6 Common Myths in Fitness

The fitness world has been mired with truths and myths from the moment it emerged. From the myth that we can reduce fat around our midriff by doing hundreds of sit-ups to the myth that exercise is bad for our knees, it is hard to determine what is a truth and what is a half-truth or a downright lie.

Here are six myths from the fitness world.

  1. Soreness means a good workout.

    This may come as a surprise to many, since even I didn’t know this at first, but, no, soreness does not necessarily mean a good workout. It may be satisfying to limp your way to school and tell your friends that you have just finished a great workout, but, in reality, soreness can be avoided.

    Soreness is thought to be caused by micro-tears in your muscles and when we slow down eccentric movements (muscle-lengthening) such as the downward part of a plank. Soreness can be eliminated by avoiding these eccentric movements and by keep the number of reps within a set low. This way, you can get progress without the pain.
  2. Exercise is bad for your knees.

    Sorry. The opposite is actually true, especially if you are doing the exercises right. Squats that are done properly will strengthen the muscles around your knees – stabiliser muscles – making you less prone to injury and more capable to run up an escalator. Furthermore, according to a 20-year Stanford University study, those who ran consistently showed less incidences of getting arthritis.
  3. You can reduce fat spots on your body.

    There is a myth that you can reduce fat spots on your body by engaging in exercises that specifically target that area. However, this is not the case. The problem actually can be solved hormonally. The stress hormone cortisol, for instance, causes the fat build-up in the abdomen area. While engaging in more sleep and spending time on the so-called Calm app will help you reduce this fat just a little, messing with hormones is hard and also not encouraged.
  4. Shorter is better.

    Not necessarily. There are workouts, such as the Tabata, which offers a short workout that will give you the same intensity as the long workouts. In this study, however, professional cyclists worked so intensely on this workout that they refused to do it again, which defeats the purpose of a workout. Longer workouts have effects – rise in endorphins – that no short workout can imitate, and, in reality, I would personally do a longer workout than a short, intense workout.
  5. Running vs lifting. Yoga vs quads. Zumba vs. boxexercising. There is only one good way to train.

    Oftentimes, people will tell you that you should only be doing certain types of exercises because they will benefit your body the most in ways that you never dreamed of. In reality, whatever training style you engage with, there will always be that one person who tells you that it is useless and you should try something else instead. Doing any type of exercise is helpful for your body, and engaging in whatever training style you enjoy will allow for continuous exercise and maximum levels of enjoyment.
  6. Less rests = working harder.

    Nope. Nope. Nope.

    When you exercise for a long period time with resting, your sets become slower, your muscles become sluggish, and you have a high risk of injuring yourself. Having rests in between allows your body to recover and go at full force in the subsequent set, offering better intensity and greater training stimulus. Don’t be ashamed if you have to rest in the middle of a set; you give yourself time to recover and reduce the risk of having an injury.

Those are six myths of the fitness world. Feel free to add more myths or correct me if I made a mistake in the comments! I personally was surprised by numbers 1, 2, and 3, simply because I’ve had it hammered in me that soreness is good, knees eventually go bad after running for a long time (my grandfather’s did, but that may be due to bad running shoes or posture), and that you can get abs by working on your midriff.

All in all, I think this post was very illuminating for me, and should be for y’all as well.

Shout-out to those who already knew all of this!

Lots of love and keep working out,

Jess

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