Today we are going to break down the three most common myths surrounding the topic of health and fitness. We will be exploring if there is ANY truth to the statements and giving some tips on better options if you have been misled by any of these misconceptions in the past.
Fitness myth #1: ‘You have to be sore after every workout’
This one is very common, people get upset if they are not sore after their workouts or they feel like they have not worked hard enough if they are able to walk properly the day after training. DOMS (Delayed Onset Muscle Soreness) can often be present after training, sometimes it hits you soon after your session, sometimes it can last for days, and does this mean you had a better workout than somebody who didn’t feel the same amount of pain? The short answer is no. Soreness will most likely arise when first getting into an exercise routine, when trying new exercises or can hit after training with a new intensity. Studies show that muscle damage has no correlation to muscle growth, good or bad. Meaning that soreness is not a bad thing (unless it affects your future sessions) but it has no positive benefits either.
Fitness myth #2: ‘Weights make women bulky’
So many women are still so scared to participate in weights training in fear of packing on too much muscle and looking too big, never fear because that is certainly not the case. Women have a fraction of the amount of testosterone in their body as opposed to men, which is the primary hormone promoting muscle growth. Unless you are going to be taking performance enhancers or have crazy genetics, getting bulky will not be an issue. What will happen is that you burn fat as well as tighten and shape your physique! Win / Win.
Fitness myth #3: ‘Doing sit ups to flatten your stomach’
As nice as it would be, spot reducing (losing fat in a particular area with isolated work) is a myth. Doing sit ups to flatten your stomach or bicep curls to lose ‘tuckshop’ arms has not been proven to be an effective method at all. Your body will lose fat based on genetics and where it feels it needs the most gone, unfortunately we can’t decide. You can train the stubborn areas to tighten the muscle, but when it comes to fat loss, the ball is generally not in our court.
I would like to acknowlede a recent study done by Lonnie Lowry, PhD that attempts to prove the success of spot reducing by manipulating skin temperatures in regions of the body prior to exercise. I cannot speak to the facts of this research but feel it should be added before giving the blanket MYTH statement.