|8 Exercise Myths Exposed
It's amazing what excuses people
will come up with to get out of exercising, from "My dog ate my sneakers" to "I'm
saving my energy for work tomorrow." But even excuses
that actually seem reasonable are often no more than
myths in a sensible-sounding disguise.
Read on as we set the record straight on eight popular
Myth: If you don't exercise
every day, there's no point
minutes a day, five days a week is the amount of exercise
recommended for optimal health by health professionals,
it's not a requirement. Exercise is beneficial no matter
how little is done.
That doesn't mean regular exercise is not a necessity
for weight-loss and good health, but it does mean you
shouldn't deprive yourself of exercise just because you
can't get in as much as you'd like. Spending ten minutes
each night walking your dog is much more beneficial to
your health then sitting in front of the television.
Bottom line: Any amount of exercise will do your body
Myth: Spot-training will reduce target areas of fat
Spot-training might feel like it's making a difference
to fatty areas, but while crunches will tighten your
tummy, they won't actually do anything for the layer
of fat surrounding the muscles. That's because muscle
training builds muscle; it doesn't reduce fat. To burn
fat, you need to do cardiovascular exercise.
Bottom line: Keep the crunches to help tone your body
and build muscle strength, but add a power walk or some
other cardio activity to reduce overall body fat.
Myth: Muscle turns to fat when you stop exercising
That's about as logical as saying your sneakers will
turn into stilettos if you stop wearing them!
Despite what you may have heard, muscle does not turn
to fat if you stop exercising. When you stop exercising,
your muscles will shrink because they're not being used,
but it's impossible for them to convert to fat.
In fact, there is actually some
evidence to show that your muscles can retain much
of your previous exercise experience. So: "I don't want to start exercising
because as soon as I stop, I'll lose all my muscle," is
second-to-none in the lame excuses box.
Bottom line: Muscle will not turn to fat if you stop
exercising so quit the excuses and start exercising!
Myth: The best time to exercise is early morning
Not if you can't keep your eyes open! The best time to
exercise is when it suits you best.
If you're not a morning person,
don't even think about exercising in the morning -
you'll most likely fall off your bike or trip up on
your shoelace or forget where it was you were supposed
to jog to. The same thing goes for people who don't
have time in the afternoon or who are completely drained
by nightfall; exercise when you can, not when you think
you should. There is no "best
time" and no specific time when your body will burn
Bottom line: The best time to exercise is the time you
Myth: Weight training makes you gain weight
Think Madonna has a middle-aged paunch under that leather
jacket? Of course not! Yet she pumps iron as part of
her daily fitness routines.
Many women are afraid that picking up a set of weights
will cause them to bulk up, and so they argue that cardio
workouts will do the trick. But this is a falsehood because
testosterone plays a large part in creating larger muscles
and women simply don't produce enough of it to gain bulk
when lifting weights. Toned definition in the arms and
legs is far more likely to be the outcome of some weight
training if you're female.
Men, on the other hand, often lift weights to bulk up
but avoid cardio workouts like the plague. Men need to
recognise that their weight training regime will be boosted
if they add some cardio.
Bottom line: Adding weights to your workout won't make
you gain bulk. In fact, it will increase your fitness,
boost your results, and rev up your metabolism.
Myth: No pain, no gain
How many times have you heard this simple but stupid
phrase ... and believed it? Pain is your body's way of
telling you that you're doing it harm, so don't ignore
it! Constantly pushing through that pain can only result
in injury. A little bit of discomfort is fine, but any
more than that and you should listen to your body - not
the voice in your head saying "no pain, no gain".
Bottom line: When you feel pain, immediately stop. When
you feel a slight burn, keep on going!
Myth: You can't exercise if you've just eaten
It may be uncomfortable to exercise immediately after
you've eaten but it's not going to do you any damage.
Contrary to popular belief, even swimming after you've
eaten is fine.
It is true that exercise after a large meal may interfere
with digestion as energy is directed away from the digestion
process and towards the exercise; this can result in
a slight stomach ache. However, all this really means
is that if you run a marathon after Christmas lunch you
may make yourself feel ill. A comfortably-paced walk
after the meal would be a better option and might help
to relieve some of that bloated feeling.
Bottom line: You can exercise after you eat, but don't
(Warning! If you do experience extreme tiredness or
discomfort while exercising after eating after a meal,
notify your doctor as it may be a symptom of undiagnosed
Myth: If you burn more calories
than you eat, you will lose weight effectively
weight? Yes. Effectively? No. When too few calories
are consumed your body believes it is being starved and
almost every calorie you consume is held on to.
Before your body will burn the fat you are trying to
lose, it will start eating the muscle. This is why someone
with anorexia may have low body weight but high body
fat. You also miss out on important nutrients.
No matter how many calories you
burn, you still need a certain amount of calories in
order to lose weight effectively. On CalorieKing plans,
this amount of calories is referred to as your daily
Calorie Target. If you exercise, you move further away
from your Calorie Target and therefore need to "eat back" those
Bottom line: Eat enough calories
for your body to lose weight effectively and always
stay near your daily Calorie Target.
Reproduced with permission from CalorieKing.com.au. All material copyright CalorieKing.com.au