With the right information comes your greatest results!
Have you ever felt overwhelmed or confused by all the conflicting information floating around in the fitness community? We hear you!
Misconceptions and misinformation have created many myths that may be inhibiting your progress towards your health and fitness goals. To help clear the rubbish off the path to your fitness journey, we're busting 10 myths about fitness!
1. Doing crunches and ab circuits will get rid of belly fat.
We all have those areas where we store more fat - but sadly, it's impossible to spot-reduce.
If you're storing extra fat on your belly, for example, doing lots of crunches and daily ab circuits will not necessarily give you a lean stomach.
The same is true for any part of the body - working a specific muscle group will not burn the fat stored in that area. There are so many factors at play when it comes to where we store and lose fat, from genetics and hormones to diet and lifestyle.
The way to lose fat on any part of your body is to burn more calories than you consume by eating healthy and training smart. Nutrition is the key, especially for a lean midsection.
2. You need to sweat to get an effective workout.
Sweating is the biological response which regulates our body temperature by cooling the skin. We can sweat buckets lazing in the sun on a hot day, and we can also get a great workout without sweating much at all.
While it can feel great to work up a sweat, our level of sweatiness is never an accurate measure of how effective our workouts are.
3. Running is counterproductive to strength training.
This myth is the reason why some bodybuilders have surprisingly poor cardiovascular fitness. Unless we're running a full marathon each day, running will not prevent us from building and maintain muscle.
In fact, running (and other cardio workouts) can help us build stamina and boost our metabolism. If someone ever tries to tell you that running will make you weak and skinny fat - ignore them, lace up your running shoes and chase that runner's high!
4. Cardio is more important for fat loss than weight training.
Cardio is great for our heart health and a handy way to burn some extra calories, but it isn't necessary for fat loss. Remember that weight training also increases our caloric burn for hours afterwards, as well as during the workout.
This is because our bodies need extra fuel to repair, recover and improve after weight training. Cardio is important for our overall health and fitness, but 20 minutes here and there is enough to achieve and maintain excellent health.
5. Taking rest days is lazy.
Rest and recovery days are just as important as your training days - and if you're training correctly, you should NEED to have rest days!
Training 7 days a week might sound like the best thing we can do to reach our goals sooner, but in reality, it's counterproductive to all aspects of our health and fitness.
Enjoy your rest days! Not only are they are a wonderful reward for all your hard work, but they are also where all the magic happens.
6. You have to eat less on rest days.
Although we might require a little less carbohydrate while we're relaxing on our rest days, drastically reducing our calorie intake is a terrible idea.
Just as we need fuel to get through our workouts, our bodies also require plenty of fuel to recover, repair and come back to training feeling strong and energised.
Eating well isn't just a reward for working out - it's something we all deserve every day, whether we've been to the gym or not.
7. You should never skip a workout, even if you’re exhausted.
What do you do when it's a training day, but your body is screaming ‘NO'? The best thing you can do is listen to your body, and be honest with yourself about what it's telling you.
Are you just feeling a bit lazy and unmotivated? Or are you genuinely exhausted? Pushing through on the days we don't feel properly recovered is not an act of commitment, strength or bravery - it's just a bit silly.
There is no shame in taking an extra day (or 2… or 3!) when we need it. Our bodies know best, so let's listen to and respect them!
8. If you’re not exhausted after training, you didn’t workout hard enough.
Knowing our limits prevents injuries. Utterly destroying ourselves at every workout prolongs our recovery time and limits our progress.
Workouts should always retain some element of enjoyment because consistent training is more effective than intense training.
It's also important to take into account how much you're really able to rest on your rest days. The intensity of your recovery needs to match the intensity of your training - and days spent sitting in saunas, getting massages, and laying by the pool are not always possible. Train smarter, not harder.
9. Static stretching before a workout prevents injuries.
Holding static stretches doesn't improve our range of motion as well as you may think, and it can actually destabilise our muscles and lead to injury.
While it is important to stretch after a workout, let's not confuse stretching with warming up. The aim of warming up before a workout is to literally heat up our muscles by increasing the blood flow to them.
We do this by moving our body in a repetitive and focused way until our heart rate goes up, we're breathing a little heavier, and we feel the warmth of our activated muscle groups.
Dynamic stretching is a great way to achieve this!
10. Having shredded abs means you’re fit, strong and healthy.
Abs is short for rectus abdominis, which is the long and flat muscle which runs in a vertical line down our abdomen. We all have it, and this muscle forms part of our ‘core.'
Visible abs are frequently associated with having a strong core and a high level of fitness, but seeing this muscle has nothing to do with how strong or fit we are. Visible abs are just a sign of having a low body fat percentage, which is by no means healthy by default.
As our bodies are all different and unique, the body fat percentage at which our abs become visible can vary greatly between people.
Always focus on becoming stronger and fitter, rather than setting only aesthetic goals. Your abs may appear, or you may never see them - but it really doesn't matter because it's not a reflection of your wellbeing, fitness, or strength!
Did you believe any of these fitness myths? If so, we hope you're now feeling some relief, clarity and liberation.
It's so important to take care when looking for fitness inspiration because anyone with a social media account can come across as an expert if we believe myth number 10!
In a world buzzing with information, images and ideals, it's vital that we take the time to look within ourselves for the answers.
In health and fitness, there is no one-size-fits-all solution. If something doesn't feel true for you, then it probably isn't!