The 10 biggest fitness myths (that are holding you back)

The 10 Biggest Fitness Myths

Find out the truth behind ten of the most common exercise and Fitness myths

Wheter it’s worries about health, or not knowing what the best exercise is for your goals. There is a lot of information (online) on fitness do’s and don’ts. Sometimes it can all get very confusing, even for the most experienced among us!

A lot of us get (unwanted) advice from friends, gym buddies and gym bro’s about ‘facts’. About the best way to do fitness and/or exercises. The media is full of stories about the danger of overtraining or not enough fitness training. The reality is that many of those articles and pieces of advice are false and shouldn’t stop you from exercising. With that in mind we decided to go over some of the most common fitness myths.

‘No Pain, No Gain’

Let’s start with the biggest one out there in the world of fitness! No Pain, No Gain!

Taking it too easy in the gym won’t set the results you want. While pushing yourself too much can do more harm than good. There is a real difference between finding something hard and experiencing real pain from an injury. If it feels uncomfortable and takes a lot of effort when you are two thirds of the way in your workout. Or five minutes into an ab routine this is to be expected.

However it is important to recognise the burn you get from exercising and the effort your body is putting in. If something is wrong then you need to stop. If the pain is sharp, unusual, stings or severe (not what you would usually expect with the heat you feel in your muscles during a workout) something is wrong. For example a stinging pain in your knee everytime you squat. Then it is probably a very good idea to stop and see a physio.

Listen to your body at all times and make sure to apply proper form. Also, a proper warming up can help you get better fitness results!

‘If you don’t feel sore, you didn’t make any gains!’

It’s the morning after a tough workout and, as you step out of bed — %#*&! Everything hurts … So. Freaking. Good.

For a lot of people, it’s hard to feel like you had a good workout if you don’t feel sore. We get it, but can you have a great workout without being sore?

Regardless of your level of physical fitness, there’s a good chance you’re familiar with that burning pain that can creep up after pushing yourself through a tough workout. Most people will admit that being sore after working out is likely a sign that they need to be in better shape. What does the soreness really mean?

The muscle soreness you feel 24 to 72 hours after a tough workout is a sign your muscles are changing at a cellular level. This is called delayed onset muscle soreness (or DOMS). In order for muscles to get larger, there needs to be muscular damage, mechanical tension and metabolic stress placed on the body. It’s as a result of our bodies recovering from this muscular damage — adapting to prevent further injury when you perform the same movement again — that hypertrophy occurs.

But while DOMS is often associated with muscle growth, that doesn’t mean DOMS always equals muscle growth. According to a research review published in the Strength and Conditioning Journal. Researchers note that DOMS is influenced not just by how hard you push your body. Your hormonal state, individual nervous system and pain perceptions take part. Next to that the exact muscles worked are part of it too! Some are more prone to soreness than others.

Whats more?

There’s way more to get out of your workouts than hypertrophy alone. For instance, a cardio workout might not stimulate a lot of muscular damage and DOMS. But it will improve your cardiovascular health and burn fat. Meanwhile, lifting near your max weight for one repetition (1RM) will cause less DOMS compared to hypertrophy Workouts. To compare: hypertrophy generally involves performing sets of 6–12 reps. But 1RM fitness workouts can lead to crazy strength gains!

‘Weight Training won’t make you Lose Weight’

The tendency for so many people is to stay away from the weights area at the gym. The reality is that if you want to lose weight, this is exactly where you need to be heading. A targeted weights session that involves high reps and low weights is going to tone muscles and burn more calories than an aerobic training session.

The key is the amount of calories you burn after you finish your session. For women, that-after burn can account for as many as 350 additional calories. And a higher muscle mass can also boost the body’s metabolic activity. Which means more efficient fat and calorie burning all round, happy days! Your muscles won’t start expanding at an astronomical rate turning you into the hulk anytime soon. Instead you will trim up much faster than with cardio alone. Take a look at these exercises that you can do at home or in the gym and start today!

‘Women will get bulky from lifting weights’

Women often look at pictures of other women with big muscles and assume this will happen to them when they lift weights. But the muscle they’re looking at is a result of years of intense training in the gym while following a rigorous schedule, strict diet and extreme dedication.

Women tend to avoid the weight room because they think cardio is the only way to lose weight. They’re unaware of the benefits of strength training, notably the ability to build a healthy, fit physique.

On average, women have 30 percent less muscle fiber to develop than men, which means it would be much more difficult for a woman to get bulky than it would be for a man. Additionally, any training effect can be reversed and “detrained” if desired. No training effect (such as big muscles) is permanent. Thereby, women’s hormones aren’t conducive to ‘bulking up’ thus women have a greater handicap in putting on excess muscle mass. Essentially no one will EVER get ‘accidentally’ bulky.

Next time you see an extremely muscular woman, understand it’s very likely 10 or more years of vigorous training and dieting produced that body. Unless you practice the same kind of commitment, it’s very unlikely you’ll develop a bodybuilder-like physique.

‘Weight lifting turns fat into muscle’

NO: You can’t turn fat into muscle!

The reason? Fat and muscle are two different types of tissue, and one cannot be converted directly into the other. Physiologically speaking, they are two different tissues. Fat tissue is found under the skin, sandwiched between muscles, and around internal organs like the heart.

Muscle tissue is found throughout the body.

What weight training really does is help build up the muscle tissue in and around any fat tissue. To lose fat, you have to lose weight, and losing weight requires burning more calories than you consume. The best way to reduce fat tissue is to eat a healthy diet that incorporates vegetables, whole grains, lean proteins and – somewhat paradoxically – healthy fats like olive oil and fish.

But to lose fat without also losing muscle, you have to eat the right foods: If you cut your calorie intake and don’t eat enough protein, weight loss can result in a decrease in not only fat but also muscle.
It’s been shown over and over that low protein intake [while cutting calories] leads to an accelerated loss of muscle. To make up for the lack of protein in the diet, the body burns not just stored fat but also muscle, which is made of protein. When this happens, your muscle cells shrink.

‘Cardio for weight loss is the quickest way to lose a few pounds’

The main principle of losing weight is burning more calories than you consume during the day. Aerobic activity clearly speeds up this process.

Besides, it’s a great way to get rid of stress, cheer yourself up, and strengthen your immune system. However, the process of burning calories stops as soon as you finish your cardio workout.

If your goal is to see a smaller number on the scales and achieve and maintain a slim figure, add strength training.

It strengthens the muscle tissue, which makes the body look smooth and lean. also it increases your metabolic rate and triggers increased calorie burning, even at rest. In addition, such workouts will have a beneficial effect on the musculoskeletal system and bone tissue.

So, what is the best solution? Combining aerobic and anaerobic exercises will be the most efficient. If you find creating your own workout plan difficult, consult a competent coach. Or start with reading this article with exercises you can do from home.

Listen to your body and choose an activity that brings you pleasure.

Remember that when it comes to losing weight, the key is proper nutrition, and workouts play an auxiliary role in achieving the desired goal.

‘You can burn belly fat with targeted ab exercises’: Spot-reduced fat loss’

Sit-ups, crunches and knee-raises. Literally any movement in which you curl your torso forward, work the ‘six-pack’ or rectus abdominis. The muscle in the front of the torso. Unfortunately, working this muscle doesn’t burn fat on your stomach and will certainly not give you abs.

In a perfect world we can choose to reduce the size of our waist, hips, or another bodypart. At any given moment.. However, we can’t influence that.

Everyone stores fat in different body parts. This is determined by one’s sex and genetics. The fat deposits are also reduced unevenly.

When you burn more calories than you consume during the day, it will trigger the weight loss process. After a while, you will reach the desired shape. But it will be your entire body that will be losing weight.

Workouts aimed at certain body parts won’t help either. While they do help to burn calories and build muscle, they don’t affect the fat cells in the targeted bodypart. Indirectly this will affect the process of losing weight.

Don’t aim for rapid progress, but apply simple principles, and get your maximum result.

‘The More Water You Drink When You’re Exercising, The Better’

It’s true that our need for fluid increases during exercise. It isn’t necessary to gulp down gallons of water to stay hydrated though. In fact, this approach is counter-productive as the body can only deal with so much water at once.  If you pour in too much, you’ll simply pee it right out again!

Plus: have you ever downed a bottle of water and gone for a jog? It feels like your stomach is a fish tank.
Water is supposed to replace the fluids lost in exercise. So consuming a huge amount in excess will be pointless and can even be dangerous.

In some situations (such as prolonged endurance events) you could even put yourself at risk of hyponatremia. Also known as ‘Water Intoxication’ which is a potentially fatal condition. The best approach is to maintain good hydration 24/7. Not just 10 minutes before your workout. Ensure that you drink water and other fluids throughout the day. Then you won’t be starting out dehydrated and will get by perfectly well by taking a few sips during exercise. And your stomach won’t feel uncomfortabe!

A good way to go is drinking according to your thirst. Or by weighing yourself before and after a workout. Simply replace the amount of weight loss in grams with the same amount of fluid in millimeters. Weigh yourself during multiple workouts to know what your average weightloss per workout is. For example, if you lose 500 grams on average, aim to drink 500 mililiters (½ liter) of water during your workouts.

‘Squats are bad for your knees’

To some people, squats look scary. And to people who battle knee pain or have suffered knee injuries, squats can be downright terrifying.. In an effort to help prevent knee problems, some trainers and medical professionals warn their clients and patients against activities like running and squatting. This makes it seem like squatting and running are inherently bad for your knees, causing many people to skip out on them altogether.

Good to know is that squatting improperly CAN be bad for your knees. In fact, doing any motion (we are mechanically designed for)  improperly can be bad for the joints.

Contrary to popular belief, squatting deep is not bad for your knees. Studies have found there is no difference between partial, parallel and deep squats impact on the knee. In a study by Clinical Biomechanics, five female athletes were studied throughout squats with varying degrees of flexion at the knee. They concluded that squatting from 70 degrees to 110 degrees of knee flexion had little effect on patellofemoral joint kinetics.

Another study by The Journal of Biomechanics found that the deeper the squat, the less pressure is created inside the knee. The journal of strength and conditioning research also completed a study which concluded that parallel squats with heavy weights are less effective at increasing strength than deep squats with a lighter weight.

Obviously, there is not a one-size-fits-all perfect squat! Gradual progressive training to full range of motion will be effective for your squat. So, no more excuses and try to go ass-to-grass!

‘The More Exercise You Do, The Better’

Believe it or not, there is such a thing as too much exercise. Ofcourse it sounds badass to your gymbros that you do not know the ‘rest muscle’. However, it’s during rest, not exercise, that the body does all the necessary repairs to make itself fitter, stronger and grows. So if you take that rest away, you are never going to reach your full potential. This is not an excuse to only go the gym once a week and claim your body needs time to rest, that’s just a poor excuse for being lazy!

You need at least 48 hours between strength training workouts of certain body parts to allow muscles to recover, and while you can do aerobic training and flexibility work daily, it’s wise to go by the ‘hard, easy’ rule, where you follow tough training sessions with a gentler workout the next day.

Overtraining will also put you at risk of injury and can compromise your immune system, which may end up costing you weeks away from the gym while you recover. Too often athletes and individuals will burn out, as when combined with responsibilities and work, exercising too hard and for too long can eat into your physical and mental energy. Rest days are an important part of exercise, and the one day off won’t do anything to your progress, so dont worry yourself too much.

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