When it comes to fitness, there is a lot of information circling around. It’s hard to know what’s true and what’s just a fitness myth or misunderstanding.
Since getting and staying in shape can already be tough enough, we’ve decided to debunk five of the biggest and most pervasive fitness myths so you can keep your eyes on the bullseye and not on the BS.
MYTH #1: Body weight exercises don’t work.
Body weight exercises refer to any strengthening exercise that does not require additional weights, such as push-ups, crunches, or squats. Some people will tell you that you won’t get results without adding weights which is not necessarily true.
To build muscle, you have to increase the difficulty of your strengthening exercises over time. One way to do this is by adding weights, but this is not the only way. Slowing the speed at which you perform your reps, holding yourself in a strengthening position for longer periods of time, use a single limb, or making your movement more powerful are all ways to build more muscle using your body weight alone.
That being said, you will still reach a limit with just your body weight. But to maintain muscle, you don’t need to constantly add difficultly. Practising at your limit is what maintains your shape and it’s entirely possible to reach a muscle capacity that you are happy with using body weight exercises.
MYTH #2: Muscle burns more than fat.
This statement itself is technically correct, what is incorrect is the associated belief that when you build muscle you can eat as much as you want because you will burn it off faster. The math shows that this is not at all true.
When you are at rest, muscle burns 6 calories per pound, per day. That means if you build 10 pounds of muscle mass (which is significant for the average female), you only get around 60 extra calories per day. That equates to approximately 12 skittles. And that calculation is assuming that you have gained muscle without losing any fat. When you lose fat, you also lose the calories that fat burns, meaning that you will have less than 12 extra skittles to eat each day.
No matter how much muscle you build, watching your caloric intake and nutrition is essential to maintaining a healthy body.
MYTH #3: Weightlifting is better for weight loss than cardio.
In order to lose weight, you must be in what is known as a calorie deficit, where you burn more calories than you consume. Generally speaking, cardio burns the most calories because it is continuous. If your weight training is performed in a circuit, that counts as cardio as well.
Not only does cardio burn more calories, but it makes you feel less hungry (at least initially after performing the exercise). This is because while you are working out, the blood flow is directed away from the digestive system and towards your working muscles.
This is also true for the sweat that cardio causes, as the sweatier you are, the more energy is being released from your body. When you lift weights, on the other hand, small tears are created in your muscles. These small tears require fuel to heal, making your body crave more food.
So, if your focus is solely on losing weight, then cardio is the way to go. But of course, adding strength training will help to sculpt your body.
MYTH #4: Strengthening your back will improve posture.
While this statement is true for some, it is not true for all. This statement describes people who have Upper Cross Syndrome. This means that their pecks and back of neck muscles are tighter and stronger than their front of neck and back muscles, causing them to slouch forward. By strengthening those weaker front of neck and back muscles they are able to improve their posture greatly.
If you struggle with poor posture, it’s possible that you have Upper Cross Syndrome, but there are plenty of other possible causes that you should speak to a professional about. If you just start working out assuming that it will help your posture, you can run into some issues. In fact, there are some workouts that can worsen your posture. For example, exercises that target your lats like pull-downs or barbell rows rotate your shoulders often causing the tendency to slouch.
Because the issue of posture is so complicated, speaking to a professional is the best strategy to fix it.
MYTH #5: Training your chest will make your breasts bigger.
Though there are a lot of women who would love this to be true, it’s not and here is why. Breasts are mainly composed of fat tissue, so adding muscle will not grow them. Even though peck muscles are in the same region as breasts, their shape is different from the teardrop shape of a breast so growing those muscles won’t add to your breast size.
The belief that working your chest will make your breasts bigger stems from the fact that training your pecks can cause your breasts to stick out more. This might create the look of a bigger breast, but it’s just an illusion as the actual breast has not changed at all.
It’s also important to keep in mind that when you start working out and losing weight, your breast size might be reduced. Since breasts are comprised of fat tissue, and you have no control over where you lose fat from, it’s possible that some of the weight will come from your breasts.
So there you have it! Five common fitness myths debunked and explained. If you have been believing one of these myths, don’t sweat it. Like we said, many of these myths are pervasive so it’s easy to see how they can pass as truth.
At the end of the day, what will make the biggest difference to your health and fitness goals is consistent balanced eating and regular exercise.
Gear shown in this blog:
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