Friday, August 23, 2013

Fitness Fibs To Be Aware Of

Not all fitness facts are true. Some are fibs instead.
Not all fitness facts are true. Some are fibs instead.
Image: Shutterstock

Like anything else, the fitness world is full of myths, so-called “facts” that have been deemed true simply because people say they’re true. But we all know that’s not really how the world works. As much as I want to believe that unicorns and fairies exist, that doesn’t mean it’s actually true. I’m still holding out hope, but I’m not placing any bets.

Fitness fibs abound. They’re everywhere, and they often sound so logical that we might not feel the need to check before we pass the information off as true. Unfortunately, that’s just the kind of thinking that leads to the survival of these fibs.

Fib #1: Targeted fat burn. You can’t target specific areas for fat burn. You can target muscle groups for toning, sure, but for fat burn—tough luck. Working out reduces your overall body fat, but you can’t just choose “ankle fat” or “belly fat” to target.

Fib #2: No pain, no gain. Please, please, PLEASE don’t believe this one. Please. While working out can come with discomfort, it shouldn’t be accompanied by sharp pains. It can be a delicate balance, but it’s a vital one to keep. If you push yourself toward more pain, you’ll likely end up hurting yourself—and some injuries truly can last a lifetime. Challenge yourself, but don’t overdo it.

Fib #3: Heavier weights = bulky muscles. Sorry kids, but that’s not necessarily true. A study published in Medicine & Science in Sports & Exercise found that women who lifted lighter weights with 15 reps burned fewer calories than those who lifted more challenging weights for 8 reps. That means that while your muscles will be toning, you could actually be slimming down overall.

  Not all fitness facts are true. Some are fibs instead.  Not all fitness facts are true. Some are fibs instead.  Image: Shutterstock
Treadmills don't work your body as hard as outdoor running does.
Image: Shutterstock
Fib #4: All running was created equally. So not true. Have you ever compared how hard it is to run outside versus a treadmill? Uneven terrain—AKA rocks, dips, hills, corners, and more—makes you engage more muscles, use up more energy, and burn more calories than you would on a treadmill.

Fib #5: Free weights aren’t as good as machines. Actually, free weights can work your body harder than machines, since machines are designed to only work certain muscle groups. Free weights, on the other hand, often require better form, balance, and a full-body workout. Plus, lots of exercise machines were made for men—that means they’re harder for a lot of women to use with good form.

What other fitness fibs are you aware of? Let’s get the story straight once and for all—share your knowledge in the comments!