It can be hard to know which way to turn when seemingly everyone is doling out advice about the rights and wrongs of exercise – how, when, and where you should be working out to get strong, lose fat, and tone up. Goodness is here to set the facts straight, busting seven of the biggest misconceptions about fitness, once and for all.
Doing Weights Will Make You Look Masculine
This is one of the biggest and most important myths to tackle. Incorporating weights into your workout is, in fact, one of the best ways to burn fat and get a lean, toned body. The more muscle the body has, the more calories it burns day to day, so don’t be afraid of adding weights to your lunges and squats. It’s a win-win.
Short Workouts Are Ineffective
We’re so thankful that this myth couldn’t be further from the truth! The best workouts are often the short, powerful ones that entail blasting the body for 20 to 30 minutes at a high level of intensity. Exercising in a state of up to 90 percent of your ability means the calorie- and fat-burning effect, even when the session is over, is far better than that of a steady, 60-minute jog.
Crunches Are the Best Way to Get Defined Abs
98, 99, 100… you could spend the rest of your life doing crunches in the gym, and never see results. The first place to start for a defined stomach is losing fat, as abs simply aren’t going to show when the body is carrying excess weight – and crunches are a really poor way of burning stubborn fat! Get going with some high-intensity sprints (60 seconds of maximum effort, 60 seconds of rest) and incorporate core work during the session. Simple crunches also often lead to poor posture and don’t utilize as much of the core as other exercises, like reverse crunches or a vertical leg crunch.
Running Is the Best Way to Burn Fat
Running at a steady pace for 45 to 60 minutes is not going to make the body enter its optimal fat-burning stage. On any given day, we typically store enough carbohydrates to last us for 24 to 48 hours, and that’s the energy the body will use for this type of exercise – not fat. Opt for high-intensity training, instead, to maximize the amount of fat you burn.
Workout Machines Are Better for Your Posture
You see people in the gym squatting with a squat rack stacked with kilos of weights like they’re superheroes, but we also often see their bodies crying out for proper positioning whilst trying not to dislocate a disc! Okay, so maybe that’s a little extreme, but the problem with using such machines is that they push you into a certain position that may not be the correct one for you. Each body is different and, especially if someone hasn’t been taught how to squat correctly, chances of injury are then high. Free weights are a great way of working the core as they require control, which comes hand in hand with knowledge of how to do a particular exercise. Start with free weights, and then use the machines if you need the extra lift.
More Sweat = More Fat Burn
Contrary to the popular expression, sweat (unfortunately) is not “fat crying”. It’s a reaction to heat and what the body uses to cool itself down. On average, the human body has about 2.6 million sweat glands, and how much we sweat not only depends on the amount we have, but also how active they are. Men tend to sweat more than women because their sweat glands are more active. Factors like workout gear, outside temperature, caffeine intake, and even face creams can affect one’s level of sweat. It gives a good idea of your body’s ability to cool itself down, but not how many calories you’ve burned.
Fruit Is the Healthiest of All Snacks
We’re not about to reveal the latest controversy in healthy eating as fruit is indeed a great option, but only if you’re looking for something sweet. If you eat too much of it, however, you might as well have had a few unnatural sweets. If you’re looking to burn fat, sugar should be the number one thing on the list of foods to cut back on. Although fruit contains natural sugar, and is therefore much better for you, too much of it can still lead to fat gain.
Carly Neave is the blogger behind LeanLivingGirl, a health and fitness website based in Dubai.