We may all have believed in at least one. We debunk these 6 exercise myths with science-backed truths, so that you can workout smarter!
Myth 1: Doing crunches and sit-ups will give you defined abs
The appearance of abs will only show when the overall body fat is low. You could do a truckload of crunches, sit-ups, core exercises but still not have defined abs if a layer to thick fat is covering them. That is not to say that core exercises are not important. On the contrary, core exercises are extremely crucial for injury prevention and performance.
As the saying goes, “abs are made in the kitchen”. The way to get the 6-pack is through a combination of proper nutrition and a balanced training plan. When your body fat percentage drops to 12% (for men) or 20% (for women), that is when your abs will show.
Myth 2: If you are not sweating, you did not workout hard enough
Someone can have a hard workout but not sweat, while another could be sweating buckets from a light workout. Sweating is a function to help your body regulate its temperature. While your body temperature is bound to rise during a workout, it is not an accurate measure of the intensity of your workout. How much you sweat also depends on other factors such as the temperature and humidity of the environment that you are exercising in.
Myth 3: You should go at 100% in order to not “waste” your time
Going at a high intensity frequently can lead to overtraining and impede recovery. Especially if you are working out almost daily, an all-out effort every session not only leads to a mental burnout, but also increases your chances of injury.
Giving 100% may be a great way to improve cardio levels, but be sure to dedicate time in your training programme to work on things like proper workout techniques and working on weaker and neglected muscle groups, even if it means going at a much lower intensity.
Myth 4: Running is the best way to lose weight
Running may be a great starting point for beginners to lose weight. It is free, does not require much skill and is not as daunting as attending a class or gym full of strangers. But as your body becomes accustomed to running and it becomes less effortful to complete the same distance, your body will require a different stimulus to burn calories.
Research has shown that short bursts of intense exercise can provide the same health benefits as endurance workouts. Adding weight training exercises will also help to build muscle and increase your resting metabolic rate so that you can burn more calories at rest.
Myth 5: Squats are bad for my knees
If you have bad knees, instead of avoiding squats, squats will become your best friend to strengthen them. With sound exercise technique, and safe and gradual load increments, not only do your muscles get stronger, the cartilage, ligaments, and tendons of the knees can also become stronger. Seek advice from a trained fitness professional or a physiotherapist for proper technique guidance and workout plan.
Myth 6: I worked out, so I can eat anything I crave
Some people like to take a workout session as a license to gorge on junk food. But the truth is, you cannot out train a bad diet. It might have worked for you when you were younger, when metabolism was much higher. But as metabolism slows as you age, this exercise myth will surely get exposed through the inability to recover fast with poor nutrition and build up of unwanted fat.
Often understated is the importance of having a proper nutrition plan. Losing weight is about maintaining a daily caloric deficit, so in addition to a balanced training programme, ensuring that your caloric intake does not exceed the caloric output is key to hitting your weight goals.