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Let’s Dispel These Five Old Wives’ Tales of Fitness

10-03-2016

Health, fitness and exercise are complicated topics with a lot of opinions and information floating around. Here we're going to explain away five of the most common fallacies of the fitness world that can deter people from exercising or hinder their progress when they do...

1) Cardio is the type of exercise needed to burn fat

Yes, cardiovascular exercise burns fat, but so does strength training. Cardio is not more important than strength training; they are both equally important as they both help eliminate fat. Strength training builds muscle, and with extra muscle comes a higher resting metabolic rate, which causes the body to burn more calories while in a dormant state than it would with less muscle mass. If you’re looking to burn fat, use a combination of cardiovascular and strength training.

2) If women lift weights they'll get "man-like" muscles

No they won’t. Lifting weights is beneficial for members of both sexes, but women won’t bulk up from it the way that men do because they have lower testosterone levels than men, so their bodies don’t react the same way. Sure there are some female bodybuilders with extremely muscular bodies, but that kind of transformation only comes from very intensive and specialized weight training. No woman gets that way unless she wants to. Lifting weights will make any woman stronger and leaner, which is very helpful to them as they age.

3) Muscle weighs more than fat

No it doesn’t. Units of weight measurement are the same no matter what substance is being weighed. Ten pounds of muscle weighs ten pound on a scale, exactly the same as ten pounds of fat does. This misconception comes from the fact that muscle is much denser than fat, meaning that ten pounds of muscle takes up significantly less space than ten pounds of fat. This is important to understand because when people embark on a new training regime, they often get discouraged at the start when they don’t appear to be losing weight, not realizing that it’s because if they’ve been training properly, they will have replaced some of their fat with a significantly smaller amount of muscle, which is progress and will eventually make them look and feel better.

4) Your exercise sessions need to be at least an hour long

This is complete nonsense. The amount of time your exercise sessions should consist of depends entirely on the kind of exercises you’re doing. For some types, less is actually better. High-intensity interval training (HIIT), for example, is known to boost metabolism for twenty-four hours or longer after a workout. Short bouts of running give proven benefits to the human heart. Ten minutes of push-ups and sit-ups every morning and evening can tone your arms and abdominal muscles to help give you that coveted summer body. Any amount of exercise is beneficial.

5) BMI is the way everyone should measure their fitness

Body mass index, as a system of measuring fitness, has its uses, but they mostly lie in the treatment of people who are clearly overweight or obese. BMI is actually an oversimplified measurement of health that can give incorrect ideas about a person’s fitness. Well muscled people often have the high BMIs normally found in overweight people, when they themselves are in fact perfectly fit and healthy.

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