Fitness really has three main components: weight training, cardio, and nutrition. To get the best results, you need all three these are not fitness myths. Although, you can still improve your health if you only do one or two of these three. However, if you want to reach your goal in the least amount of time, you must have a complete regimen of weight training, cardiovascular or aerobic training, and a balanced nutritional program.
If you’re like most people and want to reach your fitness goals quickly and effectively, you should also learn to separate fitness facts from fitness myths. Here are nine common fitness myths, and the reasons why they’re wrong.
Myth 1: All Fiber is Created Equal
Experts say you should get approximately 25-30 grams of fiber every day. If you’re like most Americans, you may only get about 10-12 grams of fiber daily. You should also get a balanced fiber ratio of 75% insoluble fiber and 25% soluble fiber. Insoluble fiber is the roughage that cleans your colon and promotes regular bowel movements. Soluble fiber dissolves in water. You can find both types of fiber in fruits and vegetables (1).
The best way to get your daily requirement of fiber is through food. But if you’re going to supplement with a fiber pill, try to keep the 75/25 balance. There are two types of fiber supplements you can choose from—flax-based and psyllium-based. You can maintain the 75/25 balance best by using a flax-based fiber rather than psyllium fiber. Flax is non-constipating because it doesn’t swell in your body like psyllium does. Flax also contains lignans, which are an important nutrient that is studied in cancer research. Lastly, you can get flax but not psyllium in an organic form.
Myth 2: You Can Burn the Most Calories by Running
If you spend 30 minutes running on a treadmill, you can burn approximately 237 calories. If you walk on a treadmill at an incline of 10.0 and a speed of 3.9, you can burn approximately 350 calories. These numbers are based on an individual who weighs 130lbs. If you’re a different size, you’ll burn a different number of calories. However, the point is that it’s possible for you to burn more calories walking than running. Running is an excellent form of cardio, but don’t feel like you have to run if you don’t enjoy it. The most important part of cardio is picking an activity that you like so that you’ll continue to do it.
Myth 3: Training Your Lower Abdomen Will Flatten Your Tummy
Your abdominal muscle, known as rectus abdominis, is one long muscle that originates from your pubic bone and attaches to your ribs and xiphoid process (located in the middle of your ribs). When you contract your ab muscle, you work all of the fibers in that muscle, not just the lower or upper muscle fibers. They all work simultaneously. To exercise your abs, you can target your lower abs by tilting your hips under, or you can focus on lifting your upper body forward. For best results, however, you should contract your hips and upper body at the same time. So, even if you’re doing a basic crunch, you can still exercise your entire abdominal muscle.
Myth 4: A Low-Carb Diet Keeps Weight Off
A low-carb diet can help you lose weight in the beginning, but it’s difficult to sustain for any length of time. If you incorporate carbs back into your diet, you will likely gain the weight back as well. You may even end up gaining more weight than you lost. The best way to maintain a healthy diet and keep unwanted weight off is to eat a balanced diet of approximately 50% carbohydrates, 35% protein, and 15% fats.
Myth 5: The Best Time to do Cardio is Before Your Weight Training
Cardiovascular exercise, also known as aerobic training, should definitely be a part of your workout. You may have heard that you should do your cardio exercise before weight training. However, you’ll get the best results if you start your workout with weight training.
It takes approximately 20 minutes of continuous large, rhythmical movements for your body to start using the aerobic system. When your body is in the aerobic system, you use fat for energy. You’ll get the most benefits from doing weight training first for 30 minutes, keeping your heart rate elevated, and then immediately follow with 30 minutes of cardio. That way, your body will have 30 minutes in the fat burning system after weight training. If you do cardio first, it takes you 20 minutes to get to that energy system, and then you’re only in the aerobic system for the last 10 minutes of your cardio workout.
Myth 6: Squats Will Make Women’s Legs Big
Squats are an excellent exercise for your quadriceps, glutes, hamstrings, and lower back. They’re also an excellent exercise for women. Squats can do wonders for your hips and glutes. Your legs won’t grow significantly unless you’re a woman with a lot of male hormones and you use excessive weight for your squats. You can use squats to tighten, lift, firm, and condition the lower half of your body without adding size to your legs.
Myth 7: You Must Lift Very Heavy Weights to Make Gains
Heavy lifting is not an absolute must in your weight-training program. You may need to use heavy lifting for a while to increase your muscle size or definition, but it doesn’t have to be a long-term program. Heavy lifting can be strenuous on your muscles, joints, and ligaments. If you continue to use it for an extended period of time, you’ll increase your chance of injury. However, you still need to lift a reasonable amount of weight to get results!
Myth 8: Too Much Protein is a Bad Thing
If you’re like most people, you probably don’t get enough protein. The average person only eats about 0.25g of protein per pound of body weight. Studies have shown that you should consume 0.5g of protein per pound of body weight. If you’re a serious athlete, you might need as much as 1.0g – 1.5g per pound of body weight. However, your body may have a difficult time digesting more than 1.5g of protein per pound of bodyweight for an extended period of time.
Myth 9: You Must Spend Hours in the Gym to Get Results
This myth is absolutely not true! People who do spend hours in the gym are probably resting too long in between exercises and chatting too much. You don’t need to spend that long in the gym. You can get results from as little as 30 minutes of weight training a day three times a week. If you add 30 minutes of cardio three days a week and a sensible diet, you’ll improve your health at an even faster rate.
Fitness Myths Are Not All Bad
Sometimes a myth is clouded in truth and that myth gets you to take action. Once you start moving toward your goal, it is easy to do some course corrections when you find something wasn’t working the way you expected. Some times these fitness myths start as what experts believe until someone proves a better way. We all want to know the truth and be able to make the best decisions. Unfortunately, not everyone gets the same results from the same health and fitness changes. You must find out what works best for you if you are looking for some more tips on how to get or stay in shape, check out our Tips Articles.