In fitness, and in many other things for that matter, for every few truths you will undoubtedly find a lie or myth that many people fall prey to. Even we’re guilty of falling for a myth or two, and let us be the first to tell you that believing the lies will undoubtedly cost you in one way or another. In an effort to help people avoid making the same mistakes we’ve made, we’re putting together a list of the most common fitness myths that people fall for. Ready? Check them out below.
Myth 1: You Can Spot Train Fat Loss
For some reason, people think that you can focus fat loss in certain parts of the body. Unfortunately, as much as we want to target the fat in our bellies directly, it’s just not possible. Your fat cells are spread out across your whole body, so if you want to burn fat in particular area of your body, you’ll have to lose fat overall. Some exercises you can implement to get your whole body working and burning fat effectively is high-intensity interval training, or HIT for short, and strength or weight training.
Myth 2: If You Want 6-Pack Abs You Need to do a Lot of Crunches
No, no, no, no, no! While crunches, or sit-ups for that matter, will definitely help improve your abdominal strength, they’re not going to help you develop those washboard abs you’ve always wanted. Here’s a fun fact: your abs are actually designed to work best when you’re standing up, so many fantastic ab exercises are actually those that require your body to be upright (hanging leg raises, for example). Now that’s not to say that other ab exercises are obsolete, like planks for example, but you can definitely get more bang for your buck with more than just a crunch.
Myth 3: Strength Training Will Make You Bulky
For men, this myth isn’t much of a problem, but women definitely tend to buy into this myth far too often for our liking. Ladies, listen, it’s pretty difficult for you to bulk up through regular strength training alone for a couple of reasons. The most obvious one? We don’t have enough testosterone in our systems to cause us to bulk up. In fact, strength training has quite the opposite effect for women because it allows you to lean up more. Weight training is a crucial component of your fitness regimen because it boosts your metabolism and help you burn more fat even after your workout ends.
Myth 4: You Need Tons of Cardio to Lose Weight
We touched on this a bit in the previous myth, but no, cardio isn’t your singular solution to weight loss. While cardio is absolutely crucial to help create a daily calorie deficit and contributes to weight loss, it doesn’t have as much long-term fat burn power as weight training does. At the end of day, striking a balance between cardiovascular training and strength training is the best way to burn fat and lean up. Oh, and don’t forget a healthy diet!
Myth 5: You Need Heavy Weights and Machines for Strength Training
Contrary to popular belief, strength training doesn’t mean heavy dumbbells, complicated weight machines or the like. All you really need to get a good strength training session in is to create resistance for your muscles to work against. If you don’t want to use weights but want to start working on strength, body weight exercises are actually the best place to start. Other options include resistance bands, kettle bells and medicine balls.
Myth 6: Anything Under 20 Minutes of Cardio Isn’t Worth It
What? You mean you don’t need to spend an hour of the treadmill to get a good cardio work out in? Yes, that’s exactly what we mean. In fact, you can get a killer cardio session done in under 20 minutes by utilizing interval training or circuit training. These kinds of workouts really push your respiratory system to their limits and force your body to deliver oxygen to your muscles as efficiently as possible. The result? Awesome after burn effects. If you want to spend even less time doing your cardio, you can try Tabata workouts, which, when done properly, results in just a 4-minute cardio routine. Fast, but so very challenging and so very worth it.
Myth 7: More is Better
We’ve got a lot of people out there believing that the more you work out, the better it is for your body. Well folks, it’s time to heave a huge sigh of relief because that’s definitely not true. One of the most important parts about working out and getting fit is making sure that you get enough rest. This is because when we work out, we’re actually breaking muscle fibers. Getting a sufficient amount of rest in allows our muscles to rebuild get stronger. We recommend getting up to 2 days of rest in weekly. That doesn’t mean turning into a couch potato for 2 days out of the week, mind you. It means getting in some gentle stretching or a leisurely walk in to let your body stretch out but recover at the same time.
Myth 8: Yoga Doesn’t Count as a Workout
We honestly don’t understand why some folks love to hate on yoga. Sure, some yoga classes are gentle and relaxing, but that doesn’t come anywhere near the full breath of what yoga is all about. Many yoga classes are tough and will kick your butt faster than you can say Vinyasa. If you think that yoga is a walk in the park, we encourage you to give Bikram or power yoga a try. We guarantee you a humbling experience that will push your strength, balance and control to its limit. We also guarantee that you’ll wake up two days later feeling pretty darn sore and feeling muscles in places you didn’t think they exited. There are also several great yoga sequences that can help build endurance and muscle definition in your body so make sure to give those a shot too.