Fitness myths are abundant. Like knats, they’re everywhere and persistent!
We are all in search of the most fitness benefit with the least amount of effort which is why so many of us get sucked into the “Lose 20 pounds in 2 days!” headlines promising quick and easy results. But there are no shortcuts. A well-balanced, well-thought-out plan is the best plan. Be sure to educate yourself before engaging in any fitness plan.
Here are some common myths to be aware of…
- Muscle turns to fat when you stop exercising. Apples and oranges. Two different things and one can’t turn into the other. The same is true for muscle tissue and fat tissue. Muscle tissue revs your metabolism and if you stop exercising, you lose muscle mass which slows your metabolism so you gain weight. Your body will swap muscle mass for fat tissue but one doesn’t change into the other.
- Lifting weights will make me look like Arnold Schwarzenegger. I hear this claim from women often and the truth is, the average exerciser won’t train hard enough to make this happen. That requires a tremendous amount of training time and intensity. Many women have the illusion they are getting bigger when strength training because they still carry a layer of fat over the muscle. As they continue to build muscle they look bulkier. Focusing on a balanced fitness program and healthy nutrition will help you get lean and not bulked up.
- Running will ruin your knees. I can’t even count the number of times someone has said this to me! Running is an efficient, cheap and readily available cardio exercise that almost anyone can do. As long as you have a properly fitting pair of shoes, you ease into the running and have a well-rounded strength training plan, you should be just fine. People you have pre-existing knee conditions should probably steer clear of running and other high-impact activities as these could aggravate the problem. No type of exercise is completely injury-proof, however, if done properly, running should not cause knee problems.
- “I exercise so I can eat whatever I want.” The bottom line is, if you eat more calories than you burn, you will gain weight. Everyones metabolism is different and everyone requires nutrients in slightly different proportions but a healthy diet has to be part of an overall fitness program. If you take the time and energy to exercise, why would you negate all your hard work by filling up on junk food? You can’t out train a bad diet.
- You can spot-reduce certain body parts. Wouldn’t this be fabulous if it were true?! Your metabolism works as an overall body system, not a collection of individual parts. So doing 500 crunches a day will not whittle your waist. When your body burns calories, it works allover. Simple as that.
- No Pain, No Gain. Someone who is very out of shape will certainly have discomfort and soreness whenever they begin something new. Even someone in great shape that pushes themselves hard will have some soreness at times. Muscle soreness after a particularly intense training session is not unusual. And lack of soreness doesn’t mean the workout wasn’t effective. But acute pain is a sign that something is not right. Pay attention to your body during and after exercise. If you’re having pain not related to general muscle soreness, back off and have it checked. If staying healthy is the goal then being in pain is not leading to that goal!
There are many, many myths about fitness out there and these are only a few of the more common ones. Think twice when you hear something about fitness that just doesn’t seem right or seems too good to be true.