8 Common Myths about Exercise & Fitness

It's no doubt that workout is healthy for us physically and mentally. Whether you want to tone up, manage your weight, boost your mood or just to become healthier, you’ve likely been reading online on refining your fitness routine. 

There are a lot of pieces of advice about workout especially how to do it right. Unfortunately, not all of the advice is accurate or helpful. With that in mind, we’ve put together this quick article, breaking down 8 of the most common fitness myths that you need to let go of. 

Myth #1: Doing lots of cardio is the best way to lose weight

While cardio is indisputably a good way to burn calories in general, doing cardio exclusively is not the key to lose weight. In order to both lose weight effectively and keep it off, it’s important to do a well-rounded exercise regimen that works out your entire body.

More importantly, experts say slimming down always starts with changes to your eating habits and a smart nutrition plan. If you eat more calories than you burn off when you exercise, you will not be able to lose weight. So always keep track of what you eat when it comes to weight management.

Myth #2: Strength training is for men

A prevalent myth is that we will bulk up after strength training and it doesn't look very pretty on women. In fact, it's hard for women to bulk up from a normal strength training routine because women don't have as much testosterone as men. The difference in this hormone level makes women less prone to look bulky.

A strength training workout can be just as effective for women as for men when it comes to promoting health and wellness. 

Myth #3: Weight lifting turns fat into muscle

Another common misconception when it comes to fitness, is the idea that fat is converted directly into muscle when you lift weights.

Muscle and fat are 2 completely different tissues. What actually happens is that you gain new muscle mass by doing strength exercises such as weight-lifting. The production of this new muscle mass is fuelled by the energy within your body, in this case your fat reserves. To make it simple - you can build muscle through weight training while simultaneously losing fat, but one doesn’t magically become the other. 

Myth #4: Yoga is not a “real” workout

For the people who say this, they probably think yoga is just series of gentle stretches. While there are indeed some relaxing yoga classes out there, yoga can be a very intense and tough workout that's good for both body and mind.

While yoga doesn’t always burn as many calories as other types of exercise, it is still great for improving strength, flexibility, balance and inner peace. There are also specific types of yoga that are more high intensity that leaves you sweaty, sore yet satisfied.

Myth #5: Not feeling sore means you didn't get a good workout

Contrary to popular belief, a lack of soreness after a workout does not mean you didn’t exercise enough. Muscle soreness in general is caused by the small tears that occur in your muscles when they stretch farther than they’re accustomed to. These are called micro-tears, and are a normal part of what is known as Delayed Onset Muscle Soreness (DOMS).

If you don’t experience DOMS, it simply means that you had fewer micro-tears or less stress was applied to the the tissue, which probably means that your muscles have adapted to your workout routine and can perform those exercises without stretching too far and tearing. 

Myth #6: No pain, no gain

Similar to how soreness does not indicate an effective workout, a workout that leaves you in pain is probably not a successful one. In fact, the “no pain, no gain” mentality has actually lead to injuries in many cases, because it causes people to push past their physical limitations to the point of harming their bodies (which in turn can have a long-term impact on their health and quality of life).

As a result, if your workout is causing you to experience true pain (beyond 1 - 2 days of soreness), you should stop to reassess your approach.

Myth #7: If you aren’t sweating a ton, you aren’t working hard enough

Just like how every person gains muscle mass at a different rate, so too do we all sweat differently. Your muscles create heat when you exercise, so a tough workout will increase your internal temperature, causing you to sweat. 

However, sweating also has to do with the external temperature and the humidity you're working out in. You feel like sweating a lot when the air is hot and humid as your sweat can't evaporate quickly. Ultimately, the amount of sweat a person gives off during a workout is not a good indicator of how hard they’re working. 

Myth #8: You should work out every day to stay healthy

While working out every single day may seem like a good idea, it actually isn’t, especially if your idea of a workout involves high intensity exercises. Your body needs time to recuperate in-between workouts; for example, micro-tears (which we discussed earlier about soreness) can only heal and help your muscles to grow if you allow yourself to rest.

Additionally, over-training can leave you exhausted and burnt out, so it’s better to pace out your exercise plan to achieve the best health and wellness possible. To achieve real outcomes from workout, the ideal frequency is 3 - 5 times a week, suggested by fitness experts.