It can be challenging to sift through the noise to figure out what’s true and what’s an outdated myth when it comes to all the fitness advice out there.
But in a way, all this noise makes sense because things change and we learn new things over time. That’s science, after all. So, it’s reasonable that there would be some confusion now and then about the current advice.
So, to help you filter through all the influencers and pop fitness advice, we’re debunking six fitness myths and giving you the facts once and for all.
Let’s get started.
Myth: Cardio is the best way to lose weight.
Fact: Most people think of cardio in terms of running on a treadmill or something similar. But if you think about it, cardio is all about cardiovascular fitness (hence the name) and has little to do with weight loss.
In reality, interval training, resistance training, and weight training are far more effective for weight loss. Remember, while cardio may burn more calories, that doesn’t necessarily mean it’s burning more fat.
Plus, too much cardio can send your body into an overstressed state, and all that excess cortisol can block your fat-burning capabilities altogether.
Interval training and resistance training, for example, are the best of both worlds. They improve your cardio fitness and can aid in weight loss.
Myth: Crunches are the way to get a six-pack.
Fact: Achieving a six-pack requires a holistic approach to wellness, including a healthy diet and a well-rounded workout routine. In other words, doing a ton of crunches won’t help if you have a layer of fat surrounding your abdominals.
Again, various forms of interval training and resistance training that activate your core and utilize stress-relief techniques while following a healthy, nutritious diet will help you lose fat and give you a better chance of achieving six-pack abs.
Myth: Lifting weights will make you bulky.
Fact: Bulky muscles require extra calories. So, lifting weights and resistance training won’t make you bulky as long as you’re not overeating.
However, if you have an extremely low muscle mass as a beginner and you’re not currently overweight, any type of resistance training will definitely add some muscle to your frame.
But you won’t have to worry about bulking up if you’re not eating extra food.
Myth: Sports drinks are good for you.
Fact: Water is generally far better for you than any sports drink. Sports drinks, while offering electrolytes, are also often packed with sugar.
While replenishing electrolytes is essential for extreme athletes, the average person doesn’t need a sports drink after every workout. In fact, all that sugar found in most sports drinks is more likely to interfere with your fitness goals.
If you just ran a marathon or if you’ve done an outdoor workout that was sweatier than average from the heat of the sun, you may benefit from certain sports drinks to balance your electrolytes and blood sugar levels. But in general, good ol’ water works wonders.
Myth: You should always stretch before a workout.
Fact: You should always warm-up before a workout with dynamic movements versus static stretching.
Dynamic movements, sometimes referred to as dynamic stretching, are when you move through certain stretches to increase your heart rate and prepare your body for more strenuous exercise. These include arm circles, leg swings, squats, lunges, and more.
Static stretches are more beneficial at the end of a workout to improve flexibility and mobility.
Myth: Long workouts are the most effective.
Fact: The idea of quality over quantity rings true when it comes to your workouts. Plus, one 2012 study in the Journal of Physiology found that a 30-minute workout is just as effective as an hour-long workout.
And again, over-exercising puts your body into a stressed-out state with heightened cortisol levels which can block your body’s fat-burning abilities.
All in all, a 30-minute workout a few times a week that you’re able to maintain consistency is your best bet for a healthy exercise routine.
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