The Top 10 Fitness Myths - Busted!

We’ve all heard them, be it from our workout buddy at the gym or even (gasp!) a personal trainer...there’s certainly no shortage of fitness myths running loose out there. So let’s take a look at some of the worst culprits and start making that workout routine more effective!

1. Crunches will get rid of belly fat.

I think everyone is pretty happy to hear that thisone is a myth! I’ve never met anyone who enjoyed doing crunches.

While crunches will tone your stomach muscles, they won’t erase the layer of fat that is sitting atop them. So, you can do crunches until you can’t sit up anymore, but crunches alone won’t tone your belly for you.

Belly fat is often referred to as “toxic” fat, simply because it’s viewed as one of the hardest to get rid of. But in reality, belly fat is just simply fat, and ties in with your overall body fat percentage. Which is why there’s no way that…

2. Fat can be reduced in one area at a time.

This is directly connected to #1.

Having the appearance of a toned body is really all about one thing - body fat percentage. You can have the most toned muscles in the world, but if they’re hanging out under 25% body fat, nobody is ever going to be able to see them. In fact, you probably already have pretty toned muscles (or you’d have mighty big problems moving around), they’re just hiding out under your fat.

Interval and strength training can help in reducing overall body fat, but again, this really comes down to exercise and diet.

3. If you’re not sweating, you’re not working hard enough.

Put quite basically, quantity of sweat ≠ quality of workout.

Sweating is the human body’s cooling system. So if you’re sweating, all that means is that you’re hot, which can be influenced by any number of factors, such as what you’re wearing, the temperature of the environment, and what you were eating or drinking before your workout. Ever started sweating while eating some hot wings? Yeah, somehow that probably didn’t have anything to do with heavy lifting…

Burning calories can be accomplished in any variety of ways, and not all of them involve sweating. Exercises like light weight lifting and walking can be effective calorie burners without generating one bead of sweat.

4. Drinking water can help you drop weight.

Don’t get me wrong, water is great. It’s the number one thing that keeps our bodies running properly. But somehow, water has gained a reputation lately for all kinds of super powers it just does not have. And one of those is that it will help you lose weight.

Ever heard that drinking lots of water will help keep you from getting hungry? Or that drinking an obscene amount will actually cause you to lose pounds?

Unfortunately, it just isn’t true.

While rehydrating with water can help you lose a pound or two of water weight in the short term if you are extremely dehydrated, it cannot legitimately cause weight loss. However, replacing sugary sodas and fruit juices with water can definitely make a positive impact on your diet and help cut calorie intake.

5. Stretching before a workout is important to avoid injury.

Have you ever gone to the gym with a workout partner, and you head straight for the machines while they head for the stretching mats? You stop, scratch your head a little, and think to yourself, “am I doing something wrong?”

Many people believe that stretching before a workout warms you up and increases your range of motion. But while stretching after a workout can be important in maintaining flexibility, stretching before a workout can actually weaken the muscles, making you more prone to injury.

6. Cardio is better for weight loss than lifting.

Everyone is all about the cardio when it comes to dropping weight. But in reality, interval training and lifting weights is a much better way to reduce fat and shed pounds.

One of the biggest reasons? Muscle mass, pure and simple. The more muscle you maintain, the higher your metabolism and the more calories you’re burning everyday when you’re not exercising. So not only does strength training help to build more muscle, but it also is more responsible for pure fat loss when you’re doing it, whereas cardio will burn off both fat and muscle. Sounds a little counterproductive, doesn’t it?

7. I can eat whatever I want so long as I exercise.

Have you ever heard the phrase, “you are what you eat”? Well, it’s true, because about 80% of what you look like is based on what you’re eating. You can exercise day and night, but if you’re eating crap, that exercise will make little difference in your appearance.

Losing weight is all about math. Calories in MUST BE less than calories out. End of story. There’s no way around that equation, unless you have found some way to magically defy the laws of physics and thermodynamics.

So although exercise is part of a healthy lifestyle, if you’re looking to lose weight, diet should be the first thing going under the microscope.

8. Shakes are a great way to lose weight.

Most shakes contain ingredients that range from questionable to downright unhealthy, including cheap protein, lots of sugars, and chemicals, such as artificial sweeteners and dyes. Plus, shakes are almost completely ineffective for keeping you full. Real, diversified whole foods are better for your body and will do more for keeping you satiated.

There’s one more bonus to real food - it also takes more energy for your body to digest, therefore burning more calories and keeping your metabolism up!

9. If you’re a woman, weight training will bulk you up.

I’ve known very few men who look at a female body builder and say, “wow, that’s hot.” So of course, most women are scared that lifting will somehow bulk them up.

The truth is, women simply do not naturally possess the ability to bulk up in the way men do. Women have approximately 10 times less testosterone than the average man, which is necessary for that kind of natural muscle building.

So, unless the plan is to take testosterone supplements or steroids, women do not need to be concerned with bulking up.

10. Running will make you super fit.

Running seems to have become the Holy Grail of exercise. Folks are constantly talking about how they’re going to take up running and lose all this weight.

But really, the way human beings are built, we’re either meant to walk or to sprint short distances, and the art of “jogging” is actually detrimental to the body. This is especially true of women with wide hips, as the thigh creates a different angle between the knee and the hip.

The repetitive impact of long distance running is also notoriously bad for the knees, on just about anyone.

A better solution? Walking at a brisk, accelerated rate provides all the cardio benefits of running without the stress and impact. And if you’re looking to add some intensity to that workout, throw in a couple short bursts of sprinting during your walk.