Debunking fitness myths
From half-truths to harmful, these behaviours in the gyms are inaccurate.
We all exercise differently, from the diehards running 19 miles straight to the yoga fanatics at 6am. om-ing in the park. That means the best workout for one person can be completely opposite for another. However, there are some fitness facts floating around that are completely fiction and hazardous for any exerciser, regardless of preferred style or body type.
Myth: Doing crunches and other abdominal workouts will “tone” your midsection:
Busted: Tone is a word thrown around in the fitness world far too often. In today’s jargon, it refers to the physical activity meant to strengthen muscles while maintaining a lean body type, often around the belly. While doing sit-ups and crunches will strengthen the muscles around your midsection, they will not alter the appearance or “tone” your muscles. Crunches don’t target weight loss in the stomach, rather they help burn calories that can decrease your overall percentage of body fat. As you lose body fat, the genetic makeup of your body will determine where this weight loss will appear on your body.
Myth: Lifting machines are a safer way to exercise to ensure you’re performing the move the right way every time.
Busted: While strength machines are meant to position your body correctly to work out your muscles, this won’t happen if it isn’t adjusted properly to the right height and weight for you. This of course strains your muscles and not only leads to an improper workout, but also increases the risk of injury. Before working out, ask a trainer or gym personnel to correctly adjust the settings for your body.
Myth: Sweating means you’re getting the best workout.
Busted: Sweating is the body’s way of cooling itself. While sweating helps you burn calories, the less rigorous exercises done without much sweat can lead to more fat burning because you are able to work out for a longer period of time and are safer.
Myth: Running inside on a treadmill is less straining than outside on pavement.
Busted: Running, no matter when or where, can impact your knees and joints. This is because it’s your body weight that affects the pressure on your joints, not the place where your feet land. Changing and diversifying your cardio workout by biking or using an elliptical cross-trainer could reduce pain and keep you exercising longer.
Myth: No pain, no gain.
Busted: A common problem, especially with beginners, is too much too soon. Exercise doesn’t have to hurt or even be rigorous to be good for you. Some soreness is normal in the beginning, but if it hurts while you’re exercising, it’s likely you’re doing it wrong. Moderate activity, such as gardening or taking the stairs, can have substantial benefits.
Myth: If you exercise enough, you can eat anything and be healthy.
Busted: Exercise doesn’t make up for a poor diet. Weight loss only occurs when combined with proper nutrition. Of course it’s better to eat poorly and exercise rather than not, but you won’t be getting the most out of your workouts if you do.
Don’t believe everything you hear or observe in the gym. Instead, listen to your body and the experts. While the facts are consistently changing, the weight loss and fitness results will always prove what’s true in the end.