These Are the Exercise Myths You Have To Stop Believing Immediately
Navigating through social media, one encounters a deluge of wellness and fitness advice, making it challenging to discern fact from fiction. Our feeds are saturated with trends like the "healthy Coke" beverage and spot reduction exercises, prominently featured on platforms, such as TikTok. Despite the seemingly innocuous nature of these trends, the virality of even one piece of inaccurate information can potentially pose harm. While numerous influencers lacking proper credentials perpetuate dubious advice, accredited experts actively work to dispel such misinformation.
Instances of misconceptions persist, such as the belief that post-workout soreness is a reliable indicator of effectiveness or the notion that constantly changing workouts is necessary to confound muscles. Baleaf aims to debunk some of the most prevalent exercise myths circulating on social media and elsewhere. Together, let's do a deep dive into the facts and myths about exercise.
What are some common exercise and fitness myths?
Whether these myths have been passed on by friends, family, or gym buddies, they tend to linger, potentially leading us to maintain counterproductive habits. As you consistently adjust your fitness routine to align with progress and newly established goals, it's crucial to be aware of the truth behind these prevalent misconceptions in the realm of fitness. It's about time that we have these exercise myths cracked!
Myth #1: Static stretching before working out lessens injuries.
Since the beginning of our workout routines, we've been advised to engage in activities like reaching for our toes or holding specific poses to stretch our cold muscles to prevent soreness and injury. However, various studies have indicated that static stretching neither diminishes the likelihood of local muscle injury nor alleviates muscle soreness following exercise.
Save static stretching after your workout when your muscles are already warm, as it aids in elongating them.
Fact: Do dynamic stretching.
For maximizing our fitness routine, experts and trainers endorse dynamic stretching as the superior option. Not only is it more enjoyable, but it also readies our muscles for action, enhances performance, and reduces the risk of injuries. Therefore, engage in activities like circling your arms, swinging your legs, incorporating lateral movements, lunges, high kicks, and more.
Myth #2: Women will bulk up too much if they lift heavy weights.
The perception of this fitness myth varies between men and women. Male athletes and fitness enthusiasts often dedicate extensive hours in the gym utilizing free weights or machines, aspiring to achieve a more substantial muscle appearance. Conversely, for women, this myth may lead to restricted use or complete avoidance of free weights and other strength-training exercises.
Fact: Women won't bulk up like men unless training for bodybuilding.
Ladies, rest assured, we won't bulk up like men. This is partly due to our lower absolute mass and reduced testosterone levels, the hormone responsible for muscle growth. Experts emphasize that as women engage in more weightlifting, they develop lean muscles, contributing to an increased metabolic rate.
So don't hesitate—grab those barbells, turn up the resistance, and challenge yourself with dumbbells and kettlebells. Strength training not only helps prevent osteoporosis and muscle loss with age but also enhances our ability to perform daily activities.
It's important to note that the narrative changes for female bodybuilders. These dedicated women collaborate with nutritionists to meticulously design diet plans that meet their body's daily protein needs through both food and supplements. Their goal is to support the production of the essential male hormone, testosterone, alongside a rigorous training regimen tailored to sculpt and strengthen their muscles.
Myth #3: Exercise alone leads to weight loss.
This is one of the many myths about exercise busted!
Studies have shown that relying solely on exercise is insufficient for weight loss because our bodies can reach a plateau. At this stage, increasing workout intensity may not necessarily result in burning additional calories.
Achieving great bodies requires attention both in the kitchen and in the gym. A study involving overweight adults demonstrated that relying solely on exercise yielded modest results. Similarly, research on individuals training for marathons revealed minimal weight loss as their diets remained unchanged. Another study found that even after 20 weeks of exercise alone, participants experienced less weight loss than anticipated, leading researchers to conclude that there is no direct correlation between energy expenditure and weight loss.
So what is energy expenditure?
Energy expenditure, defined as the daily calories burned based on our Basal Metabolic Rate (BMR), is a crucial factor. BMR encompasses the energy utilized for basic functions when the body is at rest, constituting 60% to 80% of total energy expenditure. Only a small fraction is allocated to physical activity, with exercise being just a subset. Weight loss, contrary to the commonly promoted notion of calories in versus calories out, is a more intricate process.
Fact: Do strength training and monitor food and calorie intake.
For those committed to achieving a lean physique, do strength training to build more muscles. Increased lean mass elevates the Basal Metabolic Rate (BMR), leading to improved overall health and physique. Alongside strength training, the paramount factor is mindful and healthy eating, involving careful monitoring of the food and calories consumed.
Myth #4: No pain means no gain.
The saying "no pain, no gain" is frequently echoed in the fitness realm, urging individuals to push their limits during workouts. While occasional challenges can be beneficial, consistently pushing too hard may lead to injuries and hinder performance. Overdoing it can result in overtraining syndrome, impeding proper muscle recovery, impacting mood, weakening the immune system, and more. Moreover, excessive exercise can overstimulate the nervous system, potentially affecting sleep quality.
Fact: Muscles need rest to recover and grow.
During exercise, our muscles generate lactic acid. However, this lactic acid is eliminated shortly after completing our routine, well before the onset of DOMS (Delayed Onset Muscle Soreness). While it is normal for muscles to experience soreness the day after exercise, DOMS isn't necessarily an indicator of the intensity of our training. Instead, the soreness signifies microtears in our muscles, a natural part of the repair process that leads to increased size and strength.
Given that muscles are primarily composed of protein, incorporating protein into our meals and post-exercise nutrition is crucial to promote their growth and repair. It is also advisable to progressively increase resistance or the weight lifted, or vary the workout routine once familiarity with a particular level is achieved. This approach ensures that our muscles consistently develop strength and leanness. As such, it's best to always seek the guidance of a professional trainer for a more informed approach to building muscles, training, and recovery.
Myth #5: Sweating a lot is equivalent to an intense workout.
There's a common belief that if we're covered in sweat or our shirts are thoroughly drenched, we must have had a highly intense workout. However, the amount of sweat is not always a reliable indicator of a workout's intensity.
Fact: Sweating is our body's way of regulating temperature.
Sweating is the body's natural response to regulate temperature, especially when muscles generate heat during exercise. The amount of sweat can also be influenced by the humidity of the exercise environment. Individuals who consistently engage in proper exercise and nutrition may find themselves sweating more compared to those at the beginning of their fitness journey. It's important to note that sweating doesn't directly correlate with calorie burn or fat loss. Rather, the body utilizes its fat stores to generate energy during the process.
Myth #6: Do a spot reduction for troubled areas.
Numerous women and men share the common goal of achieving a defined midsection, leading many gym enthusiasts to engage in endless repetitions of crunches. However, obtaining six-pack abs requires more than just focusing on exercises that target those specific muscles. It's essential not to be misled by promises from home-TV shopping and online stores claiming their machines can eliminate the body's "troubled areas" through "spot reduction."
Fact: Engage in strength and cardio training for overall body and muscle development.
Spot reduction, targeting a small body area through relatively insignificant exercises, does not lead to the melting of fat even if we experience a "burn" in the exercised muscles. In reality, spot reduction carries the risk of injury due to imbalanced muscle strength. Some heavily muscled individuals with underdeveloped legs may be at risk of knee injuries, lacking the necessary strength for activities like plyometrics.
For those seriously committed to achieving a lean body, a comprehensive exercise program incorporating both strength and cardio training is essential. Prioritize compound workouts such as squats, push-ups, pull-ups, etc., as they not only target large muscle groups but also engage smaller muscles in a more holistic approach.
Myth #7: Muscles turn into fat when you stop exercising.
Muscle cannot transform into fat, nor can fat change into muscle. These are distinct tissues with different cellular compositions.
Fact: Muscles cannot turn into fat and vice-versa.
Muscles exist in three forms: skeletal, cardiac, and smooth, whereas body fat, or adipose tissue, is composed of triglycerides, featuring a glycerol backbone and three fatty acid chains.
The origin of this myth lies in the notion that when you cease working out, your body composition might undergo changes, but the scale's reading remains constant. But what occurs is the loss of muscle mass due to muscle atrophy.
Consider the scenario when you consistently exercise and build muscle. Your muscles become more prominent because of increased calorie burning, causing your fat cells to shrink. Conversely, when you discontinue exercise and burn fewer calories, your muscle cells also shrink. This creates the illusion that your muscle has transformed into fat, when, in reality, it's simply your fat cells expanding.
Why busting exercise myths is important?
One undeniable fact stands out—exercise ranks among the most effective measures to lower the risk of several cancers, including colon, breast, and endometrial cancers.
Regular physical activity contributes to maintaining a healthy weight, alleviating stress, and fortifying the immune system. Moreover, it plays a pivotal role in reducing the risk of diabetes and heart disease.
Crank It Up and Sweat It Out With Exercise Facts
Embarking on a successful fitness journey can be as straightforward as embracing the correct mindset about exercise and, if needed, shedding any misconceptions that may impede your progress.