5 Fitness Myths: Busted
Everyone with access to the internet claims to be a fitness expert. There are countless blogs and social media pages dedicated to giving you a unique (and sometimes inaccurate) take on what you should be doing to achieve your fitness goals. Well we don’t stand for “sometimes accurate”. So here’s a dose of of truth to debunk the myths and filter out the stuff that simply isn’t the case.
You Should Stretch Before You Workout
We know what you’re thinking. ‘But my middle school gym teacher’s life mission revolved around teaching us to stretch before doing ANYTHING active’. Newsflash: your teacher in short shorts and knee high socks probably didn’t know that stretching before a workout (or dodgeball) can make your muscles weak and unsteady. According to a study in The Journal of Strength and Conditioning Research, a group of 17 men were asked to complete a series of squat exercises during two gym sessions. Before the first session they did a warmup that mimicked the movements that would soon follow. Before the second session, the participants did a series of traditional static stretches focused on loosening their calves, hamstrings and quads. When asked which workout they felt better during, the study showed participants felt 23% less stable and balanced after the traditional stretching.
So, is stretching bad? The answer is no. But it isn’t effective the way a “proper” warm up like running or mimicking your workout moves would be. Get the blood flowing, just don’t mess with your balance and weakening your muscles.
Crunches Will Give You Abs
There are recipes for lots of things in this world, and it just feels like a million crunches should equal great abs. If only it worked like that…There’s an age old adage that goes something like, “Abs are earned it the kitchen.” Beneath our belly fat, our anatomic makeup insists that we all have abs. You are reading this correctly: YOU HAVE ABS. Now it’s time to reveal them.
The best way to bring out those abs is to eat the kind of food in amounts that doesn’t continue to build layers of fat around them. A good diet will actually start to reveal lots of striking features your body has to offer. And though crunches are not an exclusive way to get a great abdominal region, targeted exercises like crunches, planks, pull ups and running, will definitely help expedite that process and build a strong core. Can you get a flat stomach? ABSolutely. But crunches aren’t the secret.
You Can Run Off the Pounds
Some believe that the remedy to shedding excess weight is simply “running it out”. You’ve probably heard someone jokingly say, ‘I need to run a couple miles to burn off all this ice cream’. If that was true then you would only see skinny people running marathons…which you don’t.
Here’s what is true:
Focused weight training is a more effective way to lose weight than chaining yourself to the treadmill. High intensity interval training (HIIT) not only stimulates your blood flow and heart rate but it demands you to expend large amounts of calories to lift weights while moving quickly. This is a great way to kill two birds with one stone. Plus it’s a lot more fun than gliding on the elliptical. This isn’t to say running won’t torch fat- it most certainly will. But it’s definitely not the end all be all.
If You’re Not Sweating, You’re Not Working Hard
We’ve all seen that girl in the gym, sipping out of her water bottle and totally sweaty. She must be working hard, right? Maybe so, but don’t let the presence or lack of sweat tell you if you’re feeling the burn!
In reality, perspiration depends on what the focus of your workout! Is endurance or strength your focus? According to Tom Holland, MS, CSCS, an exercise physiologist and author of Beat the Gym, there are many factors outside of the gym that determine how much you sweat! He said, “People sweat at different rates, depending on their fitness level, air temperature, and humidity.”
Holland also says “Typically, fit people tend to sweat quickly because their systems are more efficient at cooling them down.” Other factors, like whether you’re working on endurance or agility, can affect how much you sweat while exercising. When it comes to this myth just stick to your workout and don’t SWEAT the small stuff! (Sorry, we couldn’t help ourselves.
You Can’t Gain Muscle After 40
Chuck Norris and Christie Brinkley are definitely aspirational figures for when we get older right? Age has a funny stigma that really prohibits some people from pushing themselves physically to where they want to be. Preconceived notions about what your body can and can’t do seem to be a great excuse for why you don’t do (insert life activity here) anymore.
True, your body can’t keep the same pace it used to but nothing medically says that it can’t still make progress with consistent work. It’s important to understand that aches and soreness will come more frequently but that’s to be expected with an aging body. Go a little easier on yourself. Lighten the load with your lifts start to take a toll. Allow yourself ample rest time between workouts. Understand that growth can still happen, just not as rapidly. Be patient. Lastly, pick your battles. You may need to hone in on three of four of your five fitness goals and really focus on that. It’s hard to be great at lots of things, even for young resilient bodies. Choose what you love, choose wisely.
These are just five of the many myths out there! Maybe this was news to you and maybe you’re already a fitness myth buster. The important thing is that you share this info with a friend who might believe some of the fitness conspiracies.
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