6 common fitness myths debunked
Fitness myths are many, and they are as persistent as mosquitoes on a warm, humid night. Most of the claims have little or no merit. Let's take a moment to clear up some of the most common fitness myths
YOU CAN SPOT-REDUCE FAT
This is the king of fitness myths - that you can reduce fat in one area by doing specific and targeted exercises.
Here's the thing - you cannot spot-reduce your problem areas unless you go for liposuction. Without the aid of such operations, when you exercise, your body will draw fat from different regions, at different rates, depending on your genetic make-up.
A better way to target those areas would be to perform compound exercises on a regular basis. These exercises utilise multiple muscles and joints simultaneously, and help improve overall muscular strength and tone.
CARDIO BURNS MOST CALORIES
Cardio exercise is overrated as a fat-loss plan. Ironically, when it comes to losing weight, the first thing that most people do is head out for a run.
Sure, cardio has its benefits, but not only is cardio not the most effective way to lose weight, but doing lots and lots of it can also be counterproductive.
Doing too much cardio can eat up your muscles. Your metabolic rate is determined mainly by the amount of muscle mass that you have, so losing muscle will result in your body needing fewer calories. This is an obvious cue for weight gain.
A more feasible weight-loss solution would be to start on strength training, and then combine it with moderate cardio and proper nutritional intake.
LIFTING WEIGHTS MAKE WOMEN BULKY
Eating cupcakes, not lifting weights, makes women bulky.
Mention lifting weights and the image of a professional female bodybuilder comes to mind. However, no one ends up looking like a bodybuilder just by lifting weights. Also, women do not have enough testosterone to gain extraordinary amounts of muscle mass.
Women who lift weights at the gym, but do not train specifically to bulk up, will end up with that firm and fit body you see on celebrities like Jessica Biel.
Research shows that lifting heavy weights helps to maintain bone mass, especially in the high-risk group of post-menopausal women.
MUSCLES WILL TURN INTO FAT
This is like saying that cow doo-doo can turn into wagyu beef.
Muscle and fat are two different types of tissue, so it is physiologically impossible for one to turn into the other.
When you stop working out, you will lose muscle mass. The longer you take a break from exercising, the smaller your muscles will become. This causes a dip in your metabolism, and can result in a flabby appearance over time.
However, the change in appearance has nothing to do with one type of tissue turning into the other.
Obviously, the reverse can't happen either. Fat can't turn into muscle, it can only be reduced.
YOU CAN OUT-EXERCISE A BAD DIET
Sure, working out regularly means that you're burning off more calories than you would if you were just bumming around and watching TV.
However, maintaining an active lifestyle doesn't change the fact that you still need to follow a healthy, balanced diet for optimum health and performance.
YOU SHOULD CUT OUT CARBS
Ever since the low-carb, high-protein and high-fat Atkins diet took the world by storm in the early 2000s, carbohydrates have come away with a nasty reputation among dieters.
While consuming too many carbs will obviously lead to tighter jeans, carbs are a necessary nutrient that your body needs to function normally.
Completely neglecting carbs will leave you feeling tired and sluggish, and hamper your performance. A diet low in fibre will also give you bad breath and constipation.
Stick to good carbs that are also rich in fibre, such as oatmeal and whole-grain bread, to maintain a healthy and consistent weight.
THE STAR/ASIA NEWS NETWORK