Know your fitness facts from your fitness fiction? You might be surprised by how many of the former turn out to be the latter, especially with the progression of fitness science over recent years; never mind the obvious myths dismissed time and time again, there are ‘myths’ out there today which were taught in advanced courses to serious experts! Of course, not every myth’s that insidious; there are just as many which float around the public consciousness for years and years without a shred of reality behind them.
6 Fitness Myths That Might Hold You Back
1) Running is bad for your knees.
This is a common one, which is truly unfortunate—if anything, exercising your knees gives your joint better support in the long term. A recent study of older runners and older non-runners showed none of the supposed long-term damage we’re cautioned about; we’re built to run, and that includes our knees. So if running’s your favorite form of cardio, don’t hesitate to get out there and pound the pavement.
It takes a lot of intense exercise to throw off your electrolyte balance to a significant degree, but that doesn’t stop sports drink manufacturers from trying to convince you that every jog warrants a bottle of electrolytes and sugar. Not only is it a waste of effort to ‘replenish’ for less intense workouts, if you’re taking in calories with your electrolytes you’re undoing your hard work.
3) More exercise is better.
There are limits to what the human body can recover from in a set period of time; as you become increasingly athletic, you might find those limits shifting somewhat, but just because you feel fine after a hard workout doesn’t mean you’re not overtraining. Keep an eye out for mood swings, insomnia, a short fuse, and reduced gains after every increase to training frequency or intensity.
Lifting weights and working out hard isn’t going to turn you into the Hulk unless you aim for that look—it takes a dedication to protein consumption, doing the right exercises, and a host of other efforts. So don’t hesitate to work on your athleticism because you’re afraid of losing your good looks—it won’t happen by accident.
5) Spot reduction.
Against all odds, this myth persists. For the millionth time: You can’t lose fat in a specific area by exercising that area. Crunches don’t get rid of belly fat unless your belly is the next place your body is looking to lose fat. It might firm up the muscles there, might fill out loose skin, but it will not burn belly fat specifically. Think about it--how often do you see people with super lean arms or legs, and fat everywhere else?
6) Machines are safer.
Fixed machines offer a certain form of safety—you won’t drop anything on yourself, probably—but that doesn’t mean you’re not at risk using them. When you train primarily on fixed machines, your stabilizer muscles don’t get much of a workout. That can lead to nasty injuries in the real world, or the next time you try to do free weights. So stay aware of the limitations of machines, and use them responsibly.