Gyms are the perfect place to pick up fitness info. While you’re waiting for your turn at the squat rack or when changing after your workout, a sociable chat is sure to yield some valuable knowledge. But how much of what you hear is fact and how much fiction? Here we provide some welcome clarity - our top fitness myths debunked.

1. Stretch before your workout

Myth. Holding static stretches before you leap into action actually removes the spring from your step. Loosening muscles and tendons prior to exercise makes them less able to provide the explosive energy you need. It also reduces the ability of your muscle and connective tissue to support your joints and may make you more injury prone. Instead, begin your workout with some light cardio before moving onto the higher intensity stuff. Only stretch once you’ve finished.

2. Drink eight glasses of water per day

Myth. Good hydration is essential to health and well being and it’s often repeated that consuming eight glasses of water a day is essential for health. But this simply isn’t true. Good hydration keeps your kidneys flushed, prevents headaches and keeps your skin looking good. True but you only need to take onboard what you lose. As a rule of thumb, if your urine is pale straw coloured, you’re fine. Don’t overdo the water, it won’t help you lose weight, as an appetite suppressant it’s pretty ineffective and can even be dangerous.

3. A hot bath eases sore muscles

bath
It might feel good, but does it work?
Source: Saffire Freycinet
Myth. There’s nothing better than a hot bath for relaxing after a strenuous workout or tough sports match, but the reality is that alternating hot and cold water will do more to enhance your recovery. The practice helps eliminate toxins from your muscle tissue as well as enhancing blood circulation. And when you’re done in the bath, resist the temptation to order in pizza. Instead, go for a walk, a swim or a gentle cycle as active recovery has been shown to work better than the couch option.

4. Cardio is best for fat loss

Myth. It’s a common misconception that one of the best ways to lose fat is to hit the highway and get jogging. But moderate intensity steady state training (MISS) is no where near as effective as high intensity interval training (HIIT). And HIIT is most effective when you combine interval training with some heavy lifting. But most impact on weight gain or loss comes from your diet. Get that sorted, combine with some effective training and the results will follow.

5. Crunches get you a six pack

ab crunches
Don't expect a six pack
Source: Z Zenon
Myth. The truth is that everyone has a six pack, it’s just that for the majority of us, it’s hidden beneath a layer of fat. While doing crunches is undoubtedly good for your abs, you won’t be able to see them until you shed enough fat. How much fat do you need to shed? Hard to say. While a ripped woman will have a higher body fat percentage than a man, the precise amount varies from one person to another. The only sure way to get a washboard stomach is to adopt a fat loss regime until you can see them.

6. No pain no gain

no pain no gain runner injury
Learn to stop if in pain
Source: Warren Goldswain
Myth. There’s a big distinction to be made between the natural soreness you’ll feel when you work out hard, and real pain which should be avoided like the plague. Because muscle growth occurs as a result of the fibers tearing before growing back stronger, some discomfort is inevitable after you’ve lifted weights. But if you ever feel pain, stop what you’re doing and seek medical advice.

7. Lifting heavy makes women bulk up

Myth. Many women shy away from lifting weights because they fear they’ll end up with muscles like boulders. But fear not, it’s testosterone that gives men their muscle building capabilities. If you’re of the female persuasion, you’ll have to train long and hard to bulk up to any great degree. In fact, women should weight train. Not only is it good for your muscle tone and fitness, but it helps promote healthy bone density too.

2 COMMENTS

  1. My PT and previous PT said going right into cardio as a warm up without stretching is unwise. So I do not totally believe what you are saying here. I would not be told the same thing by different people.
    Some post on the internet isn’t going to change my routine that is provided by trained PT’s

    • Fair enough! I tend to do dynamic stretching in all honesty. So before football a light jog, or before a session a brisk walk while swinging my arms!

      I have been injured after doing a lot of STATIC stretches. But if you are paying for a PT, I’d stick with what they say as they are qualified pros at the end of the day, and there job is to guide you. And like a teacher and student, it’s key to listen.

      Cheers for your comment!

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