Physical fitness-related goals without fail find their way to the top of people’s new year’s resolutions every year. Even for people who don’t make plans at the beginning of the year, there remains an unspoken desire if not an intention to exercise more. There’s also the added societal pressure to attain what passes for that period’s acceptable body type and shape. This internal and external pressure leads to the proliferation of myths about exercise and physical fitness. Here are some myths that have been debunked.
Myth: Exercise can turn fat into muscles
This must be the most common of the myths about exercise. Muscle and fat are different kinds of tissues and cells, so one cannot turn into another. Muscle tissue has protein, water, and glycogen while fat consists of bundles of fatty acids. A similar misconception is if you don’t use your muscles, they’ll turn into fat. Your muscle mass can shift for a variety of reasons but not transform into fat.
Myth: The more you sweat, the more fat you burn
It makes sense to assume that the amount of sweat produced is directly proportional to the amount of fat you have burned when you exercise. It would be wrong though. Sweat is a biological response that cools your skin and regulates body temperature. The quantity of sweat is more likely a product of the high temperature in the gym, the weather in general, or even your personal physiology. Don’t believe the lie that if you’re not working up a sweat you’re not working hard enough.
Myth: Exercise is the best way to lose weight
Efforts to lose weight should begin with changing your eating habits. Research shows that when it comes to weight loss diet plays a bigger role than exercise. A pervasive myth in a similar vein is as long as you exercise you can eat whatever you want. Exercise cannot erase the negative effects of your bad eating habits.
Myth: No pain no gain
This is one of the most widely accepted and most harmful exercise myths out there. It is expected that you will experience some soreness a day or two after working out. However, that is very different from experiencing pain while working out. Pain while exercising shows one of two things, you’re either doing it wrong or you already have an injury. You certainly should not work through the pain. Stop until the pain goes away then start working out again. If it resurfaces and/or increases while you’re exercising you should go see a doctor.
Myth: Weight training makes women look manly
This myth can be traced to the association of weight-lifting almost exclusively with bodybuilders, strongmen, and professional athletes. Building bulk muscles is the result of long-term and hard weight training, proper nutrition, and calorie surplus. It takes so much more time and frequent effort to tighten the muscle tissue. It is in fact impossible to achieve male-like bulk naturally without using sports pharmacology which is destructive to women’s health. Don’t be afraid to add weight training to your exercise routine.
Myth: Sports drinks are the best way to hydrate post-workout
Most sports drinks are just sugar and water. Experts recommend refuelling with good, old, trusted H2O (water) and if possible high-protein snacks. Protein helps recondition the muscles after exercise.
Myth: “I just want to tone my muscles”
That’s the wrong way to look at it. You can only lose fat and your muscles are already toned, you just can’t see them because of the layer of fat covering them. The first thing you need to do is shift to a healthier diet then continue with your exercise regimen.
Myth: Swimming is a great way to lose weight
Swimming does a fantastic job at increasing lung capacity, toning muscles and helping burn off excess tension. It however is not a great exercise choice for someone looking to lose weight. The water’s buoyancy supports your weight so you don’t work as much or burn off as much fat. In fact, there’s the danger of it causing you to eat more because of how ravenous people usually are after swimming. You’d have to swim for hours daily in order to lose weight from it as a workout.
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Myth: Targeted fat loss is possible
Now, this is one we all wish was true. It would be great to exercise targeting the fat in certain areas, unfortunately, that is just not the case. Workouts will burn calories thus leading to weight loss, but it affects the whole body. To get desired results, just stick to your workout plan and don’t aim for rapid progress. There are no shortcuts here.
Myth: You have to work out daily to reach your goals faster
Your muscles experience microtraumas when you exercise and require recovery time. Allowing your body this recovery time has a direct effect on how much progress you will make. This is why you need to set the right pace. If you ignore this and exercise to exhaustion over a long time, your body may revolt and react with:
- Increased appetite and weight gain due to protective mechanisms
- Menstrual cycle dysfunction
- Sleep disorders and constant fatigue
The number of workouts is dependent on your fitness level. Beginners should try and exercise every other day or at least twice per week. Take your time, your fitness journey is a marathon, not a sprint.
What type of exercises are right for you?
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