5 exercise myths you need to be aware of

“Feel the Burn”!  I’m sure you’ve heard it! I remember hearing that [A LOT!] when I first started working out.  I thought it meant that I had to feel the burn in order to see results.  Well, guess what…I was wrong.

Prevention Magazine recently did an article all about exercise myths and I just had to read it.  I learned about these myths a long time ago, but the reminder was nice.  We get caught up in things we hear in the media and automatically believe them to be true.  Everything we read on the internet is not true, right?  Hello, fake news!

To help you get a better sense for what’s true and what’s not, let’s go through the myths in the article one at a time.

Myth 1 – No pain, no gain.

If you’re experiencing pain either during or after a workout, it’s not a good thing.  True pain is different than muscle soreness.  Pain is our body telling us that we need to take a break.  Muscle soreness is normal following a good workout and is how our body grows stronger muscles.  If you’re being told by your trainer that you should feel pain, get a new one.  One that knows the body.  If you’re experiencing true pain, you may want to see your physician.

Myth 2 – You can slim your belly with crunches.

Ummm, nope, I’ve tried.  Doing crunches will strengthen your ab muscles, but it won’t necessarily help you burn the fat just in your abdomen.  That’s because you can’t target weight loss to one particular area of the body.  The real key to losing belly fat is through nutrition.  I’ve learned that weight loss is 20% exercise and 80% diet.  If you really want to lose your belly, take a hard look at your nutrition.  

Myth 3 – To see results, your workouts should always be an hour long.

I have done long workouts and short workouts and both give me great results.  However, there’s just one problem.  Long workouts can be really freakin’ long!  If you’re like me, you’ve got a ton of things going on and a shorter workout is better for you.  If you’re looking to get some time back, try a shorter, more vigorous exercise like high-intensity interval training (HIIT).

Myth 4 – Doing static stretches before exercise can help prevent injuries.

Static stretches, or long, slow stretches, can actually do more harm than good.  Static stretches don’t necessarily help warm up the body and warming the muscles is really what you want and what you need for a good workout.  Instead, try dynamic stretches.  These involve movement while doing the stretch.  Think of a lunge with small pulses.  According to the article, the dynamic stretches are spot on if they mimic your actual workout. Just make sure you do your stretches at a lower intensity.

Myth 5 – Strength training is better than cardio if you’re trying to lose weight.

I love strength training but I wouldn’t necessarily use the word better when comparing it to cardio.  The article indicates that cardiovascular exercise burns more calories per minute than strength training and while this is true, I don’t think you should do solely one or the other.  While cardio burns calories while you’re doing the exercise, strength training will continue to burn calories even after the workout is over. I recommend incorporating interval training because it will increase your heart rate, keep the body confused and you’ll get in both cardio and strength training.  

Which of these myths surprise you? Share your thoughts in the comments.  

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