5 common fitness myths - BUSTED!
Happy Monday Fit Fam!
Today I want to talk about some ideas that are thrown around a lot in the fitness community. If you're just starting out, it's pretty difficult to distinguish between what's true and what's bs. I had to learn the hard way by actually TRYING everything myself and then figuring out what actually works. I figured I would help speed up that process for you all, and address 5 common fitness myths out there.
Let's get to it!
5 Common Fitness Myths - BUSTED!
Myth #1: Lifting Weights Makes Women Bulky
The Myth: It's a suuuper common idea (especially for women new to fitness/working out) that lifting any sort of weight will make you bulk up like a "man." I've heard a lot of women (myself included when I first got started) say they are afraid to lift heavy because they don't want to be manly. This is a MYTH.
The Truth: Lifting weights cannot suddenly change your physiology to resemble that of a male. Males are able to bulk up significantly from lifting weights because of biological factors like higher levels of testosterone. No matter how hard you try, a female's end-stage bulk will never resemble that of a male's. We just don't have the same physiology to allow that to happen! Lifting weights will cause you to gain muscle (provided you are eating properly), but in most cases the muscle will grow underneath a layer of fat, since females carry more adipose tissue (fat tissue) than males. As a result, females who are bulking tend to appear a bit more supple (if you touch the body it will not feel like a rock) rather than super hard like males.
Myth #2: Exercise is the Best Way to Lose Weight
The Myth: It has long been believed that exercise = weight loss. People have the idea that if you're active, then you're healthy, and if you're healthy, you're losing weight. This is a MYTH.
The Truth: Exercise is one component of weight loss. And yes, it is important but it is not the main or best way to lose weight. Losing weight comes down to calorie math (see my in depth post about calories here). Basically, you will lose weight if you are burning more calories than you are eating. Makes sense right? So exercise is a way to increase the number of calories you are burning, but losing weight really comes down to nutrition and caloric intake. Think about it: it's much easier to cut out 200 calories in your diet by not eating a muffin than it is to burn an extra 200 calories by jogging on the treadmill for 30 minutes. It all starts with nutrition.
Myth #3: 45 Minutes of Cardio is the Only Way to Lose Weight
The Myth: Ahh cardio. My long lost friend. When I first started out in fitness, I thought cardio was the answer to all of my problems. Because who doesn't want to be lean and toned? Almost everyone who just starts on their fitness journey believes that cardio is the way to go for weight loss, and while that may be true, it is definitely not the only way.
The Truth: Cardio is great for heart health and can definitely help with losing weight. However, low intensity cardio (elliptical for 30 minutes, treadmill for 45-60 minutes, etc.) is not the best way to shed pounds. If cardio is your route for losing weight, give HIIT Cardio a try (see my post on HIIT here for a full workout!) HIIT is way more effective than low intensity cardio, and it only takes at the MOST 25 minutes! Shorter time + more calories burned = happy you! Believe it or not, another way to lose weight is through weightlifting. This is not to say you should solely weight lift and neglect cardio if your main goal is weight loss, but don't be afraid to pick up some weight 2-3x per week! Weightlifting gets your heart rate up and puts immense stress on your muscles, forcing them to seek energy stores from somewhere. The first place they go? FAT TISSUE. I'd say an ideal program for losing weight is HIIT cardio 3x/week + weight lifting 2x/week.
Myth #4: You Should Stretch Before Your Workout
The Myth: This is something I've been told since I started sports. We always stretched before my volleyball games, so I figured once I started weightlifting, I would stretch before each of my workouts. It is believed that stretching before your workout will warm up your muscles and get them ready for action. This is a MYTH.
The Truth: Static stretching (stretching in place) is NOT ideal prior to your workout. Stretching works by elongating the muscles, which can actually make you more prone to injury during your workout. Instead, you should ACTIVATE your muscles. Muscle activation gets the muscles warm and ready for the movements that you will be incorporating in your workout. Before my leg day, I activate my legs and glutes by banded squats, glute bridges, and abductions!
Myth #5: If You're Not Sore After Your Workout, You Didn't Work Hard Enough
The Myth: For some reason, soreness is tied to the effort that you expended during your workout. It is believed that the level of soreness you experience following your workout is an indicator of how hard you worked. This is a MYTH.
The Truth: Muscle soreness happens when your muscle fibers experience small tears as a result of the stress during your workout. This is usually caused by a new stimulus, such as implementing exercises that work muscle groups that you haven't worked in the past. There are so many individual factors that go into muscle soreness, its duration, and when you feel it, so it is not the best indicator of how hard you worked. Rather, it's your body letting you know that you've trained a part of your body that it's not used to!
I hope this post was helpful for those of you reading! Feel free to drop a comment below or send me a message on Instagram if you have any questions! I'll see you all next Monday!