Myth: Crunches and Ab Exercises Help Bust Belly Fat
Truth: While exercises that target the abdomen can help tone and strengthen the muscles near your belly, they won’t make that paunch go away on their own. The human body doesn’t get rid of fat just in certain areas; when you exercise, fat loss is a full-body phenomenon. To minimize belly fat, focus on intense cardio workouts, supplemented by a weight lifting regime (which should, of course, include core exercises like crunches). And most importantly, fix your nutrition!
Myth: Women Should Stick to Light Weights to Avoid Bulking Up
Truth: The vast majority of women simply don’t have enough testosterone in their bodies to build the Arnold-like muscle mass that some want to avoid. In fact, lifting heavy weights will instead help women lose weight, gain increased definition, and build confidence.
Myth: Sweat is a Good Indicator of How Hard You’re Working
Truth: While a sweat-soaked t-shirt might make you feel super satisfied after a tough workout, there’s really no relationship between how much you sweat and how hard you’re working. So next time you’re at the gym? Consider leaving that 90s style sweat suit at home.
Myth: No pain, No Gain
Truth: There’s a big difference between pain and discomfort, says Michael Lagomarsine, an expert based out of Boston University’s Athletic Enhancement Center.
While you may have some minor muscle soreness after a particularly hard workout, anything that actively hurts while you’re doing it could be causing you damage. Extreme muscle pain for more than a day or two after a workout likely indicates injury or overtraining.
Myth: Stretching Before a Workout Helps Prevent Injuries
Truth: Multiple studies have found that stretching before a workout actually does nothing to prevent injuries. In fact, those who stretch before a run actually tend to wind up with more injuries than those who don’t.
Stretching after exercising seems to be the best option for those who want to avoid delayed onset muscle soreness. Instead of using stretches before a workout, try to warm-up with some simple jogging, jumping jacks or anything that’ll warm-up the muscles you’ll be using for your workout.
Myth: Low Intensity Cardio Burns Fat Best
Truth: You’re probably familiar with the “fat burn” zone on your favorite piece of cardio equipment, but there’s really no backing for the idea that lower intensity cardio is better than high intensity cardio when it comes to losing weight.
According to exercise specialist and fitness author Tom Holland, fat loss is all about burning calories, and the more intense your workout, the more calories you’ll burn.
Myth: Weight Machines Are Safer Than Free Weights.
Truth: This myth may actually put you at a higher risk for injury. Many gym enthusiasts stick to weight machines rather than learning how to use free weights, because they believe that the machine will correct their form and ensure that they don’t hurt themselves.
But there are still tons of ways you can use a weight machine that can damage your muscles and joints, from height and length adjustment to using weights that are too heavy to using the wrong muscle groups to push or pull. Whether you choose to use free weights or weight machines, make sure you have a qualified trainer show you the ropes before you get started.