Before you knew it, the year changed before your eyes from 2017 to 2018. As we near the end of this decade and start fresh with new resolutions, goals, and habits, you might be wondering where to start! One of the most popular goals of any new year is to develop and maintain a healthy fitness goal so you can look and feel like your best self. Along the way, whether in the gym, reading the latest books, or talking with your friends, you might come across some advice about fitness methods and routines that just don’t stack up.
Though there are plenty of misconceptions surrounding the art of achieving your fitness goals, don’t let yourself get lost in them! Read as we destroy some of the most popular myths so you can get some peace of mind:
Myth 1: I can tone down specific muscle or body part.
This concept is called “spot training” and unfortunately, it doesn’t burn fat. As you work up each step in your fitness regimen, it is impossible to pinpoint a specific region where you’ll be losing weight. While you might be able to increase muscle definition in some parts of your body, the act of fat burning takes place throughout your body. On a biological level, your body chooses which fat stores to use when the need arises.
For example, lifting weights in one arm might cause the muscles within it to strengthen, but the fat deposit surrounding your muscles will largely remain the same. Activities like swimming and high-intensity training are great choices for trimming fat throughout your body, and as long as you couple them with muscle-toning exercises, you’ll be sure to get the best of both worlds.
Myth 2: Female-identifying people will always bulk up their muscles.
When beginning a weight lifting routine, the body requires certain hormones in order for its muscles to appear bulky or lean. Most male-identified people have a strong presence of testosterone, which enables the body to develop bulky muscles, not unlike those seen in wrestling or bodybuilder tournaments.
For the majority of female-identified folks, however, the presence of estrogen takes precedence over testosterone, which cancels out the bulky muscle effect in favor of more streamlined, slim muscles. Because of this, strength or weight training will often result in a slimmer appearance with a strong sheath of muscles that is designed for the specific hormone cocktail you have in your body.
Myth 3: There is no point in any fitness routine that isn’t a herculean feat.
This could not be farther from the truth! Even 30 minutes of moderate activity a day is enough to lead a balanced, healthy lifestyle. Depending on your mobility, you can do something as simple as isometric exercises or lift light weights with your hands or feet. Either way, a fitness regimen that fits your unique needs will help you achieve the goals you’ve set for yourself, and as a bonus, you’ll have a lesser risk of developing stroke, heart disease, or Type 2 diabetes, among other ailments.
For those who experience fatigue more quickly than others, a great way to attain your fitness goals is to split up your exercises throughout the day. For example, you might do 10 minutes of yoga in the morning, 10 minutes of moderate bicycle riding after lunch, and another 10 minutes of weight training in the afternoon. You can also hack your way into achieving your goals by taking the stairs instead of the elevator, using everyday objects as weights, and dancing to your favorite upbeat tunes!
Myth 4: Crunches and other ab exercises alone should get me a toned belly.
As we mentioned in a previous myth about spot training, the only way to tone your abdomen area is to perform specific exercises that will melt the fat around it. The best way to achieve a more sculpted belly is to stick to a regimen consisting of cardio and aerobic exercise, strength training, and a low-calorie diet. This way, you’ll burn the most calories and gain a faster metabolism that will help you reach your fitness goals in record time.
Keep in mind, however, that while you may certainly do as many crunches or sit-ups as you would like, the muscle definition these exercises will bring may not be visible to you if the other exercise types mentioned above are not incorporated into your fitness routine. Whatever you do, go slow, and layer your workouts so that you won’t experience new year resolution burnout.
Myth 5: Keeping workouts in a low-intensity zone will help burn fat faster.
Something to keep in mind about exercise and weight control is to understand that the total number of calories you burn in a workout or day’s worth of exercise (instead of the percentage of fat calories burned) is the defining factor that will determine your fitness achievements.
For example, if you ride your bike on an incline in full speed for 5 minutes, this will burn more calories per minute than if you coasted it on a flat trail in a city park for the same amount of time. As long as you perform exercises and maintain a fitness regimen that allows for the maximum possible (depending on your health needs) burned calories for each day you go into the gym.
Myth 6: It’s only working if it hurts.
We believe that the above statement constitutes one of the most harmful myths that could exist in the fitness world since it promotes the idea that pain is something to be celebrated rather than taken seriously. Granted, many exercises, including pilates and yoga, can be quite uncomfortable. You might even begin to feel very mild stinging sensations in some areas of your body if under an intense weight training regimen. If you find yourself feeling even moderate amounts of pain, especially in your chest, cool down from your current exercise, stretch, and take it easy for the day.
We would even strongly recommend speaking with your primary care physician or a medical expert about why you are experiencing pain, and what you can do to have a relatively pain-free workout. A good rule of thumb to keep in mind when working out is to build towards a maximum heart rate that causes heavy breathing and sweating, but not to the point where you are so winded that even answering a question seems impossible. Most of all, the best advice any fitness guru can tell you is to listen to your body since it has unique needs and limits.
While you’ll come across a slew of information about fitness online and offline, you will inevitably find yourself learning some unreliable or downright dangerous information that could keep you from achieving your fitness goals safely and effectively. When in doubt, ask a trusted fitness coach or physician who is willing to craft the best exercise regimen that will best suit your needs based on your body type and medical history. And at Raw Result Fitness, you’ll get the perfect advice and routine from our expert personal trainers.