Chances are you’ve heard all kinds of advice when it comes to working out. But are these maxims fact — or fiction? Don’t believe these common workout whoppers:
Myth #1: Exercise should hurt. Whether you’ve been told “No pain, no gain,” or that you should “feel the burn,” the reality is that exercise doesn’t have to be painful to be effective. In fact, pushing yourself too hard, too fast will most likely lead to an injury — not a fit physique!
Myth #2: You can target specific areas. Don’t buy into the myth of spot exercising to reduce fat in a particular area. While it’s true that strengthening exercises will target specific muscles — for example, crunches strengthen your abdominal muscles — no exercise can burn fat in a specific area.
Myth #3: To benefit from cardio, you have to do it for at least an hour at a time. It’s just not true that if you don’t have an hour to exercise, you may as well not bother. For weight loss, it’s just as effective to work out frequently for shorter periods (such as 10 or 15 minutes). Remember, it all adds up.
Myth #4: If you strength train, you’ll get bulky. Many people avoid strength training because they’re afraid of it will cause them to bulk up. The truth is, while resistance training helps you maintain your lean muscle mass, building substantial amounts of muscle is very difficult, especially when you’re losing weight. Unless you’re a bodybuilder following a program designed to increase your muscle mass, odds are you won’t bulk up.
Myth #5: If you exercise, you can eat whatever you want. While exercise does burn calories, what and how much you eat still matters. For example, a one-mile walk burns about 100 calories — so you’d have to walk for 12 miles to burn off the typical 1,200-calorie fast-food meal of a hamburger, fries, and a soft drink!
Myth #6: There’s a quick fix. When it comes to fitness, slow and steady wins the race. Don’t buy into advertisements that promise certain fitness equipment or activities will get you in shape quickly or with no effort.