As more research studies are done on fitness, more fitness myths emerge. It’s been inferred through research studies that fitness is one of the pillars of healthy living.
While many of us are on a journey to achieve our fitness goals, we tend to come across several ‘information’ about exercise from the likes of Instagram influencers, fitness bloggers, and self-proclaimed “gurus,” such that it’s sometimes hard to discern fitness fact from fitness myth. We can also be given fitness advice by friends, colleagues or gym buddies – but unfortunately, not all of it is accurate.
So with that in mind, you can start working out smarter and effectively today, as we have compiled a few of the most common fitness myths that can impact your fitness progress moving forward.
Myth 1. You Should Always Stretch Before Exercising
This is the number one most-believed fitness myths that emphasizes the importance of a pre-workout stretch. It promotes the mindset that loosening up your muscles before working out will elongate the muscles and help prevent injury, but what actually happens is the contrary.
Though stretching has many times been prescribed for the relaxation of tight muscles, it is not recommended before a workout because it weakens the body. According to Vanessa Huffman, Director of Teacher Training for Club Pilates, per NBC News: “Research has shown that when people are forcing their cool muscles to relax by overextending, it creates a surge of Glucocorticoids (stress hormones) that flood the body, which is the opposite reaction expected from people trying to relax a stiffened area.”
Instead, it is recommended to warm the body up and get blood flowing through light cardio, followed by a sequence of dynamic exercises to help the joints increase its range of motions. Researchers have found that warm-ups are to be performed for 5 to 15 minutes before engaging in the main exercise.
Myth 2. ‘No Pain, No Gain’
It is greatly misconstrued that feeling pain equals effective workout, but that shouldn’t be the basis of a good workout. There’s pain that comes from working your muscles and there’s pain that comes from overworking your muscles. Most people feel tempted to workout till they feel ‘the burn,’ and even exercise further. But it is important to recognize that the burn you get from exercise is an indicator to stop, because it could either mean you have reached your limit or that your body is injured.
“While taking it too easy in the gym won’t produce the results you want, pushing yourself too much can do more harm than good.”
Any pain that carries on for days could be a signal for something else. You should seek medical attention to address the problem.
Myth 3. Muscle Can Turn Into Fat If You Stop Working Out
This is one of most popular fitness myths is built on the deception of the human eye. If someone transitions from having an active lifestyle of building mass into an inactive lifestyle of eating randomly, a transformation will take place where the muscles get smaller and the body fat increases. This change is what most people believe to be “muscle turning into fat.”
Muscle and fat are, in fact, two different tissue systems with different functions. Muscle tissue is what gives you mass and what is constantly burning calories. The fat tissue is what gives you the ‘gut’ and is where excess energy is stored. You can burn fat and build muscle, but you can’t turn one into the other.
Myth 4. Lifting Weights Makes You Bulky
Because weight lifting was put in the spotlight by bodybuilders, powerlifters and professional athletes, it is falsely believed that by lifting weights you’re going to turn into a beefy, muscle-bound hulk.
When it comes to burning some serious calories, the weight room is your friend. Lifting weights will not give you bodybuilder muscles, it’s what you are specifically training for. It instead engages and strengthens all of your body’s energy/movement systems which includes, the heart, joints and ligaments, metabolism, posture and balance.