Trying to get fit? For a novice, the world of fitness can be hard to navigate. It’s challenge enough to get fit and healthy without being fed misinformation. Let’s make the world of fitness more clear cut and dispel these 5 big fitness myths…
Muscle weighs more than fat. Let’s be clear: a pound of muscle doesn’t weigh more than a pound of fat. A pound is always a pound. Muscle is simply denser than fat, with a pound of muscle taking up significantly less space than a pound of fat. If an equal volume of fat and muscle were compared, muscle would certainly weigh more, but that point is moot in terms of weight loss. Yes, at the beginning of a nutrition and fitness program, the scale may not budge as much as you’d like because of the boost in muscle alongside the decrease of fat, but you’ll still look and feel better. The best way to get over the hump? Stop weighing yourself so often. Weight is just a number. If you fill your body with moderate amounts of clean foods and follow balanced exercise program, you don’t need to depend on a scale to tell you you’re on the right track.
Do cardio to burn fat. Sure, cardiovascular exercise burns fat, but so does strength training. Many people overlook the benefits of strength training, which actually include protecting bone health. At its core, strength training increases your muscle mass. Increased muscle mass means a higher resting metabolic rate—which means you burn more calories just sitting around than you would otherwise. So, both cardio and strength training allow you to burn fat. One is not better or more important than another.
You need an hour to glean benefits. This is not true at all. In fact, depending on the type of workout you’re doing, less may be more. High Intensity Interval Training (HIIT) has been proven to boost metabolism for hours (24-36) after your workout. Short bouts of slow running have also been shown to be beneficial for your heart. So, whether you’re a hard-core Crossfitter or a once-in-a-while jogger, any amount of exercise is important—from 10 minutes to 2 hours. If you can only fit in 20 squats at lunch, hey, every little bit counts! Ten minutes of exercise in increments throughout the day can really add up.
Women get bulky when they lift weights. Let’s squash this one for once and for all. Lifting weights is highly beneficial for everyone. Women will not grow “man-like” muscles from lifting weights. Women have lower testosterone levels than men, meaning women simply will not bulk up the way some men do. It simply makes women stronger and leaner, which is especially important as they age.
BMI is the standard for fitness. If your BMI is above 24.9, it doesn’t necessarily mean that you are unfit or unhealthy. Body Mass Index is a relatively oversimplified view of health. Very muscular people often have higher BMIs, but are completely healthy and fit. Stop focusing on your BMI and set yourself fitness goals to work towards rather than focusing on numbers.
Getting fit requires a lot of effort. But, it is completely possible. Stop doubting yourself! Stop listening to the nonsense and just focus on what makes you feel good and healthy. It’s as simple as that! What fitness myth plagues you most?