Despite all the time I spend on the Interwebz, reading up on endless health-and-fitnessy information, I’m entirely guilty of falling prey to a whole lot of health and fitness myths. You know – the ones that get repeated on endless cycles, but in reality, have no truth to them whatsoever.
If you’re the same, here’s some good news. I’ve debunked the most common health and fitness myths to uncover the long-awaited truth to just about everything. You. Are. Welcome.
1. You have to work out every day
You don’t! You really don’t. In fact, incorporating rest days into your fitness program is one of the most important things you can do to ensure you’re looking after yourself.
2. Weights will make you bulky
Wrong wrong wrong. Seriously, lifting weights will not automatically turn you into an Arnold-Schwareznegger-bodybuilder-days lookalike (unless you take a serious amount of steroids, which all the female bodybuilders do). In fact, if you stick to cardio only, you’re doing yourself and your fitness levels a serious disservice. By doing weights, you’ll tone muscles, lose body fat and reduce your chances of developing osteoporosis, injury, back pain or arthritis.
3. Doing millions of crunches will give you abs
Who else has spent ages at the gym, doing what seems like endless crunches and sit-ups, in the vain hope that they’ll result in some kind of six-pack? Or even an eight-pack?
Sadly, if you’re the kind of person that wants to show off their abdominal muscles, those work-outs won’t really help. And neither will those strange machines you see advertised on late-night infomercials. That’s because that six-pack is entirely dependent on your overall percentage of body fat; and if you want to lose that body fat, you’re better off going for a combination of cardio and strength training.
4. You’re not burning calories unless you’re sweating
Not necessarily true. Sweating is your body’s way of cooling down and not the best way of measuring just how much of a workout you’re getting.
5. There’s no such thing as working out too much
Yes there is. Too much exercise can lead to exhaustion and injuries, as well long-term physical and mental health injuries. Check out this post for further details.
6. No pain, no gain
Okay, so it’s not necessarily bad to be sore the day after your workout. And it feels good too – the good kind of pain that makes you aware of how hard you’ve been working. But if you’re in a severe lot of pain during or after your workout – and not just the I-really-hate-running-with-the-passion-of-a-thousand-burning-suns kind of pain – it’s really not a good thing.
You can do serious damage to yourself by ignoring severe pain in any area of the body. Anything from shin splints to heart problems could be the cause. If concerned, please go and see your doctor before commencing a workout. And if you do gym classes or anything similar, always make the group fitness leader aware of any injuries or issues.
7. You can lose weight by just exercising
If you are looking to lose weight, don’t think you can do so by just spending all your spare time at the gym. Diet and nutrition plays an enormous part in fitness; so don’t make the same mistake I have in thinking that an hour’s workout at the gym cancels out an almond Magnum and a Maccas cheeseburger or two…
8. You can lose weight by starving yourself
All those diets that are telling you to give up food and instead just consume milkshakes/glasses of water with chillies in them/tiny tiny portions of foods that are only a couple of calories? They really, really don’t work. This is because your body clicks over to starvation mode and recognises it’s not being fed, so starts holding onto all that body fat for dear life. Poor body.
9. Running on a treadmill is just as good as running outside
Sadly, it’s not. Think about the flat surface you’re running on a treadmill, and then compare it to running outside, where you’re battling the elements – wind, etc – and also the largely uneven terrain. If you do all your running on treadmills, increase the incline so that you’re getting more of an authentic experience.
Any myths you’d like to add? Go ahead…
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