Everyone thinks they know what’s up when it comes to fitness, but there are so many myths surrounding weight loss, fitness, and health. Are you aware of these popular fitness myths? Let’s dive in to debunk some of the most popular false beliefs once and for all.
7 Fitness Myths That NEED to Be Debunked
Myth #1: You Have to Exercise Every Day for at Least an Hour for It to Be Effective
Yes, the more exercise you do, the more benefits you’ll glean… up to a point. And yes, doing longer bouts of cardio more often will help you burn a whole lot of calories. But, does that mean it’s the only way to benefit from exercise? Not so fast. It turns out that you can do a whole lot less and still get great results.
Try breaking up your cardio into smaller bites. Science shows that three 10-minute sessions broken up throughout the day can be just as effective as one 30-minute session. Try taking the long route, parking further away from your destination, taking walking breaks throughout your day, and fitting in some walking on your lunch hour.
What’s more, you can burn a lot of extra calories throughout the day just by moving around a little more. Non-exercise activity thermogenesis (NEAT) is the energy you use (translation: calories burned) from extra movement during the course of your day like housework, gardening, fidgeting, standing, and even shivering. So, the bottom line is no, you don’t have to spend countless hours doing boring cardio to get in shape. Yes, you can do lots of little activities during the day, and they can add up to a big calorie deficit for you.
Myth #2: Lifting Weights Will Make You Bulky
If you still believe weightlifting will make you bulky, prepare for defeat! Building muscle will enhance your metabolism, and that means you’ll be burning off additional calories. If your body needs more calories to sustain this new muscle mass, then guess what? You’ll lose body fat just by maintaining your current caloric intake.
And, what’s even better is that muscle is much denser than body fat, so you may, in fact, end up weighing in at the same number as before you started lifting weights, but your body is going to be a whole lot smaller in all the right places, and you’ll be sporting a healthy, toned look.
Myth #3: You Should Do Only Cardio If You Want to Lose Body Fat
If you just want to become a smaller, softer version of yourself, then by all means, keep doing just cardio over and over again. And, if you love putting back on body fat quickly and easily, then a cardio-only workout is for you! But, if you want the toned look of an athlete (and more importantly, that kind of a metabolism), then consider adding some resistance training to your routine.
Myth #4: If You Want to Lose Water Weight, Stop Drinking Water
It may seem counterproductive to drink a lot of water if you want to lose water weight, but it’s absolutely the way to go! If you don’t get ample water on the daily, then you’ll suffer from dehydration, and that means your body will hold onto extra water weight. Taking in plenty of water will allow your body to feel “safe” in letting go of excess water, so drink up and watch those pounds wash away.
Myth #5: You Should Slow Down as You Get Older
This popular myth needs busting immediately! Just because you have a few birthdays under your belt doesn’t mean it’s time to succumb to the “over the hill” mentality. In fact, scientists say it’s more dangerous to NOT exercise as you get older. You lose muscle mass, flexibility, and your ability to balance over time if you don’t counteract it with a regimen of resistance training and stretching. Throwing some good old-fashioned cardio sessions into the mix can do nothing but help you maintain that svelte physique long past “the hill.” In fact, continuing your workouts will help prevent many age-related illnesses and diseases.
Myth #6: Longer Workouts Are Better
If you enjoy endlessly going nowhere on the treadmill or biking for hours on end, then by all means, keep doing what you’re doing. But, if you prefer efficiency (and you didn’t know you could cut back the cardio and still make progress), then you’ll be delighted to know that HIIT (high-intensity interval training) is the perfect prescription for those short on time. You can get just as many (or even more) benefits with a quick 20-minute HIIT cardio workout or a combo of cardio and resistance training with an 8 to 12-minute Tabata session as you can with an hour of steady-state (potentially boring) cardio.
Myth #7: You Shouldn’t Work Out When You’re Sick
The main reason to not work out when you’re sick is so you don’t infect other people. Aside from that, as long as you’re only dealing with “above the head” illness (like a head cold) and you’re not sporting a fever, then your workout should be a go. Just be sure to stay hydrated, and if you do start to feel worse while exercising, then give yourself permission to go home early and go to bed.
Other Common Fitness Myths
Have you heard of any other fitness or weight-loss “commandments” that seem questionable or contrary—or even ones that make sense but you’re not sure about? Leave a comment below, and we’ll do our best to answer them and debunk them if necessary!