Fitness

7 Workout Myths You Need to Know

Few of us have a lot of time to devote to the gym. At best, most people can afford to dedicate a handful of hours to workouts each week. That’s why it’s crucial we go to the gym educated, meaning we know what the best workouts are.

Of course, it’s equally important that we know all about those nasty gym myths that can lead us to waste our time and leave us feeling less invigorated by our workouts. Here, we’ll take a look at the seven most irritating workout myths, with the goal of helping you be more efficient at the local gym…

1. Doing Crunches Will Give You Six-Pack Abs

For years the popular belief was that, to reduce belly fat and expose our abdominal muscles, one needed to do crunches and lots of them. But experts now insist that this is a myth, because while doing lots of crunches—or sit-ups—will help you build stronger abdominal muscles, it won’t reveal those muscles. Why? Because crunches don’t burn calories or fat.

The key, then, is to take up a more vigorous, total-body workout that burns calories, builds muscle, and helps you reveal those abdominal muscles. And if you’re looking for a great ab workout, look no further than the plank, which is designed to activate roughly three times as many muscles as you’ll use while performing a crunch.

2. Treadmills Know How to Count Calories

Most of today’s treadmills are fairly advanced machines, which means they can track your progress, show your heart rate, and give you an idea of how many calories you’ve burned. But they’re not perfect, particularly when it comes to tracking burned calories.

Simply put, the rate at which you burn calories depends on a wide variety of factors, from your weight to gender and even age. Some treadmills will track some of these things, but few can get it right. So, don’t take the treadmill’s calorie count as the ultimate truth. In fact, there’s a good chance it’s way off.

3. Strength Training Will Turn You Into Arnie

Many people—and especially many women—believe that shifting from an exclusively cardiovascular-focused workout to a strength training workout will turn one into a hulking body-builder. Many men worry that this will impede their cardio progress, while many women fear this will make them less feminine.

But it takes years, and in some cases, many drugs, to turn someone into a professional body builder. Remember that a balanced workout consisting of cardio and strength training is widely considered the best way to burn fat and build an efficient, calorie-burning body.


4. More Gym Time, Better Body

The key to a good workout is keeping your intensity level—and heart rate—up. If you’re lounging around the gym talking to friends, you’re not burning any calories, which means you won’t see any positive results.

In other words, you don’t have to spend a lot of time at the gym. Just focus on building and following a high-intensity interval training (HIIT) circuit that will cut down the time you need to spend working out while helping you burn lots of calories. Try focusing on intense activities, like running or swimming, if your body can handle it—and it’s a good idea to run this by a doctor beforehand.

5. Going to the Gym Will Transform You

Hate that fat tends to build up around your stomach or butt rather than your hips? Going to the gym won’t change that or any other part of your natural figure. Simply put, you can’t spot-target fat, meaning you won’t be able to remove fat from one area while leaving it in others.

The key is to carry out full-body workouts that include intense exercises, like burpees. These activities will work your whole frame, allowing you to shape every part of your body. But it’s simply impossible to go from one body shape to another just by visiting the gym.

6. Skip the Gym When You’re Sick

Many people skip the gym when they come down with the slightest cold. But a touch of a stuffy nose or sore throat won’t have a big impact on your workout. Meanwhile, a workout won’t intensify a cold—so long as it’s just a scratchy throat and nagging stuffed nose.

Of course, you should skip a workout if you feel really terrible—meaning you can barely get out of bed or feel excessively drained. It’s also a good idea to skip the gym if your lungs and airways are stuffed, since this could present a danger when your workout gets more intense.

7. Pain Will Bring Big Gains

Pain is your body’s way of telling you something is wrong. Some type of pain is okay—like the soreness you might feel in your muscles the day after a vigorous workout. But you shouldn’t be feeling a lot of pain while you’re actually at the gym. If you ignore this and continue with your workout, you could be putting yourself in danger of sustaining a serious injury.

That’s why it’s a good idea to get some guidance from an expert. Get an experienced professional to show you proper form, whether it’s going for a run outside or doing squats at the gym.

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