It’s time to separate fact from fiction. We’re busting the 5 most common fitness myths so you can get the best results.
You need to train every day
Overtraining is definitely a thing. In fact, skipping rest days can hinder your progress. That’s because during this all-important rest time, the body learns to adapt to the stress caused by training and hence becomes resilient to it. However, when you don’t allow your body to recover, it cannot completely heal and you may regress in your progress.
So make sure you schedule in regular rest days. Once your body has properly recovered, then you can go back to training.
You can spot reduce fat
For most of us, there are one or two parts of our bodies that we can’t stand. Naturally, we focus on exercises that target these areas. It means that we’ll lose the fat that’s there, right? Unfortunately, the reality isn’t as linear.
“You can’t spot reduce but you can definitely reduce your overall body fat percentage,” Michelle Bridges, former Biggest Loser Trainer, explains in The Daily Telegraph. So even when you do plenty of body part-specific exercises, you might see muscle growth in those areas, but you won’t necessarily lose fat there — at least not immediately.
You can’t dictate when or where you’ll lose fat first. It all comes down to your genetics. Don’t be disheartened, though: When you consistently exercise, no matter where you lose fat first, the rest of your body will eventually even out.
You need to feel sore after a workout
Being sore after a workout isn’t an indicator of how good the session was. “When we workout, our muscles are continually contracting (shortening) and extending (lengthening)…” explains Kayla Itsines, a renowned personal trainer. “However, when a muscle is lengthened a little more than it’s used to…then it can experience small tears (called micro tears).” This causes the sore feeling that you may have a day or two later, known as delayed onset muscle soreness, or DOMS for short. However, DOMS isn’t necessary to prove that your muscles are growing or that your training is going well.
When your body begins to adapt, you’ll experience fewer micro tears, so you may not feel as sore as you did after your first workouts. But that doesn’t mean that you’re not making progress. In fact, this just means that your body is adapting and growing to the physical stress.
Exercising means you can eat what you want
Unless you’re born with very rare and blessed genes, most of us mere mortals have to watch what and how we eat to hit our goals, even though we’ve added exercise to our lives. This doesn’t mean you need to severely restrict calories, but it does mean that you have to maintain a balanced diet. Get your all-important three macronutrients (protein, carbohydrates, and healthy fats) in every meal so you’re satiating your hunger while setting your body up for maximum recovery.
Exercise and a balanced diet go hand-in-hand, and you need to work on both to see the results you want. In short, you really can’t out-train a bad diet.
Protein shakes are essential
Speaking of protein, while this macronutrient is paramount in building muscle, protein shakes are not. However, what they can do is offer a convenient way for you to reach your daily protein intake.
It’s important to get the majority of this important building block from food. But sometimes, this isn’t always possible. That’s where protein powder comes in. Drinking your protein can give you a break from your meals if you’re full or don’t feel like eating. It also means you can have it when you’re out and about. Just bring a shaker bottle with your protein powder in it, add water, milk, or any other ingredients you fancy and give it a good ol’ shake. And viola, you’re good to go!
Don’t believe these fitness myths that can impede your progress. By knowing what’s true and what’s not, you can reach your goals more efficiently. And who doesn’t want that?
Emily Trinh: A powerlifter by day and a writer by night, Emily Trinh has a passion for all things health, fitness and writing—which makes her profession as a health and fitness writer quite fitting.