The Top 15 Fitness Myths Debunked

Top 15 Fitness Myths Debunked

The Top 15 Fitness Myths Debunked

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The Top 15 Fitness Myths Debunked


  1. MYTH: You should focus on cardio for weight loss.

TRUTH: Strength training burns more calories than cardio so hit the weights 3-4 days a week. It builds lean muscle mass and lean muscle both increases the metabolism and decreases body fat percentage. A body with lean muscle burns more fat because muscle is harder for the body to maintain. Despite muscle only burning an additional 6-10 calories per pound, that boost combined with regular workouts produce results.


  1. MYTH: Do cardio first.

TRUTH: Starting with cardio depletes energy stores meaning you don’t have much glycogen (extra energy from carbs primarily stored in the muscles and liver) remaining to fuel your strength training. Instead, do cardio and strength training on separate days.


  1. MYTH: Fasted cardio burns more fat.

TRUTH: Fasted cardio does not burn more fat and completing a cardio workout on an empty stomach is difficult since there’s little energy present to fuel your efforts. Additionally, you’ll run the risk of entering catabolism which is when the body begins to burn muscle for fuel.


  1. MYTH: Toning and building muscle are different.

TRUTH: Toning and building muscle are the same. Both involve gaining muscle mass. To what extent is what feeds this myth. While women often prefer less mass, men prefer more.


  1. MYTH: Running on a treadmill has less impact on the knees.

TRUTH: Whether you’re running on a treadmill or asphalt, the knees take a hit but not as much as you think. The impact is just a result of the movement forcing your body weight to put stress on your joints.

  1. MYTH: No pain, no gain (or progress).

TRUTH: Pain does not indicate effectiveness or progress. In fact, pain indicates that something is wrong. Physical activity should not hurt while you’re doing it. Will you experience soreness afterwards? Sure, but soreness and pain differ.

  1. MYTH: Muscle weighs more than fat.

TRUTH: A pound is a pound. Whether you have one pound of sand or one pound of feathers, they are both a pound.

  1. MYTH: Crunches are the best way to beat belly fat.

TRUTH: Crunches only target superficial muscles located at the front of the abdomen and do not burn many calories making them quite an ineffective exercise. Instead, focus on core work to target the transverse abdominal muscles located deep within the abdomen. When strong, they act as a corset. As for why they burn more fat, core work activates more muscles and increased muscle activation means more calorie expenditure.


  1. MYTH: Exercise erases a poor diet.

TRUTH: You know how fitness pros say abs begin in the kitchen? Well so does everything else. In fact, 80% of what you look like depends on what you eat. Also, let’s not forget the impact diet has on overall health.


  1. MYTH: Stretch before every workout.

TRUTH: A study done by researchers at the University of Nevada found that stretching actually weakens muscles thus making workouts less effective by decreasing force output. Because of this, it is best to warm up before physical activity since working cold muscles increases the risk of injury. Also, ensure to cool down post workout.


  1. MYTH: If you don’t sweat, you’re not working hard enough.

TRUTH: Sweating is a natural response used to regulate body temperature. Rather than reflecting a workout’s intensity, all sweating reflects is an increase in body temp. This can happen because you naturally get warmer than others, you’re in a hot room or are exercising on a warm day.


  1. MYTH: More gym time is best.

TRUTH: Rest days are essential because when you rest, the body heals, especially muscles. Rest days are when they have time to repair and during that process, they become bigger, stronger and more resilient. When you exercise every day, the body isn’t given the chance to heal and improve.


  1. MYTH: You’ll burn more fat if you stay in the fat burning zone.

TRUTH: The fat burning zone is about 65% of your MHR (max heart rate) which isn’t vigorous exercise. Yes, fat is used as fuel during low intensity exercise but overall caloric expenditure determines fat burn and weight loss. To shed pounds, a caloric deficit is required meaning you must burn more calories than consumed.

  1. MYTH: You need protein after strength training.

TRUTH: With a healthy balanced diet, there’s no need to supplement protein. The only exceptions are bodybuilders or individuals looking to gain a considerable amount of mass.


  1. MYTH: Machines are better than free weights.

TRUTH: Machines limit range of motion and remove the challenge of stability while free weights increase the risk of injury and require more skill level making it difficult for beginners so one is not better than the other. Instead, consider your fitness needs and skill level or try adding both to your fitness routine.


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