As a fitness newbie, I was constantly hearing some tips that turned out to be a lie. I kept checking on Google, reading as many articles as I could to verify if that worked or not. But the most reliable source is of course to try it yourself. Here are 5 myths about working out I tried so that you don't have to:
- You Can Lose Fat From a Certain Spot (spot-training)Fat cells are distributed all over your body and if you want to lose fat from a certain body part, you have to lose fat overall. Moreover, exercises alone will never help you lose fat. And here comes the famous quote: "Abs are made in the kitchen". That said, diet comes first. Healthy and clean eating is key to getting your desired body. HIIT works the best when it comes to burning more calories (hence fat) and toned muscles, while strength training helps gaining muscles which helps burn more fat.
- Crunches Are The Best Way To Get AbsIn my early years of training I wanted to get abs as soon as possible. The best advice I was told at that time was to keep doing crunches. And I did. For a year. I certainly don't want to disappoint anyone working towards their goal of having a six-pack, but guys, CRUNCHES DO NOT WORK! Of course, you can train your ab muscles separately and make them stronger, but certainly not doing only ab-exercises and definitely not crunches. They probably aren't going to hurt your core strength, but they're not the most efficient exercise you can do to strengthen your midsection. Crunches, similar to sit-ups, focus on abdominals, while planks, leg raises and other exercises that work the whole midsection are effective to getting defined abs.
- Weight Lifting Turns Fat Into MuscleDespite the false belief, fat can never be turned into muscle. Fat and muscle are completely different tissues: fat is found under the skin between muscles, while muscle is throughout the body. When you weight lift, muscle tissue grows and you start building muscle, but that doesn't concern fat. The only way to reduce fat is... wait for it... yes, eating healthy and incorporating fruits, veggies, whole grains, protein and healthy fats (avocado, olive oil, fish) into your diet.
- Weight Training Is For Men and Will Make Women BulkThis is probably the biggest and the most frequent false advice I have heard in my life that just drives me crazy. Weight training helps gain defined and lean muscles, it has nothing to do with gender. In fact, for women it is very hard to bulk up (because of low level of testosterone) and you have to really overload your muscles in order to bulk. Believe me, 5, 10, 15 pounds will never make you big. In fact, it can slim you down. According to this study , women who lift a challenging weight for eight reps burn nearly twice as many calories as women who do 15 reps with lighter dumbbells.
- Cardio Only Will Help You Lose FatNot only cardio alone is very boring (at least for me), it also causes you to burn fewer and fewer calories every time as your body adapts to low-intensity workout. Of course, you may lose weight doing cardio, but it will burn away both fat and muscle. For a lasting change, you have to incorporate strength training to build lean muscle mass, which increases your metabolism and decreases fat. However, there are also some cardio alternatives such as kickboxing and sprinting, that involve an element of strength training and thus can provide a better and long-term weight loss effect. But it is always ideal to add some push-ups, bodyweight exercises and squats to your workout routine.