There is so much information about exercise, diet and fitness that it is hard to decipher what is truth and what is fiction. This is where the internet comes into it’s own and helps us to decipher what is best for our bodies. There are a lot of experts out there and here is what a lot of them agree upon.
There is only one way to find out if a fitness myth is true or not and that is to try it. Fortunately for us many people have tried and tested the fitness myths and debunked them. The good news for you is that you don’t need to try and test these myths yourself, so here are 8 fitness myths which have been debunked.
1. You Have to Do Stretches Before Any Exercise
A myth that has done the rounds since the dawn of time, it’s so engrained into us that we have come to accept it as fact. The fact is that you do not need to stretch if you are going to be doing a strength training workout and most other aerobic exercise. Studies done by reputable researchers show that there is no significant benefit to do stretching before exercising (read here A Study Into Stretching Before Exercising – Article from the BMJ)
Stretching is done before and after exercising to stop the onset of muscle soreness, at least that was the initial reason, however, many people have forgotten why they stretch. A lot of us stretch because we have been told it warms our muscles up and will prevent injury when engaging in sporting activity. This is just not true at all. When we want to warm up, running would be sufficient, however, it is not a pre requisite.
If you still want to stretch then that’s okay, however, at least you now know there is no benefit to stretching before starting to exercise.
2. If You Lift Weights You Will Become Muscular
A lot of women don’t want to start doing strength training, using weights, as they are frightened of becoming too muscular. This is just not true at all. To gain a lot of muscle you need a lot of the hormone: testosterone, and most women do not have this in abundance so they will not gain the muscle they are frightened of gaining. What will happen is that men will gain muscle, lose fat, not too much if done correctly, and women will tone up more and lose fat.
Lifting weights is the quickest way for anyone to lose weight. Although it may be intimidating for a lot of people to start working with the weights as there are so many testosterone fuelled men and women with muscles walking around the weights section at the gym, it is a still a good idea to start using weights as part of your regime.
The best way to do this would be to go to the gym when it is a lot quieter and get used to doing the weights. This way you will gain confidence using the weights, and won’t feel so intimidated when it is a little more busy.
3. Don’t Eat After A workout
Exercising can make you feel ravenous and you could be in danger of wasting all the good work whilst exercising. However, eating a small amount will be good for you as your metabolism will have started working quicker and you will burn the food quicker. To stop the feeling of hunger it might be best to eat a nutrition bar along with drinking plenty of water. This will stave off the hunger and the water will make you feel fuller.
A lot of people believe that after a workout they can pig out and gorge themselves because they have just been to the gym. Fact is, most people are only burning a few hundred calories with aerobic exercise and double that with weight training so even having a Mars bar will negate the good work you have done exercising.
4. You Can Lose The Belly Fat Doing Lots Of Sit ups
This is something that a lot of us believed at one point in our lives, but we now know that this is not the case. You will gain extremely strong abs but the blanket of fat covering these strong abs will still be hiding the old six pack. To lose weight and let your muscular physique shine through you will have to do a full body workout. This way you will lose overall body fat and your muscles will have better definition all round.
There are a few ways to lose belly fat quicker:
Eat more, with smaller proportions: You need to keep your metabolism going and when you start eating the metabolic processes in your body start kicking in. when you eat bigger portions then you are putting too much strain on your metabolism and therefore you will gain weight. When you eat smaller portions, your body can deal with it a lot better and will metabolise the food better.
Eat foods that burn fat: Eggs, fish, lean meats, vegetables, whole grains are all good for helping you to lose weight overall. Avoiding the whites; white sugar, white flour, white pasta etc will help in your quest to lose weight and keep fit.
Drink plenty water: You probably hear this all the time but your body needs to stay hydrated at all times. When your body is not getting enough water your organs have to work that bit harder and it puts strain on them ,especially the liver.
5. The Best Way To Lose Weight Is A Calorie Controlled Diet
This is not the best way, there is no best way as we are all individuals and all have different body shapes and our metabolisms are not all the same. While it’s good to keep an eye on the amount of calories you’re putting into your body it’s better to just to cut down on what you are used to eating, drink more water, and exercise more, no huge secret.
The reason that slimmer’s clubs do so well, and have some great success stories has nothing to do with the calorie controlled diet, it has everything to do with group dynamics and feeling extremely motivated to do your best in front of your slimmer’s club friends.
6. Lifting Weights Will Turn Fat Into Muscle
Fat will never be turned into muscle and muscle will never be turned into fat. This is ridiculous, but some still believe it’s true. Muscle cells are totally different from fat cells and they cannot morph into each other.
The possible reason for this belief is that a lot of people lose fat by going to the gym or exercising and a lot of muscular people who stop body building lose their muscle and gain more fat. This is purely physiological . We lose fat by burning more energy than we are putting into our bodies. We lose muscle by giving the muscles less stress. The more stress muscles have, the more they grow, the less stress they have the less they grow.
The famous ‘Bingo Wings’ women tend to get as they get older is a result of no stress being placed on the muscles in that area of the arm. The more stress placed on them the firmer they will be.
7. No Pain, No Gain
This is a myth that seems to have stuck in the consciousness of fitness fanatics, however, that is now changing. If we are feeling pain then that is the body’s way of saying, there is something wrong and to stop doing it. It’s like putting your hand on a burning ring on the cooker, your body instantly sends a message to your brain to say: “get that hand off the cooker NOW!”. Your body gives you signals via the brain to tell you when something is not quite right and if you are in pain when working out then something is clearly wrong. Also when you are still in pain a few days after a workout then you have overdone it. Listen to your body and it’s pain signals; workout smarter not harder.
8. Going To The Gym Is The Best Way To Get Fit
We have associated getting fit with joining a gym, however, there is no need to even leave your house to get fit. We will look at strength training from home using your own body weight in another article, but here are a few things you can do at home to strengthen your body and get fit at the same time:
Push ups: Good old fashioned push ups use your own bodyweight to give you a workout. The trick with push ups is not to go hell for leather, take it nice and slow, rest near the bottom (when your body is closest to the floor) for a few seconds before continuing. You will find doing it this way will tone you quicker. When you are going hell for leather then you are using momentum to do part of the work for you. It’s easy to do 30 push ups when doing it very quickly but try doing 30 push ups very slowly and it will be a different matter.
Sit ups: Another great way to strengthen the stomach muscles and lose overall body fat. There are lots of ways to do them just make sure your body is in the correct position and your head is not being pulled as you start your sit ups.
Plank: One of my favourites and one of the hardest exercises to do. Lie on the floor face down. Now rest your body on your elbows keeping your body completely straight. You will find you will be able to do this for about 30- 90 seconds. This strengthens all your core muscles and is great for your back, and stomach muscles.
We will be looking at exercises to do at home in future posts on lifesnips.com and will go into much more depth on each exercise.
Keeping your fitness at a high level can be hard enough without reading false information. The best thing to do is to find a fitness regime you feel connected with, research it on the net, if it still looks good then follow the regime.