Top 10 Most Scandalous Fitness Myths:
1. The more miles you run, the more weight you will lose
I’ve never seen a fat marathoner, but I’ve also never seen a fat sprinter. Running definitely burns calories, but how you run is often more important that how far you are running. Running intervals that are shorter in distance and higher in intensity will increase your basal metabolic rate and help you build lean muscle. Steady-state long-distance running, on the other hand, burns less calories than intervals, and if you do too much of it, lowers your metabolism and makes you gain weight more easily (source).
2, The “calories burned” display on the cardio equipment at the gym is accurate:
Do not- I repeat- DO NOT pay attention to the “calories burned” counter on the cardio equipment. The number of calories you burn depends on your current level of fitness, weight, heart rate, gender, your form, what you’ve eaten & drank during the day, and more. The cardio machines are not that smart.
3.Yoga is just “stretching” and not an actual workout:
Two words: Firefly pose. Actually, this myth deserves a lot more than two words. There are many different types of yoga, each with different levels of difficulty, flexibility, balance, and muscle needed to succeed. Practicing yoga takes physical and mental discipline, endurance, and skill. And yes, yoga will most definitely give you a workout. Even if you are Arnold Schwarzenegger.
4. It doesn’t matter what “kind” of calories you eat (protein, fat, carb), as long as you are restricting your intake.
Ok, numerically speaking, a calorie is a calorie. One calorie of fat = one calorie of protein = one calorie of carbs. Thus, a lot of people fall into the arithmetic trap of energy expended – calories consumed = weight lost, and think “Wahoo! I can eat 1200 calories at Krispy Kreme as long as I don’t eat anything else for the rest of the day”. However, not all calories are created equal. How your body uses these calories is what makes the difference between 300 calories of strawberries and 300 calories of strawberry shortcake.
5. Drinking tons of water will make you bloated:
Hydrate! Drinking a ton of water will actually help cleanse your whole system, hydrate every cell, and reduce bloating. Drinking a lot of water is also not the same as retaining water (which does make you bloated). These foods, however, will make you retain water & air, and become bloated: Carbonated beverages, gum & hard candy (you are swallowing a lot of air), salty foods (sodium causes your body to retain water), beans, and dairy products.
6. Doing a lot of reps at a low weight will help you get “toned”
The word “toned” is a very misleading one. Most people understand “toned” to mean something along the lines of “defined muscles, but not big and bulky”. However, the exercises used to “get toned” are the exact same exercises used to “bulk up”. That is because getting a bodybuilder figure is highly dependent on food and supplements. All muscles (big and small) are developed the same way: By pushing your muscles to work until micro-tears are created in the muscle fibers. The body’s process of mending these micro-tears is what causes your muscles to grow defined, shapely, and “toned”. However, if you are doing a lot of reps at a low weight, you will not cause micro-tears in your muscles, your body will not have to mend them, and your muscles will end up looking the same. And you will have wasted a lot of time waving your limbs around the gym.
To get toned, opt for weights and exercises that make you “fail” (which is a good thing!) at 8-12 reps.
7. The longer you work out, the more calories you will burn
The human body is an amazingly adaptable machine. Sometimes a bit too adaptable. When you body senses that you are expending a lot of energy for a prolonged period of time, it adapts and compensates for this stress by lowering your metabolism and storing food as fat to conserve energy (aka. calories). This is your body’s ancestral way of making sure that if you were chased by hyenas in the African Savannah for 3 hours straight, you would be able to survive. Short, high-intensity workouts are much more effective for losing weight than long, low-intensity workouts.
8. Aerobics classes are for pansies
Aerobics classes are not easy. They are usually one hour straight (No breaks! Not even for a minute!), high intensity, and require flexibility, coordination, endurance, and strength. Aerobics classes get a “pansy” reputation because their usual clientele are young or middle-aged women. Gigantically buff men are rarely seen in an aerobics class, hence, the wrongly perceived level of “easiness”. However, this gender divide can actually be explained by a number of non-physical reasons. Women tend to prefer aerobics classes because, as natural communicators, they build and thrive under the community support of a group fitness class, which helps them stay accountable and successful in their fitness quest.
9. Everybody at the gym is staring at you and judging you:
False. Everybody is at the gym to work on bettering themselves, not to stare at other people. Even that model-type diva in a sports bra is at the gym because she working on something she wants to change. That’s why people are at the gym! So don’t be embarrassed.
Plus, do you stare and judge other people when you are at the gym? Probably not. People are too busy fiddling with their iPods, watching TV, concentrating on lifting, concentrating on running faster, wiping the sweat out of their eyes, repeating a mantra in their heads, looking at the clock… the list is endless. The only time people will stare at and judge you at the gym is if you show up wearing something absolutely ridiculous. Like designer jeans.
10. Lifting heavy weights will make girls bulky she-men:
This is my personal favorite gym myth to bust, so I made a meme (pictured above) and a whole article on why all women should lift heavy things.