There are so many messages thrown at us every day about what we should be doing to get healthy – it can be overwhelming. It is important to remember that not all messages in the media are true! Here are seven common myths about working out, and the truth you should believe instead:
- If you exercise you can eat whatever you want. The truth is you can’t out-exercise bad food choices! Enjoy a diet rich in whole foods like fruit, vegetables, lean meat and dairy, nuts, seeds, spices, and herbs to feel your best and properly fuel your workouts. Aim for at least 80% whole and 20% indulgent then work your way up to 90/10.
- You can spot-train certain areas of the body to reduce fat. Although you can tone up specific areas of your body, you can’t selectively remove fat from an area (without surgery, that is). With that in mind, belly fat is typically the first to decrease when losing weight. Don’t fall for the myth that crunches burn belly fat, either. Planks can give you stronger abs, without the back strain. The reality is, without healthy diet changes to accompany your exercise, washboard abs will remain hidden under belly fat. If you’re having problems with those last few pounds, check out how to beat a weight plateau.
- The best workout means feeling sore afterwards. Waking up sore can feel like a success, but it is certainly not the only sign of an effective workout. Cardiovascular exercises like cycling, power walking, swimming, or hiking may not make you feel sore, but they’re excellent for the heart and blood vessels and for boosting overall wellness. A fun and effective workout gadget is the Sklz Quick Ladder. Not only is it portable and fun, it increases balance and body control.
- Lifting weights makes women ‘bulky’. Men and women have different hormone levels, which affect how we put on muscle. There are a lot of very strong women who are anything but bulky. Lifting weights can help you tone up and boost your metabolism, making it easier to maintain a healthy, happy shape! My favorite form of resistance training is Pilates. You can adjust the tension on the springs, effectively increasing the weight. Finally I have calf muscles – thanks, Pilates! For those who are weight training more intensely and need a post-recovery drink with protein, try the Umoro Shaker Bottle, it’s the perfect travel companion!
- Working out at a lower heart rate gets you into the ‘fat burning zone’. Although exercising at a lower heart rate will predominantly use fat stores instead of glycogen, let go of the idea of some perfect ‘fat burning zone’. If you have a limited amount of time to work out, you are better off doing a higher intensity exercise because this will actually burn more calories and fat throughout the day. Looking for something new – try jumping with the Crossrope! It’s a weighted jump rope that works great as a cross-training system. Perfect when you have limited time.
- If you don’t sweat, you’re not working out. Temperature, humidity, and location (indoors vs. outdoors), can all affect how much you sweat. It is not a reliable indicator of exercise intensity. Instead, use your perceived effort to judge the intensity of your workout. Remember to stay hydrated! On days with high humidity you can get dehydrated even if you don’t feel it – so always pack water on your workouts!
- Sports drinks are the best way to hydrate after a workout. Unless you are working out intensely for more than an hour or engaging in a very strenuous workout, water and possibly a piece of fruit will do the trick just fine. For longer and more difficult workouts, like sports games, long runs, or difficult hikes, try a natural electrolyte replacement like cantaloupe with a bit of salt!
Now that we’ve debunked these common fitness myths, you can focus on what’s really important – finding a consistent form of exercise you love that makes you feel great! Now check out new, old, odd and fad fitness routines that could work for you!