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13 Controversial Health and Fitness Myths

13 Controversial Health and Fitness Myths

Table of Contents

Have your ever heard the slogan… No pain, no gain! Below are 13 controversial health and fitness myths to help you make the best decisions about your health. Because sometimes you don’t know what you don’t know especially when it comes to your overall health and fitness making it more difficult to reach your fitness goals.

Myth 1: You can target your fat burn.

Targeting weight loss, or spot reduction, is the concept that you can work out to lose weight or fat in a target area of the body. Targeting weight loss/fat burn is a myth. Your body burns fat based on overall fitness, not small muscle fatigue. Working out can help to minimize your overall body fat, however you cannot control where the fat comes from.

According to the Yale Scientific Magazine, some of the physiological reasons as to why spot reduction doesn’t work are as follows: “The fat contained in fat cells exists in a form known as triglycerides. Muscle cells, however, cannot directly use triglycerides as fuel; it would be analogous to trying to run a car on crude oil. Instead, the fat must be broken down into glycerol and free fatty acids, which then enter the bloodstream.”

Myth 2: You shouldn’t workout on an empty stomach.

Working out on an empty stomach won’t hurt you. Depending on your weight loss goal it could actually help. Your body does, in fact, burn more fat when you hit the gym before breakfast. However, to workout before eating can comes with the risk of “bonking”.

Bonking is the actual sports term for feeling lethargic or light-headed due to low blood sugar. It’s important to know your body and consult with a doctor before starting any new exercise routines. Knowing how your body is going to react if you skip the fuel is the best way to make the best informed decisions for your routine. Regardless of your decision to eat or not to eat before exercise, DO NOT SKIP THE WATER!

Myth 3: No pain, no gain.

Guys, sharp pain or physical impairment never signifies that you had a great workout. A little muscle soreness and discomfort is good. As a matter of fact, the feeling of soreness after a heavy HIIT or Weightlifting session is a nice reminder of your accomplishment. Muscle soreness is a good marker of exercise intensity. If you finish your routine and return for round two a couple days later but you don’t feel the same level of discomfort or soreness afterward; Congratulations, that means your body has adapted. You don’t want to workout so intensly that you damage your progress by injuring yourself.

Myth 4: You should stretch before you workout.

This myth is one I actually try to live by. No one wants to pull a muscle when heading off for a long run. In theory, stretching before exercise should make the muscles more flexible and less likely to tear. But According to Harvard Health Publishing, they have found that stretching a healthy muscle before exercise does not prevent injury or soreness.

Myth 5: Lifting heavy weights bulk you up.

A common misconception about heavy weight training, especially among women, is that lifting heavy weight will lead to a bulky looking muscles. It is true that lifting heavy will promote an increase in muscle size but the idea that it causes a bulky look is untrue.

Some of the benefits of lifting heavy weights include:

  • Stronger muscles, tendons and ligaments leading to more stable joints and overall movement
  • Increase in muscle size (greater in men than women)
  • Decrease in body fat due to burning calories and favorable hormonal balance
  • Increase in bone density
  • Increase in production of neurotransmitters leading to better mood and balanced state of mind
  • Improved physical coordination

Myth 6: Exercise machines beat free weights.

Some exercise equipment are designed for men, making it difficult for women to achieve correct form when utilizing them. Because machines target particular muscle groups, you burn fewer calories when exercising on one than you would when working out free-style.

But do they target the same muscles? Yes, both free weights and machines will work many of the same muscles. But when you’re comparing apples to apples, free weights work more muscles than machines do.

Myth 7: Running on a treadmill is as effective as running outside.

The benefits of treadmill running are that is it more convenient, lower-impact, and much more precise; however, unless you are utilizing a gym membership; the cost of a treadmill is higher than other running options.

Outdoor running often feels more engaging and can reduce poor mental health symptoms; additionally, outdoor running is cheaper overall but may bring weather or injury issues.

Even if you think you’re going at the same pace on a treadmill, you will burn more calories running outdoors. This discrepancies in calorie intake occurs not only because of different settings like terrain, weather and wind but also because the treadmill is doing some of the work by pushing you forward.

Myth 8: You shouldn’t workout everyday.

One of the most popular misleading health and fitness myths is that you shouldn’t exercise everyday. Exercise provides heaps of benefits and should be part of your weekly schedule. However, in general, it is not necessary for you to exercise every day, especially if you are doing strenuous activities or attempting to push yourself to your limits.

Working out every day is wonderful, as long as you don’t push yourself too hard or become obsessed with it. When arranging a workout program, a day of rest is typically recommended every week, but you may occasionally feel compelled to work out every day to keep up your activity levels.

Myth 9: You can’t workout when you’re sick.

You can workout as long as you FEEL good enough to work out, and don’t have a fever. It is your choice to exercise when you’re feeling sick. However, if you have chest congestion and you can’t get through a few minutes without having to cough or stop to rest, you might wanna consider taking a rest day. Always listen to your body and if you’re not sure go ahead and ask your doctor.

Myth 10: Sweating means you’re out of shape.

Sweating during exercise may lead you to believe you are out of shape because the strain it places on your body. This myth is incorrect. Sweating increases due to a higher blood volume and extra fluid available to be sweated out, which is why a conditioned physique sweats more.

Myth 11: Crunches are the best exercise for your core.

Abdominal crunches are commonly thought of as a way to strengthen the core muscles. While abdominal crunches can certainly aid in core strength, they aren’t the only exercises you should concentrate on in order to build your core.

Keep in mind that crunches only work one portion of your core. There are a variety of other exercises that target the muscles in your abdomen and lower back, such as planks, side planks, and Pilates exercises. These exercises are often more effective than crunches because they engage more muscles at once and improve your balance and stability.

Myth 12: Working out increases your appetite.

This is not exactly false, many research studies have proven that working out decreases levels of the appetite-stimulating hormone ghrelin and increases levels of the appetite-suppressing hormone leptin. But another research study shows the apparent hunger-suppressing effect doesn’t always apply to ALL women.

Myth 13: Running beats walking.

Running and walking have several health advantages, including maintaining a healthy weight and boosting heart health, but they can also come with drawbacks. Both can help improve mental health, overall health, and contribute to weight loss goals.

Because running is more strenuous than walking, it puts additional strain on the body and increases the likelihood of developing an injury — especially in the joints.

Since running burns more calories per minute than walking it is the clear winner for those wanting a quicker workout. However, walkers can still burn the same number of calories by doing so for longer and without the possible risk.

We hope this article has armed you with the knowledge to debunk some of the most common health and fitness myths. Remember, if you have any questions or concerns about your health and fitness journey, contact your local American Health and Fitness location for more information. Our team of experts are here to help you achieve all of your fitness goals- from weight loss to muscle gain!

As always, please consult with a physician prior to beginning any exercise program or diet. See full medical disclaimer here.

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