man with kettle bell

30 Weight Loss and Fitness Myths You Need To Know

Over the years, You might have heard crazy fitness and weight loss advice so many times that you have come to accept them. But they are not always true and could be detrimental to your physical condition or worse, expose you to injury and health problems.

While some of it sounds completely far out and crazy, some of it sounds legitimate and based in science, especially when it comes from a seemingly knowledgeable and reliable source. Here are 13 of the more common myths and what makes them untrue:

Myth 1: You can target the area of fat you want to get rid of

Unfortunately, weight loss is not like strength training. It is therefore impossible to target a specific area. Cardiovascular training will focus on burning fat from the entire body. And even if you try to do a thousand sit-ups, your abdominal muscles won’t necessarily be more defined.

Read also: How to Shed Body Fat

Myth 2: Running is bad for your knees

Running is not bad for your knees. While the repeated impact places stress on your knees, unless you have knee issues or some type of muscular imbalance, your knees will likely not suffer any damage or any pain. Weaknesses in the hips especially can cause knee pain. If you do experience knee pain while running, it is important to consult your doctor and determine the source of pain.

Read also: Running with an Arthritic Knee

Myth 3: Training on an empty stomach will make you burn fat faster

The theory: your body will burn fat to find the energy it needs if you train on an empty stomach. The reality: your body will go to your muscles for fuel, leaving you with less energy for your workout and potentially causing dehydration, high blood sugar and dizziness.

Some experts also warn that this approach may slow down your metabolism. To optimise your workout, eat a light, digestible meal 90 minutes before you exercise.

Myth 4: Crunches will help reduce belly fat

Unfortunately, we are not able to target where we want to lose fat. Eating healthy, real foods and a balanced exercise routine will help burn fat all over.

Myth 5:  If you’re not working up a sweat, you’re not working hard enough

Sweating is your body’s way of cooling itself off and not necessarily an indication of exertion. Some people just sweat more than others. So don’t worry if you aren’t as sweaty as the guy next to you at the gym, don’t worry – it doesn’t mean he’s working any harder than you.

Myth 6: Heavy cardio is the best way to lose weight and gain muscle

If your goal is to lose weight then a very long cardio workout is not the best solution. It is better to opt for a variable level workout to burn the maximum number of calories and to strengthen your cardio. Running at the same speed for a long time is not as effective as running in the mountains, for example.

Myth 7: No pain, no gain

You may be a little sore within a day or two of working out but shouldn’t feel pain while working out.  If you feel pain during your workout, it’s a good idea to stop and see if the pain goes away.  Working through the pain can lead to serious injury and is not a normal part of working out.

Myth 8: Excessive sweating while exercising means you are out of shape

Actually, it’s just the opposite. Sweating while exercising is a sign of an effective cooler. An athlete who has adapted to keep his or her body cool during exercise transports blood to the surface of the skin more quickly and releases body heat. At the same time, the sweat glands increase their production and thus cool the body as the sweat evaporates. While fit people produce more sweat than sedentary people, they lose less sodium, as more is reabsorbed by the body. The result is a more efficient cooler.

Myth 9: If you stop exercising, your muscles turn to fat

Fat and muscle are two different types of tissue. You can’t convert to the other. The truth is that lack of any physical activities for a longer period of time may cause muscles atrophy. Therefore, if you continue to eat as you always have, but stop exercising, you will see an increase in fat mass and a loss of muscle mass.

Myth 10: Women should avoid lifting weights because they will bulk up

We’ve all seen massive body-building women who can lift massive amounts of weight and parade around in a bikini.  But don’t let this scare you away from lifting weights regularly.  To get a body like that, you would need to follow a very specific diet and lift very heavy weights.  By following a healthy diet and lifting weights 2 to 3 times a week, you’ll simply tone up your muscles and help increase bone density that will reduce your chances of osteoporosis.

Myth 11: Stretching reduces muscle pain

Stretching exercises are performed at the end of each training session. But this is not done in order to reduce pain in the muscles. Stretching is performed after the main fitness unit need in order to relax the muscles and give them some flexibility.

Read also: Does Stretching Reduce Risk of Injuries?

Myth 12: Doing sit-ups every day will give you a six-pack

Although sit-ups are effective, they only work one part of your abdominal muscles. They should therefore be combined with a series of complementary exercises. In addition, to have well-defined stomach muscles, you need to have a fairly low body mass index. We recommend that you combine these exercises with a cardio workout.

Myth 13: More exercise is better

Excessive exercise can end up being harmful for your body.  Scheduling rest days is a critical part of any exercise program.  Your body needs time to rest and heal itself to truly get the benefit of your hard work.

Myth 14: Carbs are bad

Carbohydrates have a bad reputation but in truth are a necessary component of any good fitness program.  Carbs provide the fuel needed for intense workouts.  Just be sure to select the right kind of carbs and avoid processed carbs.

Myth 15: If you workout every day, you can eat whatever you want

If you try to compensate for poor nutrition by exercising, you’ll be disappointed. Although eating poorly and not exercising is far worse for your health than eating poorly and exercising, you will get the most out of your workouts if you fuel them with high quality foods.

The secret to weight loss is regular training and eating healthy food. Of course, if you decide to eat a hamburger, you’ll just have to run longer to get the calories out. However, it’s not a big deal if you don’t do well! Enjoy life as much as you enjoy your food!

Myth 16: Machines are less dangerous than weights

Of course, using a machine eliminates the risk of dropping a dumbbell on your foot, but you could still get injured. Machines that restrict movement can lead to chronic joint pain. Make sure the range of motion is not compromised. And, whatever technique you adopt first take the advice of an expert.

Myth 17: Avoid fat to lose weight

Fats are actually a necessary part of a healthy diet.  The key is to eat healthy fats such as avocados, olive oil, and salmon.  These fats help regulate your appetite and help to maintain healthy hormone levels.

Myth 18: To lose weight, only do cardio and then start lifting weights

Weight lifting helps create lean muscle mass with expends more energy throughout the day.  Cardio sheds more calories but both work hand in hand for weight loss so be sure to include cardio and weights.

Myth 19: All workouts should be intense

It’s better to integrate a healthy lifestyle at your own pace than to adhere to it quickly and lose motivation. In addition, training too intensively could lead to long-term injuries. You need to prepare your body before you start training for sports that are too demanding.

Myth 20: Exercise can solve all your health problems

While consistent exercise can make a huge difference in the quality and quantity of life, it cannot fix everything. People with other health problems and illnesses should always follow a doctor’s advice regarding disease management protocols.

And while exercise alone cannot guarantee your health or cure you of a disease, regular physical activity has been shown to help fight arthritis, heart disease, asthma and diabetes.

Myth 21: Always stretch before exercising

Stretching cold muscles can weaken the muscles and increase the risk of injury.  Rather than stretching before working out, try warming up by getting your blood pumping and stretch AFTER your workout.

Myth 22: The more you sweat, the thinner you get

Unfortunately, the amount of sweat you lose in training is not necessarily related to the calories you burn. Rather, sweat is your body’s technique for tempering itself and is the result of a fine mix of genetics, environmental conditions and temperature.

Myth 23: You’ll only burn fat at your target heart rate

Switching up intensities between high and low intensity will burn more fat over a steady effort.  High intensity interval training has been shown to be more effective at burning fat and burns a higher number of calories.

Myth 25: Pregnant women shouldn’t exercise

If you’re used to working out, being pregnant shouldn’t be a barrier. In addition, there are many classes available that are tailored to expectant mothers. Whether you choose aqua fitness or aerobics, you should be able to find a sport that suits your needs. Of course, it is advisable to see a doctor before engaging in any physical activity.

Myth 26: Rest days are not necessary

You need recovery days for your muscles to rest, just as you need to sleep every day. Think of your recovery days as sleep days for your muscles.”

In addition to increasing your risk of muscle strain, stress fractures and joint pain. Training without proper rest and recovery can cause bigger problems: extreme fatigue, hormonal imbalance, mood changes, etc.  So take a day or two off after an intense workout, but be sure to move around a bit on those days to stay flexible and active.

Myth 27: Building muscle requires massive amounts of protein

There is no scientific evidence to support the popular belief that athletes require massive amounts of protein. According to health experts, strength athletes need a little more protein than others and still need adequate carbohydrates to replenish muscle glycogen.

All high-intensity, high-powered muscle contractions (such as weightlifting) are fuelled with carbohydrates. Neither fat nor protein can be oxidised quickly enough to meet the demands of high-intensity exercise, as dietary carbohydrates must be consumed daily to restore glycogen levels.  To build more muscle, all you need to do is follow a good strength training program and a well-balanced diet.

Read also: What are Health Benefits of Hemp Protein

Myth 28: Running on a treadmill is the same as running outside

Most people believe that running indoors or outdoors has no effect on training results. This is not true. Running outdoors allows the runner to gain more physical resistance as they change terrain and would have to deal with wind or rain.

Read also: Best Treadmills For Home Use in UK

Myth 29: Exercise can erase the effects of the junk food you ate the night before

Calories are not interchangeable because not all foods are the same. So those fries will stick a lot longer than the salad you probably should have chosen instead.

The type of food you eat will cause your hormones to “store or burn fat, boost or slow metabolism, and build or reduce muscle mass”. There’s nothing wrong with splurging once in a while, but don’t make it a habit if you really want to lose weight and stay fit.

Myth 30: You need a gym membership to get results

Having a gym membership is completely unnecessary.  While a gym is nice because of the equipment and classes offered but you can just as easily get an effective workout outside or at home.