I’ve been in the fitness industry for over a decade and it still kills me when I hear all of these myths OVER and OVER again. I want to share and dispel some of the ones that I feel are the ones most people cling to that don’t really serve you.
- Crunches give you flat abs. I’m not sure who started this, but crunches aren’t they way to flat abs, in fact if done the wrong way they will cause your tummy to protrude. There was also a great article written years ago about how crunches may hurt your lower back. If you really want to work all of your abs, you are better served doing a plank or long slow full extension bicycles.
- I’m sweating buckets I must be burning more a calories. Sweat is not an indication of caloric burn. It’s an indication of your body trying to cool itself down. Some folks are predisposed to be a heavy sweaters regardless of what they are doing. I’m married to one, I lovingly call him sweatball. Sorry ladies, I know you like your hot yoga and your spin class, but you aren’t burning more calories by taking those classes. If you love them keep going, but not because you think you are burning more calories.
- Running is bad for your knees. Many people shy away from running because they think it will hurt there knees. What typically causes knee pain is a number of factors, not having the right shoes or having the same shoes for too long, body alignment issues (aka hip and ankle) or tight muscles. If you truly love running and stopped because of pain issues, I highly recommend you seek a great posture person who can help you. I suffered from sciatica for over 7 years and stopped running I saw posture person and BOOM I was back.
- You need to workout for at least 45 minutes to have any health benefits. The ACSM has stated that you can get benefits from doing cardio just 10 minute bouts at least 3 times/day. These are just the bare minimums, but we all have to start somewhere.
- Rest days are important. Back in the 80s it was all about no pain no gain. In order to get the physique of your dreams your muscles need time to rebuild and repair themselves. When you don’t take a rest, you are likely to pull something or have some other form of injury. Overtraining may also keep you from sleeping and cause your immune system to go into overdrive. You should build in 1-2 rest day/week. This means complete rest. Days where you don’t work out at all.
- Yoga burns a ton of calories. Not sure who started this rumor, but Yoga is a great restorative and flexibility building exercise. Two separate studies in 2005 and 2007 found that a 90 min yoga class burns about 288 calories. Yes, some classes turn up the heat and you sweat, but that’s not you burning calories, this is your body’s reaction to heat.
- You will bulk up by lifting weights. For women, we don’t have enough testosterone to make us grow muscles the way that men do. In order to grow muscles like that you need to take some Arnold Schwarzenegger era steroids. Lifting heavy weights will help us to get the lean tone physique that we strive to have.
- To lose weight, you must workout more and eat less. That is the classic diet mindset, you overeat and then you want to burn off those extra calories or you deprvie yourself of foods so that you lose the weight. This is a cycle that you can never break free from unless you learn new habits.
- You should prioritize cardio over lifting. Many women head to the gym and just do cardio, they believe that breaking out in a sweat is a workout. Cardio is has it’s place, but it’s the lifting that will really take your physique to the next level. I want you to think of cardio as a gas stove. Once you turn off the gas the caloric burn is done. Strength training is like an electric stove, even though you turned off the stove you are still burning calories.
- No pain no gain. Every workout shouldn’t be “beast mode”. Sure you should challenge yourself, but at some point you may want to be able to walk and lift your arms to wash your hair — just saying. The way I program clients is that they have 2 strength training days one day is a more strenuous than the other so that when they do them multiple times/week they aren’t dying.
If you’ve heard of any others, please leave them in the comments below.