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False Fitness Facts Debunked!

Fitness myths are everywhere. There are rules for everything about your health. Some you might already know and some you might not, but whose advice can you trust? That’s a tough question to answer. With all the research that’s constantly being done about fitness and health it’s hard to keep track of what’s been proven wrong.

There are a lot of common fitness myths that are generally mistaken as true. You might even believe them. Hey, it’s not your fault. People who advise others on health and fitness should really be doing their research first. With the amount of information out there, how are you supposed to know what’s true and what isn’t? We’re here to help. Here are 10 of the most popular fitness myths you should know about:

Myth 1: Doing ab workouts will help you get a flatter stomach.
This is not true at all! A flat stomach depends on your body fat, which won’t be affected by ab workouts. So if you’ve been doing extra crunches to flatten that stomach, you’re wasting your time. Crunches won’t take effect until afteryou’ve flattened your stomach. Belly fat is what covers your abs. The best way to lose body fat is to combine cardio and strength training elements. If you don’t lose belly fat you won’t see your ab muscles no matter how hard you work on them. It’s as simple as that.

Myth 2: Swimming is an effective weight loss workout.
Swimming is a good activity if you want to improve and tone your upper body muscles or increase your lung capacity. But it won’t make you lose weight. Swimming allows for the water to hold up your body so you’re actually doing less work, even though it might feel like more. Unless you’re swimming for several hours each day, don’t replace workouts with swimming. Swimming also causes you to eat more because you’re usually hungrier coming out of the pool. This is why poolside snacks are so common!

Myth 3: The more you sweat, the more effective your workout is.
This is wrong because every person’s sweat glands work differently. Some people sweat excessively, while others doing the same workout barely glisten. It’s all dependant upon your body type and your hydration level. Sweating is your body’s way of cooling itself down and not overheating, and you need to keep yourself hydrated because you’re losing water from your body. When you keep yourself hydrated, you’re putting that water back in your body. So don’t worry if you think you aren’t sweating enough. Your heart rate is a better indicator than sweat is when it comes to the effectiveness of your workout.

Myth 4: You have to stretch before you work out.
This is surprisingly untrue. Stretching is not necessary before a workout, and some studies have even shown that it’s not good for you. This is because your muscles will become destabilized and less prepared for your workout, which can cause injury. It can also limit your range of motion so you won’t even be able to properly complete your reps. The proper way to start a workout is with a warm up, which will get your blood pumping. Always stretchafter your workout.

Myth 5: As long as you burn off the calories you intake, you’ll lose weight.
Contrary to popular belief, this is not true. Nutrition is just as important as exercise itself. You need to make sure that your diet is giving you the nutrients you need to maintain your fitness. Just because that cheeseburger had the same amount of calories that you burned off at the gym (which is probably not true in the first place), doesn’t mean you should be eating it. Make sure your diet is rich in lean proteins and fibre so that your muscle tissues can repair after working out. Always make sure you’re getting the right amount of nutrients from every meal. Include super foods and antioxidants whenever you can.

Myth 6: Diets that don’t allow for cheat days are the most effective.
You can rest assured that giving yourself a cheat day is completely fine. Diets that deprive you of a little bit of wiggle room can, and usually do, completely backfire. Depriving yourself is not the answer. Once you deprive yourself of certain foods, you’ll end up binging and losing control the next time you eat them. When you allow yourself to have a cheat day once a week, you’re allowing yourself these delicious foods in moderation, which will satisfy you until the next time you get to eat them. Just knowing that you will get to eat them again will also help you maintain self-control until then. But that being said, just because it’s a cheat day doesn’t mean you can binge and eat badly all day. Allow yourself to have that dessert you want, or get that candy at the movies. You deserve to have some fun now and then. Don’t starve your body, either, because that will also cause you to binge eat.

Myth 7: Women who lift heavy weight will end up big and bulky.
Women and men are built differently. Men are filled with testosterone, which is what allows them to bulk up so fast and end up representing the Hulk when lifting heavy weights. In fact, the lower testosterone levels that women have will actually cause women who lift weights to lose weight and slim down faster. Women will not look like the Hulk if they lift heavier weight unless they’re taking steroids. In fact, heavier weights will help women to get their bodies more toned. Don’t be afraid of looking manly, because it won’t happen! If you want to increase your strength training, start with a lighter weight that you’re comfortable with and work your way up to the heavier weights.

Myth 8: Sports drinks are good for exercising.
The only time your body ever benefits from a sports drink is if you’re doing high intensity or endurance workouts that last longer than an hour. Forget the drink if that’s not you. These drinks can actually have negative effects on your body post-workout. Your body doesn’t need anything but water after a workout, and sometimes the added sugar and calories from a sports drink can backfire on you. There are also tons of ingredients in sports drinks that are not only questionable, but have no scientific backing to them, despite what the commercials say.

Myth 9: You have to work out at least 5 days a week to lose weight.
Everyone’s body is different. That being said, you don’t need to work out every single day. Working out even twice a week is still better than not working out at all. In fact, our bodies often need to reset to repair muscle tissues. This is especially true if you’re doing higher intensity workouts, which you shouldn’t do more than 3-4 times a week in the first place due to risk of injury and muscle tears. You should also keep in mind that working out 5 days a week doing the exact same thing every day won’t help you any more than if you work out twice a week.

Myth 10: The best time to work out is first thing in the morning.
Wrong! There is no proper time to work out. It’s all up to you, your schedule, and your body. If you’re not a morning person and can’t get out of bed early, you’ll be less motivated to maintain a fitness routine and will probably fall out of that routine very quickly. There’s no difference whether you’re working out at 8 a.m. or 8 p.m. as long as you’re working out in the first place. So don’t worry about going to the gym after work because you will benefit just the same as if you worked out before work.

While these are 10 of the most common fitness myths, there are still hundreds more out there that you should watch out for. The best defence against a false fitness rule is to do your research. Make sure you have a reliable source, like a fitness trainer, telling you how to work out. If you don’t, you could end up injuring yourself or deterring your fitness results. If you’re not getting the results you want in your current workout situation, you might be following a myth without realizing it.

So if you hear a fitness rule that sounds a little crazy to you, don’t believe it until you have proof it works!

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Lesley Cornelius

Lesley Cornelius lives in St. Catharines, Ontario, Canada. She is a graduate from Wilfrid Laurier University, with a double major in journalism and history. She writes for both publications at Goddess Connections, “Women Who Run It” and “How to Put the Fun Back Into Dating,” and is an expert on dating and relationships, health, fitness, and nutrition. Lesley writes novels in her spare time and hopes to one day become a successful author, writer, and journalist. For now, she enjoys exploring her interests, playing and watching ice hockey and living every day to its fullest potential. You can contact her at lesley.cornelius6@gmail.com.