Just as with any popular pursuit, the world of health and fitness is brimming with myths, legends and half-truths. Some of these are so old and well-entrenched that you might not even realise they are complete fabrications. So just to make sure your fitness routine isn’t based on a load of hogwash, we’ve collected up some of the most common fitness myths — and the truth behind them. Ready to have your mind blown?
Myth #1: Any amount of weight training will turn women into she-hulks
Here’s a myth that’s prevented many a woman from benefiting fully from weight training. The idea that women will become bulky in the same way as men through weight training is nonsensical. The reason? Well, from a biological standpoint an average woman has far too much oestrogen to be able to bulk like a man would. Likewise, men bulk more because of their abundance of testosterone. The woman that are bulky get that way by exerting their muscles in a way that a regular weight workout never would – so feel free to reach for those dumbbells, ladies!
Myth #2: Your fitness equipment is tracking actual calorie burn
We’ve all met someone whose eyes are glued to that small number ticking up as they workout – but does it really mean anything? Experts believe that no, it doesn’t. The numbers shown on machines are more there as a guide to offer motivation. For example, if a machine doesn’t ask you to enter either your weight or age, how can it possibly know exactly how many calories you’re burning? The answer is that is simply doesn’t – but that doesn’t mean you should ignore it entirely. If that calorie number pushes you onward, then keep it in full view!
Myth #3: Weight lifting is useless for losing weight
There’s a significant link between the amount of muscle on your body and your metabolism. In a nutshell, the less muscle you have, the slower your metabolic rate. This means you’ll pack on the pounds more quickly. The solution therefore is to ensure you’re maintaining a certain level of musculature, rather than focusing solely on cardio. Although if you only want to do cardio, you can still get incredible results. As long as you’re not losing muscle, your weight loss (or gain) will be under control.
Myth #4: Spot training can eliminate your belly
Have you ever seen someone doing crunch after crunch in a misguided attempt to eliminate their paunch? It’s easy to see why people subscribe to the idea, but unfortunately, spot training simply doesn’t exist. In order to create a reduction in body fat, cardio and other high-intensity workouts are the most important thing – but it’s an overall reduction, non-specific. The body reduces fat in the same distribution as it packs it on, so if the beer belly got there, it’s also possible to get rid of it – but it will vanish at its own pace.
Have any fitness myths of your own to debunk? Let us know in the comments or via Facebook or Twitter!