8 fitness facts that will change the way you exercise
We bust the most common exercise myths to help you get the most out of your workout
1. Cardio burns most calories
Contrary to popular belief that cardio is the best way to burn calories, studies have shown that combing weightlifting and cardio is the most effective.
When you combine cardio with weights, your body has a tendency to keep burning calories after you work out, whereas cardio will burn calories for the duration of your session, then stop. The reason cardio and weights burn more calories is because doing weights builds lean muscle. Building lean muscle requires a lot of energy from our body so we keep burning calories to build this muscle. This in turn increases our metabolism and metabolic rate (the base amount of calories our body needs to survive), meaning we can actually eat more! Hooray!
This is an enormous power to harness. Burning calories whilst sitting at your desk at work? Yes please! Just combine weights and cardio into a high intensity session and you'll reap the rewards.
"Some people are just not morning people and if they train early they can’t give their best performance."
2. Weightlifting causes you to look bulky
Most people, and women in particular, have the misconception that weightlifting makes you look bulky. It is, in fact, extremely hard for women to put on bulky muscle, as they simply don't have the same amount of testosterone as men in their bodies.
This means women produce lean muscle. If they want to put on 'bulk', they would have to follow a very strict eating, training and supplement routine in order to achieve this body-building look.
Most women just look amazingly toned, fit and healthy when they lift weights 3-5 times a week. More so than those who just do cardio.
3. You need to train hard every day to see results
You think you need to train every day to see results, or otherwise it's not worth it?
Well, not only do government bodies suggest the opposite, studies have claimed that you need only 7 minutes of intense exercise a day to see significant results in health, wellness, and weight loss.
Most government bodies suggest the harder or more intense your exercise, the less you need to train. For example, 3 days per week of vigorous exercise for 25 minutes each session is recommended. If you can't vigorously exercise, 40 minutes of moderate exercises 5 times a week is recommended.
So, intensity while you train counts for a lot if you are looking to improve your health markers!
4. To get abs, all you need to do is core exercises
Unfortunately this is also a myth. You could do a million crunches and have the best abs in world, but if you don't lose your belly fat, no one is going to see them!
There is a saying in the fitness industry, abs are made in the kitchen, not the gym. You have to eat clean to get your abs to poke through. They are an indicator of body fat percentage, not how much training you do! So put down that toast and go for protein rich foods, lower carbs, no sugar and more veggies if you want to see your abs.
5. Stretching will help you recover faster
Most people stretch after training in the hope that it will decrease the soreness or speed up muscle repair. Although stretching has its benefits, such as increased joint flexibility, stretching straight after a workout will not actually completely stop you from being sore post-workout.
6. No pain, no gain
Another big training myth is that if you are not in pain, you will not make gains. This actually has the potential to do quite a bit of harm, especially if you are new to training and you don't know your body well yet.
The pain you may actually be feeling and pushing through could be harmful. You should really not be in pain when you train – this could indicate you are doing the exercise incorrectly or that you are already injured. Most athletes can tell the difference as they have learnt the difference through experience, but this may be difficult if you are not used to training.
The pain from injury is quite different to feeling the pain of exertion from pushing your muscles to failure and breathing hard. Sometimes it's hard to tell the difference. But if you are, for example, experiencing back pain, it is advisable to stop. Better to be safe than sorry and injured!
7. Spot reducing fat is possible
People have a tendency to work the muscles in the areas they want to tone up. However, it is impossible to target the areas where you want to burn fat.
Long term, disciplined healthy eating and training, burns off stubborn fat. Only then, can the underlying toned muscles begin to appear. There are no short cuts and no way around it! Try training bigger muscle groups like your legs and back as the stronger they get the more calories they will burn for you!
8. The best time to exercise is in the morning before breakfast
They say to kick-start your metabolism you need to exercise in the morning on an empty stomach.
Really, there is no best time for your body to exercise and it really depends on the person as to how much or little they eat before a workout. Some people can train on a full stomach; others can't have anything before they train.
The best time of day to train also depends on the individual. Some people are just not morning people and if they train early they can't give their best performance. Others can't be motivated to train evenings so if they don't train mornings they won’t train at all!
It's best to pick the time of day and how much you eat beforehand on an individual basis.