Do you believe that crunches will get rid of your belly fat, that stretching before exercise is crucial, that you should never eat before a workout, or that lifting weights will make women bulky? Well, I sure hope you said no to all of these. These are only a few of many myths that are floating out there and I hope that this little article will help clear up some of these misconceptions and make you a more well-informed fitness and health enthusiast.
Myth: Long bouts of low-intensity exercise is better than short bouts of high-intensity exercise
False: the bottom line is that both fat loss and weight loss depend on total energy cost, which means how many calories are burned during activity. The higher your intensity, the more calories you burn....bottom line!
Myth: Carbs are bad for you
False: This is one of my favorites...it really shows the power of mass media and how it succeeded in demonizing carbs. The basic fact is that your body needs all nutrients, you can’t cut out an entire food group and think it’s good for you. All food groups, including fats, serve their own purpose...it’s all about balance. Food groups don’t make you gain weight, calories do!
Myth: Workout hard or not at all
False: You have to find your own way of exercising. Research has shown that any exercise is better than none, even if it’s short bouts of walking or gardening, house cleaning or swimming. Find an activity you like and do it!
Myth: Crunches or sit-ups will get rid of your belly fat
False: spot reduction is impossible; you can’t pick and chose the areas you like to lose fat. Exercise will help you decrease your overall body fat percentage and hopefully in the areas you desire the most
Myth: The less calories you eat, the more weight you lose
False: there is actually “too few calories” and that is bad for you. For your body to function properly, it needs a certain amount of calories and nutrients. If you deprive it of those calories, it will shut down certain processes and slow down your metabolism. It’s like wanting to drive your car without any fuel in it...good luck with that.
Myth: Always stretch before exercise
False: yes, I said it! This is a touchy one and I know some people will disagree but there is quite a bit of research that shows that stretching before exercise can actually make muscles more susceptible to injury. Now don’t get me wrong, this does not mean that stretching is bad...it just means that stretching before exercise might not be your best choice. Stretch after a warm-up or at the end of an exercise routine as it has many positive effects.
Myth: Exercise turns fat into muscle and muscle turns into fat without exercise
False: fat and muscle are two completely different types of cells. It’s possible for one to replace the other but they will never turn into the other. It’s like saying that a banana will turn into an orange with the proper sunlight.
Myth: Weight training will make you bulky
False: Trust me, gaining muscle and keeping it requires hard work and dedication. It's pretty simple: If you feel you’re getting too muscular, just cut back on the weights. Muscles can actually be your best friend in the quest for a “toned” body because the burn more calories than fat, which means that your body burns more calories without you even doing anything....now that’s efficiency at its best!