According to a study, 80 percent of Americans do not get the recommended exercise, i.e. either they do not exercise at all or they focus on limited aspects of exercise only.
What’s more, false exercise related notions, or myths can quickly spread. Exercising misconceptions obstruct your progress rather than help you achieve your goals. Here are 7 common myths about exercising, debunked:
1. More Cardio Means More Weight Loss
Enter any gym and most of the overweight women and men will be on the cardio floor. Unfortunately, spending hours on the treadmill isn’t a magic ticket for melting fat.
The results will not be most favorable, especially if a lot of weight is to be lost. The problem with regular cardio activities like running on the treadmill, cycling, etc. is that the body soon becomes habituated to the relatively low intensity of these activities and hence actually burns lesser calories per minute with time.
Also, you tend to lose plenty of precious muscle tissue with the fat that you lose. In effect, the belly still bulges, and the arms still lack any toning.
Needless to mention, cardio is rarely an effective long-term weight loss or fat loss solution. A superfood rich diet, well adopted and followed works wonders in lowering down excess weight.
2. A Concept Called ‘Lean Muscle’ Exists
Hearing people mention the term ‘lean muscle’ is commonplace. For instance, people often say ‘I just want to build lean muscle’. Welcome to the real world, there is no such thing as ‘lean muscle.’
In fact, all muscle is ‘lean muscle.’ So, when people use this term, they’re likely talking about Lean Body Mass, i.e. the absence of body fat. In terms of weight, it is your body weight excluding any weight from fat.
Hence, wanting to build lean muscle actually means wanting to burn fat and build muscle. Lean Body Mass or the Fat-free Mass includes the weight of organs, skin, bones, body water and muscle mass.
Among these components, the two major areas which impact Lean Body Mass are body water and muscle mass.
3. Sit-ups Are The Best Ab Exercise
At the gym, one of the most common sights is a bunch of people doing sit-ups in the abs area. Needless to mention, they all are in the hopes of getting flat bellies this way.
However, spot reduction does not work. While sit-ups are definitely vital for strengthening your abdominal muscles and for preventing lower back pain, they do not banish belly fat at all.
For losing this stubborn fat, you need to lose fat from all over your body. Moving is the key to breaking down body fat, hence make it a point to include cardiovascular exercise if you want to lose weight anywhere on your body.
Also, an effective abs workout focused on banishing belly fat must include all types of crunches, bicycle exercise and a variety of planks.
4. Static Stretches Are Sacred
A wrong pre-workout notion is that if you lose your muscles up by stretching, you would be nice and fitter for your workout, thus reducing the risk of any muscle tears or pulls.
But research has proven that pre-workout stretching does not prevent injury at all. Instead, increasing blood flow to your muscles prepares them for the impending exercise.
So, about 10 minutes of light cardio should work for you as a warm-up. It’s very crucial to warm up before strenuous exercise, as it can prevent injury.
On the other hand, pre-exercise static stretches may impair performance because a loose muscle generates less force than the one that is taut.
Also, stretching ‘cold’ muscles damages them and a better approach is to save static stretching for after exercise when your muscles are warm.
It is advisable to hold each stretch for 20 to 30 seconds, even if you feel tightness or slight discomfort.
Last but not the least, many confuse ‘stretching’ with ‘warming up.’ To get the most out of your gym workout, make sure you warm up properly before you begin a workout and leave the static stretches for doing immediately post workout.
5. You Should Hit The Gym Every Day
Going by the simple logic that more exercise means better health, a daily visit to the gym seems to be a must.
However, a great deal of research shows that a healthy exercise regimen does not mean that you should spend hours at the gym every single day. The reason being that your body needs to rest and allow muscles to cool down.
If you skip the much-required rest, then, once you get back to the grind, your muscle fibers will be too tired to grow. For the best results, take a day or two off your workout each week, and take a half-hour walk on such days.
6. For Maximum Gains, You Have To Gain Protein Immediately
Common thinking decrees that the time frame post-workout where your body’s muscle-building period is at its max is about 30 minutes.
No wonder you might have seen people guzzling protein shakes in your gym’s lobby. But, according to a study on sports nutrition, this anabolic window is somewhere in the 4- to 6-hour range.
While there is no harm in immediate protein consumption, it is also not a must to rush for it. In fact, science is even less conclusive on whether consuming protein after aerobic exercise is advantageous.
Consuming carbohydrates and not proteins after exercise may help endurance athletes, particularly if they have another training session later in the day.
7. More Sweat Means More Fat Burn
Sadly, you don’t lose fat when you sweat, rather it is the lost body water that you need to deal with. If you perspire more during exercise, then it is very likely that you have more sweat glands.
Sweating is your body’s mechanism of cooling down by releasing the stored hydration, and so it means you need to rehydrate. Also, environmental factors like hot and humid weather increase the amount you sweat.
Extreme perspiration, body ache and pain in the liver could be sign of other conditions. Hence not the right indicator of how many calories you burn during your workout.
In fact, you can burn calories and hence fat during activities where you hardly or don’t sweat at all. For instance, you still burn fat by swimming, lifting light weights, or by exercising when it’s cold outside in the winter.
On reading up these common myths and the actual facts surrounding various aspects of exercise, tomorrow you are sure to hit the gym with a clear mind and realistic fitness goals.