobble board, or foam roller will work balance and the muscles surrounding your feet, ankles, knees and hips harder, but not your core.

Working out will make me hungry. 

The International Journal of Obesity recently published a study that actually contradicted that myth. Instead, high intensity exercise decreased food cravings in their participants because the workouts decreased the levels of the hormone ghrelin (which fuels hunger) and abated higher blood sugar levels (which avert cravings).

Eating after 8pm will make me fat.

Pregnant woman eating at night

There is some truth that you shouldn’t eat in the evening. However, you shouldn’t snack in the evening hours because your stomach needs a break and a chance to digest the day’s food. Just like your brain needs a rest, so does your digestive system. Not because food eaten at the hour will suddenly turn into fat.If I’m sweating I am having a great workout. I love to bust this myth. Sweating is the body’s natural way of cooling itself off, not a self-guided GPS system to gauge your exercise intensity. If it were, then all those times you were lying on the beach, while on that sunny vacation, all that sweating would have meant you were getting fitter. Yes?

Crunches are the best exercise for my abs.

The act of rolling one’s head, shoulders and mid-back off a mat is not how great abs are made. Strong abs are made by getting them to do all that stuff that they were born to do. Like stabilize the body, twist the body, lift heavy objects and even breath.

I can spot train to burn my fat. The body is incapable of isolating fat from a certain area. We cannot do ab curls, or side leg lifts, or glute presses and expect that fat to melt away from that particular area. Fat is fuel and the body will take it from a variety of areas to propel you through your workouts. With consistency, though, you will lose that body fat and see that beautiful muscle that you have been working on.

Machines will help me do the exercise right.

I hate machines. All right, I’ll be a little generous; they are kind of good for beginners and those coming back to the gym after an injury. This is because they support the person and help dictate the plane of motion to lift in. However, that’s precisely why I hate them. We should be learning how to stabilize and move our own bodies. We should be training for real life, not seated and told where to move and how.

If I take a break my muscles will turn to fat.

When you stop training your muscles do not turn to jelly. Instead, they atrophy, which is a fancy word for saying they decrease in size. Once that happens our metabolisms are affected (because muscle burns more calories), combine that with the fact that we also tend not to change our eating habits when our activity levels decrease and you have added weight and fat to your body. This weight gain, however, is your existing fat cells swelling up, while your muscle cells shrink.

You need to drink 8 glasses of water a day.

A glass of water macro shot

How much water you need is dependent on your body weight, muscle mass and activity levels. You will know if you need more water if your urine is dark-colored and you are thirsty . Start with the 8 glasses and then let your body tell you whether you need more or less.

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