In this age of technology, we have seemingly endless access to quality information about virtually anything, and access to great fitness advice is no exception. With all the websites, blogs, social media platforms, videos, publications, and other forms of media out there, you’d think we’d be less apt to believe outdated and counterproductive information. Unfortunately, you’d be wrong.
Regardless of our (or our friends’, family members’, or personal trainers’) best intentions, we can still run the risk of basing our exercise habits on bad advice from time to time.
Here are a few of the more popular fitness myths:
The best time to exercise is _______________ .
Some people swear by working out first thing in the morning. Others prefer to exercise at night. So which is best? The truth is, there is no single best time of day to work out. The best time to do it is when you feel most like doing it, have time to do it, and when you can do your best while doing it. Be consistent. No matter when you exercise, be sure give it your all, give yourself time to recover, and eat a healthy diet, and you’ll see positive results.
“No pain, no gain”
How many times have you heard this? Well, it’s not true. While it’s OK to experience a little discomfort or soreness during and after a workout, it’s by no means mandatory. You can still see progress without it. In fact, if you start to experience sharp or severe pain—especially when accompanied by swelling—stop what you’re doing. If the pain worsens after you’ve employed the RICE (rest, ice, compression, elevation) method, you may want to consult your physician.
Running is the best way to lose weight.
Walking is great exercise. Running is great, too. You can burn some amount of calories while you walk, and some more while you run, but you can burn even more by spending the same amount of time by doing a circuit routine. For best results, do a mixture of cardio and strength training.
For many with hectic schedules and responsibilities, the time needed to get in a run may not even be realistic. Check out these exercise ideas to burn fat without running.
You must exercise to lose weight.
Make no mistake: Exercise is fantastic. Working out provides numerous benefits, including burning calories. Whether you work out or not, however, the best way to watch your weight is to keep an eye on what you put in your mouth. Start by consuming healthier foods and fewer calories. If you do that, exercise will be gravy. Or icing on the cake. Well, it won’t actually be those things… Oh, you know what we mean.
While exercise has its health benefits, reducing calorie intake on its own may have even more.
Doing cardio will make you too weak to lift weights.
You’ve probably heard this before, too, and, no, it’s not true, either. It’s more about scheduling. If you need to add muscle, focus on that first, then do your cardio. If you need to get caught up your cardio, do that first, and then use your remaining time to lift weights. And If you need to work on both, devote separate days to each. Considering switching up the days, too, to keep things from getting stale or boring.
You can’t get six-pack abs without doing crunches.
Ok… Raise your hand if you thought the only was to get a six-pack was by doing crunches. Similar to losing weight, diet plays perhaps the biggest role in your ability to achieve a six-pack. Focusing exclusively on crunches is nearly futile and hurt your back, while Incorporating things like squats, presses, and deadlifts into your workout routine will help develop your abs by default. Still, your body fat needs to be low before you can even think of your abs, and lowering your body fat starts with your diet.
Heavy weights will make you too bulky.
Have you ever avoided serious lifting because you were afraid you would get too big? Well, there’s no need to worry. Women don’t have the same levels of testosterone as men, which makes them far less naturally apt to bulk up like men—unless they dabble in illegal substances. Learn more about the “tone and shape” myths when developing a weightlifting routine here.
What bad fitness advice have you received? We’d love to hear about your experiences in the comments below.