It’s public knowledge that getting exercise is good for your health — even if you hate working out. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, being active can help you improve your brain health, manage weight, strengthen your bones and muscles, and reduce the risk of various diseases. However, because physical activity is so essential to our daily lives, there’s a lot of information about the “right” way to work out. Like anything you see on the internet, just because it’s posted online doesn’t make it accurate.
Over the past couple of years, plenty of bogus fitness trends have surfaced on social media, giving different methods to go about during your workouts. While some of these suggestions might appeal to specific people, there are plenty of myths still being shared that get in the way of proper physical fitness. While the following myths have all been debunked before, they’re still being spread around. Unfortunately, fitness myths can be incredibly dangerous as they can hinder your progress and potentially lead to injury.
Myths about working out
Whether you work out to manage your weight or keep yourself healthy, you need to have all the facts. The MD Anderson Cancer Center explains one common fitness myth: targeting your exercise will help you pick and choose where you burn fat. However, MD Anderson exercise physiologist Carol Harrison disagrees, noting that even if you only work out in one area, you’ll burn fat throughout your entire body.
Another myth is that you must spend a lot of time working out. The goal should be 150 minutes of moderate activity a week or around 75 minutes of vigorous exercise. Because your body uses stored fuel to help you get through your workout, it’s not a good idea to keep going after you have depleted your energy.
Other myths surrounding fitness usually have to do with how you work out. Dr. Scott Lear, from Heart and Stroke Foundation of Canada, explains that there’s also a myth that your exercise needs to hurt for it to be productive. Being sore after your workout is normal but isn’t a metric for success. Soreness usually occurs because you’re changing the type of exercise or its intensity. Another dangerous myth is that strength training is only for bodybuilders or will increase your muscles to an undesirable level. The truth is that basic strength training is almost always beneficial no matter your age or fitness goals.
Myths about your pre-and post-workout
Your routine before and after your workout is just as essential as your actual workout.
As University of Texas exercise scientist Phillip Stanforth explains to Business Insider, people tend to underestimate the role that one’s diet can play in managing their weight. Stanforth explains that diet is more important than your workout if your goal is to lose weight. Even if you are working out for your health, your food is the fuel your body uses to keep itself going. Regarding food, Business Insider explains that sports drinks are not the best way to rehydrate after a challenging workout. Most sports drinks usually contain little more than sugar and water. Instead, refuel with protein to get your muscles back into shape after an intense workout.
Some other myths suggest that by simply working out, you can eat whatever you want. Daily Burn explains that the calories you lose during a workout will be replaced with the ones you get from your food. Thus, a bad diet can override the best gym routine. Also, you won’t burn more fat if you work out on an empty stomach. Not only is this practice dangerous, but it’s entirely untrue. Your body burns carbohydrates during workouts, and if there is nothing to burn it starts wasting your muscles. Training on an empty stomach can lead to dehydration and a drop in energy levels.