Ever overheard some juicy stuff at the gym? I remember hearing a woman tell her friend the juicy story of her extra-marital affair as I peddled away on an exercise bike--oh boy. (I wasn't snooping, she was just talking so loud!) Chances are you've also heard some misleading health advice from fellow gym goers. I know I have! Here's a roundup of the five most frequent myths, and what you really need to know...
I asked Suyumi Quiroz, group fitness instructor and personal trainer at Equinox Fitness Clubs in Aventura and South Beach, Florida, to tell me the top five health myths she hears in the gym and the real facts behind them:
Myth #1: Light weights on arms or legs help burn extra calories and build muscle while walking/running."It is an absolute myth! There is absolutely no need to add additional weight to your own. By adding hand-held or Velcro weights only slows you down, which leads to an incomplete aerobic benefit." Fitness Fads: The Weirdest, Coolest and Craziest Workouts from 1940 to Today.
Myth #2: If you want to lose weight, stay away from strength training because it will make you bulk up. "Most fitness experts believe that cardiovascular exercise and strength training are both valuable for maintaining a healthy weight. Strength training helps maintain muscle mass and decrease body fat percentage. By incorporating both into your regimen, results are noticed faster and with the proper amount of strength training, your body will not result in a bulky appearance."
Myth #3: Crunches blast belly fat. "Almost every client believes that performing 100 crunches daily will result in the coveted washboard abs. Planks, yoga, Pilates and crunches and a variety of cardiovascular exercises will help in lowering belly fat. Daily nutrition is also extremely dependent on the appearance of your midsection. Abdominal exercises can strengthen and tone the muscles. But those muscles are underneath the "subcutaneous" layer of fat that gives the lovely appearance of flab. Only losing weight can get rid of excess fat, and where you lose the weight is also dependent on your genetics."
Myth #4: No pain, no gain. "Many people still believe that you have to work at a very high intensity in order to get see physical improvements. You don't need to run a marathon! The idea is making sure that the exercise is at least moderate-intensity--that is, equivalent to walking at a pace of three to four miles an hour. High-intensity exercise does have one advantage: it saves time. It takes less time to burn the same number of calories at higher intensity. You can jog for 20 minutes or walk for 40 or 45. You shouldn't feel like working out harder or faster will lead to maximum results, as this may lead to strenuous complications later in life." Here's the bare minimum amount of exercise you need to stay healthy (it's less than you think!)
Myth #5: You have to sweat to know you're really working hard. "Sweating is not necessarily an indicator of exertion--the process of perspiring is your body's way of cooling itself. It is possible to burn a significant number of calories without breaking a sweat: taking a walk, doing light weight training, or working out in a swimming pool won't lead to excessive sweating."
Were you surprised by any of these? And what fitness myths have you heard (or passed along)?
P.S. Be sure to check out the 7 fitness experiences every woman should try!
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