There is a lot of information floating around in the health and fitness world and it can be overwhelming at times. It seems like every fact you hear about diet and exercise is later proven wrong. Will lifting weights really make me look bulky? Can I just do crunches if I want to have a six-pack? Here are 5 diet and exercise myths you need to forget.
1. Lifting weights will make you look bulky
This popular myth suggests that if you want to be fit (skinny) but not bulky, then steer clear of the weights, and nothing could be further from the truth. When it comes to increasing muscle size, testosterone is key. Men have 20 to 30 times more testosterone than women, which allows them to bulk more quickly than women. Unfortunately for some and fortunately for others, gaining muscle mass requires a lot more than simply lifting weights every now and then.
Ironically, weight training actually aids in losing weight faster and keeping it off long term. Furthermore, mixing cardio in with your weight training will allow you to drop fat while retaining muscle. This will also prevent your metabolism from slowing. So don’t be afraid of a little weigh lifting! You won’t turn into Arnold Schwarzenegger over night but it will help you to reach your fitness goals.
2. When it comes to muscle soreness, a hot bath is key
Actually, when it comes to muscle soreness quite the opposite is true. Cold water is better because it is essentially like an ice pack for your entire body. When you exercise, your blood vessels open wider and stay that way for a while after your workout. The wider vessels allow waste products such as lactic acid settle into muscles, which causes soreness. With colder temperatures, vessels constrict which limits the amount of waste product that can settle in your muscles. This ultimately helps to better prevent muscle soreness form occurring post workout.
3. Doing crunches will get rid of belly fat
The truth is, no specific ab workout can help you get rid of belly fat. The reason? You can’t spot reduce. In order to lose belly fat, you need to drop your overall body fat. Abs may be made in the gym but they are revealed with your diet. You can do crunches until the cows come home but if you are eating unhealthy foods, you will never reap the benefits of your labor. The trick for fabulous abs is simple: eat healthy and exercise consistently.
4. Your cardio machine really does count your calories
The amount of calories a person burns during a cardio workout is directly related to the individual using the machine. No machine can tell you how many calories you have burned in a workout simply by knowing the duration and intensity of your workout. For instance, someone who is at 18% body fat is going to burn a lot more calories than someone at 35% body fat doing the same workout. The sex of the user also plays a role in the amount of calories that will be burned. So while the number on the machine may be within the ballpark of how many calories you’ve burned, it is likely not accurate.
5. Your weight determines how healthy you are
While your weight does play a role in determining your overall healthy, it is certainly not the end all be all. If you are going to the gym consistently and weighing yourself after each workout, you may not be seeing the results you want to see. The scale is not an effective way to measure the results of your hard work, and it can in fact be demotivating. Even though it may not be reflected on the scale, a few months of consistent exercise can reduce risk factors such as blood sugar levels. So even though a person may not be losing weight, their health has improved in many ways. Additionally, your body may be gaining muscle which may show as weight gain on the scale. Ultimately, it’s time to ditch the scale and focus on how your body looks and feels as a measure of success.
So forget the myths and focus on how you feel. Make your fitness journey your own.