The fitness world is full of half- truths and myths, some are harmless but some can increase your risk of injury, and others have you missing out on valuable opportunities to affect your body’s composition.
Some of these myths have been around so long they have become well established as the truth. I always wonder who came up with them in the first place.
Here’s my top 5 fitness myths busted!
Myth No. 1: You've got to feel some pain if you're going to gain any benefits.
Of all the fitness rumours I have ever heard, the "no pain-no gain" statement holds the most potential for harm. While you can expect to have some degree of soreness a day or even two after working out, that’s very different from feeling pain while you are working out.
A fitness activity should not hurt while you are doing it, and if it does, then either you are not doing it correctly, or you already have an injury.
My advice would be not to work through the pain. If it hurts, stop, rest, and see if the pain goes away. If it doesn’t go away, or if it begins again or increases after you start exercising, see a medical professional.
Myth 2: Stretching before working out is crucial to preventing injury
Stretching after a workout is beneficial, but stretching before a workout actually doesn't increase your range of motion. In fact, some studies suggest that stretching may destabalize muscles, making them less prepared for strenuous exercise. This especially true if you're doing something like weight-lifting. I recommend you do an active warm-up , to get your blood pumping and muscles and ligaments warmed and primed for activity.
Myth 3: Women should avoid lifting weights as it’ll make them bulky
If you've been avoiding lifting weights for fear of becoming muscle bound, there’s no need. When it comes to increasing muscle size, the hormone, testosterone is crucial. Men have 20 to 30 times the more testosterone than women, which is why they can bulk up so noticeably.
In fact, strength training is fantastic for helping you to lose weight faster and keep it off in the long run. If you also do some form of aerobic training, it'll help you retain muscle as you drop fat, as well as prevent your metabolism from slowing. So don't focus all your efforts on the treadmill, some squats, push-ups, etc will actually help you reach your ideal weight.
Myth 4: A hot bath will prevent muscle soreness
Cold water is actually better. I live near the beach and it’s a common sight to see groups of athletes wading in the cold sea water post game to help with recovery. Immersing yourself in cold water is like an ice pack for your entire body.
When you exercise, your blood vessels open wider and stay that way for at least an hour afterward. Soreness occurs when waste products like lactic acid settle in your muscles through these dilated vessels. Colder temperatures constrict vessels, limiting the amount of waste product that accumulates.
Myth 5: Doing crunches and abdominal workouts will get rid of belly fat
You can do crunches until you pass out, and you still might not get a six-pack.
The common belief is it is possible to reduce fat in one area of the body by exercising that body part alone. I think this view is wrong. Body fat needs to be lost from the entire body for muscles to become visible.
You can certainly tone the underlying muscle to make the area look more appealing, but you can’t affect the level of fat lying over it with spot-training.