The Five Most Common Fitness Myths

| by Mitzi Dulan

Diet fads come and go, but some fitness myths have been around
forever. Knowledge is power, so get to know the truth behind the myths,
because the last thing any of us needs is another excuse not to
exercise! Don’t let these common fitness fallacies hold you back from
going for your personal best.

1. Crunches will reduce my belly fat
We all wish this were true, but in reality no amount of crunches can
guarantee loss of belly fat. Spot reduction, or reduction of fat in a
certain body part through targeted exercise, has not been proven.
If you want to lose fat, you must implement cardiovascular activity
into your workout regimen and cut calories. Only after burning more
calories than you consume does your body begin to use fat for fuel!
Genetics also plays a role, so instead of targeting one body part, aim
for overall fitness.

2. No pain, no gain
If it doesn’t hurt, you’re not working hard enough, right? Don’t
believe it! While soreness is a definite indicator that your body is
being worked, you should never feel excessive pain during or after a
workout. I ran 20- 40 yard timed sprints with a friend who plays in the
NFL and was preparing for his initial training camp conditioning test.
Let’s just say I could barely walk for a few days after that
challenging workout. Keep in mind that pain is your body’s way of
telling you that you are overexerting it, or that you may be doing an
exercise incorrectly. When lifting weight, some amount of delayed onset
muscle soreness withing 12-48 hours after exercise is normal and means
your muscle is recovering and building new muscle (hypertrophy). Give
your body proper recovery between workouts. It’s a general rule of
thumb to rest a particular muscle group for 48 hours before working it
out again.

3. Don’t lift weights if you want to lose weight
You’ll just get bulky, people say. However, fitness professionals
advocate cardiovascular activity as well as strength training. Lifting
weights strengthens bone density and also increases muscle tone. More
muscle helps reduce the risk of bone injury and increases the body’s
metabolic rate. Strength training is also used to improve balance in
seniors. Just by lifting 5, 7 1/2 or 10-pound weights a few times a
week, you’re doing your body a great benefit.

4. Exercising is enough to lose weight
Come on, when is it ever an all or nothing deal? It sounds so tempting
to be able to eat whatever you want if you work out frequently, but in
reality your body needs regular exercise AND proper nutrition to lose
weight and stay healthy. And if you are already at an ideal weight,
remember that exercise is not solely for the looking-good factor;
regular activity has been shown to reduce many health related risks.

5. Muscle weighs more than fat
This myth is frequently perpetuated, often as an excuse not to work out
more. In reality, muscle is denser than fat, i.e. 10 pounds of muscle
actually take up less space than 10 pounds of fat. So if you lose fat
and replace it with the same weight in muscle, you’ll actually look

Myths are common in the fitness world for a reason—staying in good
physical shape is hard and requires a long-term approach! What fitness
myths have you found that have held you back?