We’ve all heard a lot of fitness myths, things people believe strongly but which are totally not true. For example, the myth that “jogging is the best way to lose weight” or “women shouldn’t lift weights because it will make them life bulky”. We love to debunk myths, so we’ve come up with a few hard truths about your favorite fitness myths. Here is what you need to know:
Myth #1: Cardio is King
Truth: cardio is important, but it’s not the all-in-all. Cardio focuses on improving your cardiovascular health and getting your lungs, heart, and blood vessels working in sync. While this is critical for good overall health, it’s not the primary component of fitness. Weight training is better for stress management, weight loss, muscle-building, and hormone balancing, and flexibility is critical for better movement and reduced pain throughout your day. Get some cardio, but don’t make it the prime focus of your workouts!
Myth #2: Crunches build killer abs.
Truth: Crunches are one of the many abs exercises you can do to build that six-pack, but it’s not the only choice around. In fact, it’s one of the least effective exercises, due to the fact that it only working specific abs muscles throughout the range of movement. And, just doing abs exercises isn’t going to give you that six-pack you want. For serious ripped muscle, you need to combine adequate carb intake, proper sleep, low stress levels, full-body interval training, and training moves that engage your entire core. Crunches are the “easy” choice, not the effective one.
Myth #3: Sports drinks are vital for workouts.
Truth: There is only one time when you need a high-calorie, electrolyte-rich sports drink, and that’s after an intense workout session that lasts more than 60 minutes. For your average workout, there’s no need for all the excess calories, and you don’t ever lose that much potassium and sodium. Most sports drinks are little more than simple sugars mixed with minerals your body doesn’t really need unless you’re pushing yourself past the point of endurance. Be warned: all that extra sugar is going to make fat-burning a whole lot harder!
Myth #4: Running burns pounds.
Truth: Yes and no. Cardio does help to burn fatty acids rather than protein, but the truth is that it won’t speed up fat-burning half as effectively as high intensity resistance training. High intensity training kicks the cardiovascular system into high gear, but it engages the muscles to burn through all of your stored energy far more quickly. You can torch twice as many calories in half the time doing a high intensity resistance training workout, so it’s your best choice for serious pound-loss.
Myth #5: Be gentle with your stretches.
Truth: Yes, you want to be gentle with your joints and connective tissue when you stretch, but not so gentle that you don’t ever get a proper stretch. You need to feel the limit of your flexibility, then push yourself slightly beyond it to keep lengthening the connective tissues. Dynamic stretches are far more effective than static stretches thanks to the fact that they push your joints, ligaments, and tendons just enough to increase flexibility and mobility.
Myth #6: More volume = better muscle-building.
Truth: Volume refers to reps x sets. The commonly held (mis)belief is that more volume is the key to better muscle-building. The truth is that more weight is actually going to lead to better muscle-building, because the added weight leads to greater damage to your muscle fibers. You can see serious results with sets of fewer reps and more weight.