7 Workout Myths to Stop Believing
Crunches are not what they seem
Getting your butt to the gym is hard enough without wasting your time and energy believing old wives’ tales. Case in point: Lifting weights won’t turn you into Hulk Hogan, just like a few extra squats won’t make you a Kardashian. Those and more workout myths you should stop believing, right this way.
Myth: To get rock hard-abs, do a billion crunches
Truth: While crunches aren’t going to hurt (as long as you do them with proper form), they’re actually pretty ineffective at burning belly fat. Instead, do planks, which activate approximately 20 muscles compared with the six or seven you use during a crunch.
Myth: Treadmills accurately measure calories
Truth: The rate at which you burn calories depends on a number of factors (weight, gender, age), none of which are considered by good old cardio machines. For an accurate measurement, think about getting a fitness tracker like the Jawbone Up, which calculates your BMR (basal metabolic rate), to tell you how many cals you’ve torched.
Myth: Strength training will turn you into a bodybuilder
Truth: Lifting weights will not instantaneously turn your feminine figure into a bulky mass of muscles. (Our natural hormonal wiring doesn’t quite work that way.) Strength training actually helps you burn fat and calories more efficiently. Add it on top of your cardio routine for amplified results.
Myth: The more time, the better
Truth: Nope. Getting into the best shape of your life doesn?t have to take hours upon hours of tedious training. It really comes down to concentrated effort. Walking at a leisurely pace doesn?t hold a candle to a quick and dirty HIIT (high-intensity interval training) circuit, which can take as few as four minutes.
Myth: You can change your natural shape
Truth: Sorry, Kardashian wannabes. You can’t spot-target fat (i.e., whittle down everywhere but your butt). Instead, do full-body exercises like burpees and jumping rope to burn general fat. You can then tone certain areas, but (sigh) you won’t magically transform into a different person. (Even without Khloe’s booty, you’re still pretty awesome.)
Myth: You can't work out while you're sick
Truth: As seemingly perfect an excuse as a cold is, this one’s (mostly) false. Unless you have a fever or your symptoms are in your chest, it’s more than OK to work on your fitness. In fact, a quick run (and subsequent toxin-flushing sweat) might just make you feel better.
Myth: No pain, no gain
Truth: It’s OK to push through a cold or allergies, but if you experience sharp, isolated pain anywhere, do not ignore it. This won’t make you stronger; in fact, you might be putting yourself in danger of a serious injury. Discomfort is one thing, straight-up pain is another. Remember to still be good to yourself.