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13 Big Fitness Myths That Are Holding You Back

April 01, 2015 3 min read

Time to get the facts straight. When it comes to fitness, misinformation can be harmful. Forget all you think you know and read this list to get it right.

MYTH: You Can Target Your Fat Burn

FACT: You can reduce overall body fat but you cannot control where the fat comes from. A study from Journal of Strength & Conditioning had 11 people complete a 12 week exercise program where they trained only one leg. Although the training was all on one side, they lost the same amount of body fat in both legs and even more body fat above the waist.

MYTH: You Shouldn't Work Out on an Empty Stomach

FACT: British Journal of Nutrition published a study that says your body burns more fat if you hit the gym before breakfast. Just remember to keep yourself hydrated.


MYTH: No Pain, No Gain

FACT: We've all heard this before but the fact is, it isn't completely true. A little discomfort is okay but if you have a sharp pain anywhere in your body, stop what you are doing and consult a doctor.

MYTH: You Should Stretch Before You Work Out

FACT: A new study has found that stretching loosens the tendons and makes muscles feel weaker and more unsteady. Stretching before your workout could really mess things up.

MYTH: Lifting Heavy Weights Bulks You Up

-fpzmmTL4aeZsAU2KOKWISDCm_U9UOI6_cYnQjFLBuw FACT: It can slim you down. According to Medicine & Science in Sports & Exercise, women who lift a challenging weight for eight reps burn nearly twice as many calories as women who do 15 reps with a lighter weight.

MYTH: Exercise Machines beat Free Weights

FACT: The majority of exercise machines are designed for men. This makes it difficult for women to hit proper form when using them. Furthermore, exercise machines target specific muscles so you burn fewer calories using a machine than you would with free weights.

MYTH: Running on a Treadmill is as Effective as Running Outside

treadmill sprint FACT: Running outside can burn you up to 10 percent more calories than going the same distance on a treadmill. Running outside requires more energy because you are often running against a wind (however soft it may be blowing) and the terrain is uneven.

MYTH: You Shouldn't Work Out Every Day

FACT: Incorporate rest into your work out instead of using it as an alternative to it. Try a day of intense exercise followed by a day of lighter intensity exercise instead of skipping the gym altogether.

MYTH: You Can't Work Out When You Are Sick

FACT: If your symptoms are above your neck (sore throat, runny nose), there is no reason you can't work out. Take a pass if you have a fever, chest congestion or indigestion. As always, listen to your body and consult a doctor if you are unsure what to do.

MYTH: Sweating Means You're Out of Shape

FACT: Beth Stover M.S., C.S.C.S., a senior scientist at the Gatorade Sports Science Institute in Barrington, Illinois, says, "the fitter you are, the sooner your body begins to sweat, so a person who's in extremely good shape will produce more sweat than somebody who isn't. With each workout, you become a more and more efficient sweating machine."


MYTH: Crunches Are the Best Move for Your Core

FACT: To really target your waistline, you are better off doing multi-muscle exercises that target all the regions of your core.

MYTH: Working Out Makes You Hungry

FACT: A new research published by International Journal of Obesity suggests that high intensity exercise may actually decrease food cravings.

MYTH: Running Beats Walking

FACT: Running only wins if you are in a time crunch. Because they work the same muscle groups, they carry similar health results when it comes to overall energy burn. But walking, being a lower intensity than running, takes close to twice as long to expend the same amount of energy. Did we miss anything? Are there any myths you hear at the gym that you wish had made this list?  

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