Do you ever feel like you're working your booty off (or at least trying too) in the gym but not seeing the results you'd like? Chances are you've fallen victim to bad advice, or are making a fitness mistake that you didn't even realize you'd made. Don't feel bad about it, it's easy to do these days, especially with the abundance of knowledge that's on the Internet (I swear that every time I'm sick I google my symptoms and it tells me I'm dying!)
Most of the articles that you find on the Internet are based on people's opinions, and with new research on exercise being released constantly, it's hard to stay up-to-date on the newest fitness trends. This week, I want to help you make the most out of your workouts, and help to debunk the most common exercise myths I am often asked. I'll give you the scientific facts behind the myths so you know that you're working out in the most efficient, effective way to help you reach your health and fitness goals. Because let's be real, what's the point of exercising if you're not going to get the results YOU want?
1. Doing hundreds of crunches every day is going to give you a six pack
Fact: this may be the most iconic core exercise in the world, but crunches themselves are not the best way to slim your midsection. Because they isolate such a small muscle group, crunches do not burn many calories, so they don't help you lose fat. While crunches do tone a small portion of your abs, try to include moves that use your entire distal trunk (think your shoulders and butt) to more effectively engage your entire core and burn more calories. Some more effective core exercises include planks and bridges.
2. The more you sweat, the more calories you burn
Fact: Do you feel like you burn more calories in a hot yoga session compared to regular yoga because you're dripping in sweat? I'm sorry to share that you doesn't necessarily burn more calories in a hot yoga session versus normal yoga. Our body produces sweat to help cool us down and regulate our internal body temperature. Pouring gallons of sweat in a workout could just mean that the gym or weather is extremely warm, as opposed to a grueling workout. If you’re curious about how many calories you burn from exercise, try wearing a heart rate monitor when you workout!
3. You need to exercise or sweat for a full 45 minutes to get a benefit from your workout
Fact: Even if you can only spare 10 to 30 minutes, you have more than enough time to improve your heart health. More and more studies are being released that show the power of quick, intense workouts. According to a study published by Arizona State University last year, participants had consistency lower blood pressure readings on average when they split their daily walk into three 10-minute walks, as opposed to tackling one 30 minute walk a day. Thirty minutes of exercise (either broken up or completed in one session) is definitely enough time to keep your heart healthy, but if your goal is to slim down and lose weight, shoot for at least 250 minutes of moderate to vigorous exercise each week.
4. As a woman, lifting heavy weights is going to make me bulk up
Even if you're using really heavy weights to work out (which I definitely recommend, as long as you have good form,) you're not going to turn into the female version of the Hulk--I promise!!! As women, our bodies have less muscle tissue and produce much lower levels of testosterone than men. This means that no matter how heavy your weights are, it's almost physiologically impossible to look like a female Hulk.
5. Just because I had a hard workout means that I can eat cake, cookies, and candy, while still losing weight.
Once again, I hate to be the bearer of bad news, but you can NEVER out exercise a bad diet. For most of us who try to out-exercise a bad diet, we have a skewed perception of how many calories we consume from junk food versus how many calories we burn in a workout. In other words, The calories you burn in a 45 minute spin class won't make up for the calories that come from eating a fried chicken dinner with mashed potatoes and macaroni and cheese. Plus, if you're constantly eating junk food after your workouts, you'll probably feel run down and crappy.
There is a silver lining though, and I do have some good news! Sure, you can't go through life having the mindset that you can always run to the sweets as soon as you finish exercising, but it IS possible to exercise in moderation, eat healthy most of the time, AND occasionally enjoy sweets, while still losing weight and staying healthy! I firmly believe that we only have one life to live, and it's way too short to cut out all of life's indulgences (Believe me, I could never give up wine and Oreos!!!)
Share with us below, which one of these myths surprised you the most? Have you ever been guilty of any of these (I know I have in the past!!)? If you have another question that you'd like answered, feel free to drop it in the comments and I'd be happy to bust that myth (or speak to its truth) too!