There are many fitness myths out there that can deter you from reaching your fitness goals. You may have heard that you should never work out on an empty stomach, or that you should always do cardio before weightlifting. But what’s the truth behind these myths? To help you learn which fitness tips to follow and which ones to ignore, we’ve gathered some of the most common myths and set the record straight.
In this post, we will uncover 11 such fitness myths that are actually not true:
11 Fitness Facts that in reality are Myths
1. No Pain No Gain is a Workout Myth:
One of the myths about working out is that it will always be a painful experience. In reality, there are many different types of workouts that can be enjoyable and easy to do.
For example, swimming is a great exercise for people with a lot of tension in their back since it doesn’t put any pressure on the joints and muscles. There are also exercises like yoga or pilates where people can get a good workout without putting too much pressure on their body.
Exercise is not supposed to hurt you in the process in order to give you effective results. In fact, as you get used to exercising, with time, you will only feel a bit of soreness in your body at the end of the sessions and that is in no way a pain.
According to Professional Fitness Trainer David H. Williams, “no pain, no gain” is a wrong motto at the gym, you are encouraging yourself to get a serious injury. People have to understand what pain is in their body, pain and discomfort are two different things and mostly, pain is a sign of an injury.
2. Fasted Cardio Myth is in itself a Myth:
Many people believe fasted cardio is a myth. But this in itself is a myth because a study was published in The Journal of Physiology that says that you can’t prove a case for fasted cardio being a myth.
In this study, researchers from the University of Bath and Loughborough University found that when taking part in aerobic exercise after an overnight fast, participants had lower levels of inflammation markers.
In contrast, when they exercised after a meal, their inflammation markers were higher.
The researchers believe these findings may be because fasting before exercise improves insulin sensitivity and enhances lipid metabolism.
This is important because elevated levels of inflammation have been shown to increase the risk for cardiovascular disease and diabetes.
If people want to do cardio then it is best to do it first thing in the morning before breakfast or right after a workout without eating anything.
There is only one case where fasted cardio is not good and you should be asking yourself:
Why you shouldn’t do fasted cardio?
You shouldn’t do fasted cardio if you are insulin resistant to this type of exercise. For you, it could worsen the metabolic dysfunction and lead to other health problems such as cognitive impairment and cardiovascular disease.
With insulin resistance, if you are looking to lose weight, fasted cardio can lead to muscle loss because of the drop in protein synthesis that happens with prolonged fasting. Even if your goal isn’t weight loss but fat-loss specifically, fasted cardio might not be the best option for you either.
3. Fat Burning through Exercise is a Myth:
The myth that fat can be burned through exercise is not true.
Fat is only burned off when the body is at a caloric deficit, meaning that it has used up more energy than it received from food or drink.
Exercising for an hour will burn about 100 calories, which won’t make a dent in most people’s calorific intake.
Additionally, most of the calories are used to fuel the exercise itself – not to burn fat.
Key lifestyle changes are necessary to get fit. Exercising is helpful, but with positive lifestyle changes you can lose weight even without exercise.
4. Always Stretch Before Workout is a Myth:
You might not be aware of this but you don’t really need to stretch before a workout. A lot of fitness experts recommend that people do it but, the truth is, you can do it after the workout instead.
The important thing is to make sure that your muscles are warmed up before you start your workout. If you spend some time warming up first by doing some gentle exercises like arm circles or foot circles, then you will be ready for anything!
5. Machines will Beat Free Weights is a Myth:
Unfortunately, machines are designed in a way that favors men. And it can make it tough for women to reap the full rewards. Also, machines isolate specific muscles, which is not good for fat burning and free weights are handier in that regard.
The machines do not allow the user to move freely and the free weights are better for a more natural movement.
Now for building muscles in the long run it is recommended to use free weights because they activate the muscles in a better way. Machines on the other hand are better for training the weaker muscles. They are safer to use and less likely to get you injured.
6. Treadmill is as effective as Running Outside is a Myth:
This is also not true. In reality, running outside is more effective because of the uneven terrain and wind shifts. The odds of burning fats are 5% higher in running outside in comparison to indoor treadmills.
Check out our detailed blog on running on a treadmill vs running outside.
7. Don’t Workout when Sick is a Myth:
As long as the symptoms are not above the neck, you are totally OK to hit the gym. Only things like running nose, sore throat or headache can stop you from workouts.
If you are not OK, what you can do is reduce the intensity. Walk instead of running or decrease the number of reps in your weight lifting.
But make sure you are not trying too hard to force through things. Take a rest altogether if you think there is a problem with an upset stomach, or you have a fever, fatigue or widespread muscle aches. Leave the workout altogether in all those cases.
8. Workout Makes you Hungry is a Myth:
According to the International Journal of Obesity, high-intensity exercises can actually decrease your craving for food. While the outcome is promising for people looking to control their appetite, the study is small and done only on men — also researchers are not certain whether these effects will last long-term or not. Further studies need to be done on this matter and in a broader way.
If food craving is your problem, this short video might be helpful.
9. Running Always Beats Walking is a myth:
Not exactly! They both target similar muscles but just at a different intensity. Only if you are short of time, running is better and winning but other than that, it will take twice as much time in walking but the results will be similar.
10. Women Should Lift Lower Weights And Do More Reps Then Men:
This is a particularly common myth. Women get worried that lifting heavier weights will bulk them up. This is not true!
Also, it’s a fact that without chemical assistance, women are not likely to achieve extraordinary muscle growth.
The reason is that women’s testosterone is lower, which means it is not possible for them to lift as much as men. But it also doesn’t mean a woman starts lifting the three-pound dumbbells.
Because they won’t work. The resistance in them is too low to create a change in the muscle. A good approach for women is to do six to eight repetitions with a weight that challenges them enough.
11. High-intensity interval training (HIIT) will ruin your gains
Despite its many benefits, HIIT is often misunderstood and maligned by people who are afraid to push themselves hard. Some people believe that HIIT will ruin their gains, but this is simply not true. HIIT after lifting weights can actually help you build muscle and lose weight.
The intensity of HIIT is what makes it so effective. You can achieve more in a shorter period than you could with traditional cardio. HIIT also burns more calories after your workout is over because your body is still burning extra energy.
If you are new to HIIT, start slowly and build up the intensity over time. Always listen to your body and don’t push yourself too hard. Consult with a doctor before starting any new exercise program.
That’s all in 11 fitness facts that in reality are fitness myths. What other myths will you like to add to the list?