Separating Fitness Fact from Fiction


It is all too common for people to have false beliefs when it comes to fitness and nutrition. In this field, myths are wildly popular, and widely-known ideas often turn out to be nothing more than fiction. A fitness tip recommended by a gym buddy may seem beneficial; could even be seen as a friendly gesture. However, because individuals respond differently to exercise, a simple tip could end up doing more harm than good.

Professional triathlete and personal coach Eric Harr, author of The Portable Personal Trainer, told WebMD: “Some myths are just harmless half-truths, but many others can actually be harmful.” He also noted that, “They can cause frustration in working out and sometimes even lead to injury.” When it comes to food and exercise, living according to popular myths can oftentimes be detrimental to one’s health.

It’s time to separate fitness fact from fiction, and reveal the truth behind some of the most commonly believed fitness myths. Below, check out some of the most popular beliefs related to exercise and discover the truths behind them.  Learning the truth behind these myths will ultimately be beneficial in shaping and maintaining a healthy lifestyle.

Myth: Weight lifting will lead to a bulky build

Fact: Many women shy away from weight lifting, fearing that this type of workout will lead to unwanted bulk. However, what many do not know is that weights are far more likely to lead to increased tone and definition in women. Unlike men, females lack the testosterone necessary to bulk up as a result of weight lifting, and actually need to train in a very specific manner in order to do so.

Myth: Not breaking a sweat during a workout is a sign that it isn’t effective

Fact: In fact, it is possible to have a great exercise session without soaking through a shirt. Walking and light weight training are two perfect examples of activities that burn calories, but may not necessarily lead to sweat stains. Sweating is a sign that the body is cooling off, but it should not serve as the sole indicator of physical exertion. Too much sweat can lead to dizziness and dehydration. If you do prepare to participate in a sweaty workout, be sure to hydrate properly!

Myth: Crunches can banish belly fat

Fact: Unfortunately, abdominal exercise alone will not make a significant difference when it comes to getting rid of excess belly fat. To burn a pound of fat, one needs to consume fewer calories, burn a greater number of calories, or a combination of the two. A pound of fat is equal to about 3,500 calories. Diet, exercise regimen, and genetic makeup all contribute to how calories are burned. In addition to abdominal exercises and strength training, cardiovascular exercise and a healthy diet are necessary in order to achieve a 6-pack stomach.

Myth: It is best to stretch before a workout

Fact: The proper time to stretch muscles has long been a topic of debate among fitness enthusiasts and professionals. It has been determined that it is best to stretch after the muscles have already been warmed up. Before running, go for a short walk or do some jumping jacks, then stretch before starting a more intense workout.

Myth: It is a poor decision to exercise sore muscles

Fact: In actuality, working out when sore may not necessarily be a bad choice. If the muscle is painful to touch, or the pain places a limitation on its range of motion, then a rest day is definitely a good idea. However, if the pain is not as extreme, it may be best to take an “active rest” and engage in stretching, light weight lifting, or less strenuous aerobic activity. This less intense exercise will get the blood pumping through the sore muscles, which could aid in repairing them.

Myth: Running on a treadmill is less stressful for the knees, compared with running outside

Fact: During a run, the weight of the body on the joints can cause a great deal of stress. Regardless of whether the workout takes place on a treadmill or a road, the knees can certainly take a beating. In order to best save the knees from the full impact of running-induced stress, switch up the aerobic exercise. Instead of running every day, try biking, rollerblading, swimming, or using an elliptical machine.

Be sure to consider these fitness truths when planning out an exercise regimen. Knowing the facts behind common exercise myths can certainly make a difference! Stay educated, stay fit, and stay healthy.

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  1. Day 7 « Coffee time conversations - July 5, 2012

    […] also read a good article on myths of exercising. If you are a starter, you’ll find it […]

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