Exercise – It’s not that complicated … Right? Well, despite what you believe, it kind of is. Between Instagram influencers, know-it-all friends and self-styled “gurus,” there’s an endless treasure trove of information out there—and not all of it is right. That’s why it’s so important to get help from nutritional and fitness experts, like the staff at TNT. Total Nutrition Technology develops customized plans suited for ever individual which optimizes results. While on your journey to wellness, here are 10 exercise myths to keep in mind but always consult a professional for what works best for you personally.
Myth #1: Cardio machines give out accurate readings.
Truth: Chances are, if you’re using a more modern model, your treadmill or stationary bike has a small calorie-burn counter on the screen. Unfortunately, most machines don’t take into account your weight, height, or gender, all of which are factors in calorie burn. Even if you’re of average build the number might be close, you should still take it with a grain of salt.
Myth #2: You can “turn” fat into muscle.
Truth: You can burn fat and build muscle. (Sometimes, this can even be achieved with the same routine!) But do not be mistaken – Fat and muscle are two different types of tissue.
Myth #3: You can crunch your way to abs.
Truth: Crunches, sit-ups, and various other ab exercises can be great for building core muscles and when done frequently and properly enough, they can tone your abs into a wall of muscle—but only if you have a good diet in place. Before that “6 pack” will start to show, that means burning belly fat once and for all. Try to keep this saying in mind, “Abs aren’t made in the gym. They’re made in the kitchen.”
Myth #4: Sports drinks are good for you.
Truth: They’re not. The fact is, because of all the sugar in these drinks (i.e., your standard 20-ounce Gatorade contains 34 grams of sugar) by drinking one, you’re just hindering your progress. Try to avoid sports drinks, before, during, and after your workout.
Myth #5: First thing in morning is the best time to work out.
Truth: Working out at first light is a great method for kickstarting your metabolism and for an added bonus, you won’t have to worry about squeezing in a workout later in the day. Many people swear by this practice but, according to a study in the Journal of Strength & Conditioning Research, you’ll get your best performance if you hit the gym around 4:00 p.m. Plus, if you can make it into the gym at 4:00 p.m., you’ll be able to miss the congestion of the rush hour crowd.
Myth #6: Working out with a friend is distracting.
Truth: Of course, hitting the gym with a pal may lead to conversation or gossip but tag-teaming your efforts can step-up your routine. According to a study in the Journal of Personality & Social Psychology, people work harder when they’re exercising side-by-side with a friend. Another advantage, it’s more likely that you’ll actually make it to the gym, since skipping out means you’re letting someone down (as well as letting yourself down).
Myth #7: If you’re not sore, you didn’t get a good workout.
Truth: Granted, soreness and workout intensity can be connected but how worn out your muscles feel isn’t always a good indicator of a good workout session. “Being sore doesn’t necessarily mean it was a great workout—it just means that a significant amount of stress was applied to the tissue,” says exercise physiologist and trainer Pete McCall, M.S., C.S.C.S., host of the All About Fitness podcast. “You can have a great workout and not be sore the next day,” he says. Proper recuperation can help prevent achy muscles. “Refuel within the first 30 to 45 minutes post-exercise, stay hydrated, and get enough sleep—all of these things can help boost recovery and minimize soreness.”
Myth #8: Sweating a lot means you’re getting a great workout.
Truth: This may not necessarily be the case. “You sweat because your core temperature increases,” explains exercise physiologist Tracy Hafen, founder of Affirmative Fitness. Yes, your muscles create heat when you exercise so a tough workout will increase your internal temp, she explains, but it also has to do with the temperature you’re working out in. “For example, you’re not going to sweat as much in 40-degree weather as you would in 80-degree weather,” Hafen explains.
The humidity in the air also plays a role. “It’s not sweating that cools you off, it’s the evaporation [of sweat]. You’ll feel like you’re sweating more when it’s humid because sweat can’t evaporate.” (This is also a reason to be careful exercising in hot, humid climates, because your body temperature will keep increasing.)
Myth #9: Yoga isn’t a “real” workout.
Truth: “People who write off yoga probably have an image of yoga as series of gentle stretches—they clearly haven’t taken a tough yoga class,” says Adam Rosante, an internationally renowned fitness and wellness coach. “The first time I took one was at Jivamukti Yoga Center, and was a radically humbling experience. It’s been one of the best additions to my routine, both for my body and mind.” There are, of course, some wonderfully relaxing yoga classes out there but also tougher types (like Bikram and power Vinyasa yoga) that can definitely give you a great workout.
Myth #10: You should work out every day.
Truth: This is not the case – hooray! When you work out, you’re breaking down muscle fibers so they can rebuild stronger. To do this though, you need to give your body time to recover from working out. Try for one to two days per week of active recovery rest days—that means doing something that doesn’t put stress on your body, like walking or gentle stretching. So, don’t stress over a grueling, 7-days a week workout.
Everyone has individual needs and there are many misconceptions and myths to exercise, so your best chance at success is to contact the professionals at Total Nutrition Technology for a free consultation and set up your personalized plan to achieve the best results.