In an age of information overload, it can be tough to decipher what is fact and what is fiction. Health and fitness misconceptions are everywhere and they can have a very damaging effect on your mindset and workout results. Some can even downright put you off working out in the first place! It’s time to bust some of those common myths…
I don’t need to lose weight so I don’t need to exercise
Being a long-tall Sally with a small body frame means I have always been naturally slim. This doesn’t mean that I don’t need to do all the exercise that I do though. I would probably still be slim if I didn’t exercise, but I would not be very fit or healthy! Looks can be deceiving. Just because a person is slim does not mean they are healthy. Weight loss is only one benefit of exercising out of a VERY long list of other important benefits. It helps to reduce stress, improve your mental health, increase your flexibility, boost your energy levels and improve your overall health.
Sit ups = Six pack
People don’t often believe me when I say that everyone has a six pack! Visible or not, we all have abdominal muscles. For most of us they are hidden under one or several layers of fat, BUT, they ARE there. In truth, to acquire a six pack that the eye can see, you need a very low body fat percentage. Your genetic makeup has a lot to do with this. However, washboard abs aren’t impossible as we know. It is actually cardio that is needed to shed body fat in order to reveal your abs, not sit ups. Of course, sit ups are brilliant for strengthening your core and adding tone and definition to your stomach but these alone will not result in a visible six pack.
I need to work out more for better results
When it comes to results, it’s all about the intensity and content of your workout as opposed to the length of it. Over-training can result in injury and hinder the body’s ability to recover properly. You should be exercising smarter, not harder. The term, ‘no pain, no gain,’ is one of the biggest myths out there as you shouldn’t be exercising at a level of pain. Recovery is just as important as the exercise itself as this is the period of time when the body adapts to the stresses placed on it. This is when we build strength, endurance and muscle.
There must be a quicker way
Unfortunately, there isn’t a quick fix for getting back in shape. You have to ask yourself this – how long did it take to put on that excess weight? Whatever your answer is, I doubt it was ‘a couple of weeks.’ Therefore, reversing the effects of weight gain will likewise take longer than this. You may find programmes that offer fast results but these results will rarely be long lasting. Your exercise plan needs to be sustainable in the long run for results that last. It’s all about making exercise part of your life, making it a habit, a part of your routine. Many people take up exercise as a hobby for a few months to reach a certain goal only then to give it up. You have to keep at it if you want to keep reaping the benefits.
Your weight defines your health
Whilst weighing scales can tell you how much you weigh, they cannot tell you how healthy you are. Your weight does not distinguish between pounds of muscle and pounds of fat. You could be a heavy weight but have a high muscle percentage. You should be more interested in your body composition and improving fitness level as opposed to weight alone. Weight does not provide the whole picture.
If you’re not sweating then you’ve not worked hard enough
We tend to place a lot of significance on sweat when it comes to the quality of a workout. However, sweat is not directly related to fat burning. Yes, sweat does mean that your body is working to cool you down which usually means you are working hard. The problem is that how much we sweat can depend on many variables including the room temperature, our clothing and our diet. This makes it difficult to differentiate between sweating because you’ve had a good workout and sweating because it was humid for example. So, don’t panic if you’re not very sweaty at the end of a class, it doesn’t mean it was a waste of time!
Exercising on an empty stomach is a good tactic
This may sound like a potential fat-loss boosting strategy. Sadly, the body does not seek out fat reserves when we work out in this way. Instead, your body cannot enter the burning process without glucose and taps into your muscle tissue for energy. To conclude, you will not only NOT be burning any fat, you will be losing muscle and therefore tone and definition. A lose-lose situation!