Fitness Myths People Should Stop Passing Around
I’m a fan of campfire stories. I’ve heard a lot and like passing them around, scaring myself in the process. However, what I don’t like is hearing fitness myths that people still believe today. For me, they count as urban legends, except that they shouldn’t be told in the first place.
Various fitness forums and Instagram videos feature a handful of misconceptions about certain ideas around fitness, whether it is about meal preparation or losing weight. In this article I will debunk the most popular myths that people like to throw around, helping fellow gym-goers get something more out of their workouts.
Myth 1: Stretching greatly reduces the risk of injury
I often see people do static stretching before doing the proper workout. While that is not a bad thing, static exercises should be avoided before workouts as they will condition your muscles to rest. What you want to do is to amp them up before working out using dynamic stretches such as shoulder rolls and scapular shrugs. Save the static exercises after your workout to ease the tension in your muscles.
Myth 2: Heavy weights bulk you up
I used to believe this too; I’ve avoided weights when I first started out and realized that it is one big lie. The common belief is that lifting heavy weights will make the person look bulky. Truth is, people with a muscular structure do more than just lifting heavy weights; they lift for many hours and follow a strict diet for weight gain too. Remember: weights are your friend.
Myth 3: Crunches are key to flat abs
Fact: the flab around your stomach is fat. Crunches or any other abdominal exercise only help grow muscles around them and they do not help much in losing fat. Crunches merely mitigate the appearance of fat around your guts.
Myth 4: The best time to work out is first thing in the morning
Working out in the morning fits my schedule, but it probably won’t for all. I can certainly say that the best time to work out is whatever time is convenient for you, as long as you can be consistent in that schedule.
Some studies do have found significant weight loss during morning workouts. These studies suggest that morning exercises prep the body to burn fat throughout the day. But again, whatever works for you!
Myth 5: Exercise is the best way to lose weight
In reality, losing weight is composed of 70% diet and 30% exercise. Getting your dream physique involves exercise, and losing that accumulated fat is mostly thanks to good eating habits. Using a calorie tracker such as MyFitnessPal will suit you well as it did for me.
Myth 6: If you stop working out the muscles you developed will turn to fat
Muscle and fat are two very different sections of our body. It is therefore impossible for one to transform into the other due to a sedentary lifestyle. If you don’t workout frequently, your muscle will “shrink” because it’s not being used often and new fat deposits will develop around them.
Myth 7: The more you sweat, the more you burn
Burning calories is not measured by how much you sweat during exercises. Sweating is just a way of our body to cool the skin when it’s hot to regulate our body temperature. You burn calories by proper caloric intake, eating less than what you burn.
Myth 8: More protein is needed for weight lifting
For a normal gym-goer whose goal is to lose weight, you do not need much protein for lifting weights unless you aim to be a dedicated bodybuilder. Having proper diet with balanced macronutrients is enough to supply you with a sufficient amount of protein. For those who do want to be a bodybuilder, a ratio of .63 to .80 grams of protein per lbs. of body weight is sufficient for muscle building.
Myth 9: Sports drinks are the best for rehydration after workouts
Sports drinks that advertise themselves as a necessary supplement of a workout are usually just made of two basic components: sugar and water. I can tell you that you do not need to spend unnecessary amounts of money every workout drinking sports beverages. Water is a good enough hydration for our bodies.
You see, getting into the fitness lifestyle without relying on misinformation being spread is easy. Be the cool guy or girl at the gym; impress your friends with these new-found knowledge!