We’re all looking to maximize results while minimizing time and effort in the gym, right? That search for shortcuts has translated into a ton of myths about exercise. The following are the top
5 6 exercise myths I’ve come across over the past couple years.
1. Crunches flatten your stomach.
Absolutely FALSE! Crunches alone won’t flatten your stomach, because there are no exercises to reduce fat in specific areas of your body.
You can’t spot reduce. Your body decides where to store fat, and a lot of that is based on your genetics.
The best way to get a flat stomach is to burn calories to reduce fat in the first place. Crunches will tone areas, but won’t reduce the fat there on their own.
Crunches are by no means bad, they do burn calories, so performing large numbers of them daily will contribute to weight loss but not as effectively as cardio and eating right.
2. When you stop working out your muscle turns to fat.
They are two different types of tissue, muscle doesn’t turn into fat and fat doesn’t turn into muscle.
This myth probably originated from people seeing toned, muscular athletes (i.e. Arnold Schwarzenegger) develop rolls with age.
When you stop working out, you rapidly lose muscle and gain fat, potentially giving the appearance that muscle is turning into fat. Muscle can literally turn into fat, but you only see it in some extreme circumstances.
If you don’t want to get fat, here’s a solution that never fails… KEEP HITTING THE GYM!
3. Heart rate monitors will let you know how hard you’re working.
Heart rate monitoring is a flawed science.
The better detector of how hard you’re working is your body.
The talk test is one I like to do with my clients, it can measure how intensely you’re working out depending on whether you can talk in full sentences, short phrases or if you’re barely able to muster a few words.
4. Stretch before exercising or you’ll injure yourself.
The biggest myth of them all!
The most recent studies have found that stretching will not help you avoid injury. Stretching does not affect muscle compliance during *eccentric activity when most strains are believed to occur.
Also stretching, regardless of form, does not reduce muscle soreness. Another myth busted within a myth.
If you’re feeling a little tight before a workout your best bet is to warm up for 5-10 minutes with some light cardio.
5. Women who weight train get bulky.
If I had a nickel for every time I heard this in the gym…
This myth is annoying and far from the truth.
Men who work out a lot may bulk up, but that is because of the anabolic testosterone that men’s bodies produce. The average woman, therefore, should not be worried.
Women who do strength training may gain some mass, but will lose an equivalent amount of mass in fat. So basically you’re trading fat for muscle.
Who wouldn’t make that trade!
6. If you’re physically fit that means you’re healthy.
I know the title said 5 myths but I couldn’t leave this one out; and 5 sounds better than 6.
While being physically fit and being healthy are closely linked, they are not synonymous.
Many young people, especially in their 20s, stay thin without exercising but are one doughnut away from being diagnosed with diabetes. Contrary to popular belief thin people CAN (say it with my skinny folk, C-A-N) benefit from exercise, which combats physical conditions as well as mental conditions, like depression.
Also, people with type 1 diabetes or people who have recently suffered heart attacks or strokes can better manage their illnesses if they’re in good shape.
*Eccentric activity is where the muscle is contracting, and an external force is trying to lengthen the muscle (ex. bicep curls).