Fitness Myths Busted!

12.20.2011 / Blog Posts Health and Wellness

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There are plenty of fitness myths floating around out there. So, what’s true and what’s false regarding your fitness routine? WOW's contributing personal trainer, Becky Johnson, shares her tips below. If you have any other myths you want to investigate, post them in the comments section below or on our Facebook page to be answered in a later post!

#1 Myth: The more you sweat, the more calories you burn.

Truth: Sweating is the process your body uses to maintain its normal temperature. Essentially, you begin to sweat because your body experiences a cooling effect when sweat evaporates. How much (or little) you sweat does not correlate with how many calories you are burning.

What you can do: When it comes to the number of calories burned, duration (how long you workout) and intensity (how hard you workout) are what matters. Resist the temptation to gauge the effectiveness of your workout solely based on how much you sweat.

#2 Myth: Being skinny means you are fit and healthy.

Truth: Although some individuals are genetically able to maintain a healthy weight without exercising or watching what they eat, having a thin frame does not necessarily protect anyone from the health risks that come along with poor nutrition and a sedentary lifestyle. In fact, sometimes healthy weight individuals who are inactive can actually have higher rates of disease than some obese individuals who regularly participate in physical activity.

What you can do: Focus on more than the number on the scale. You may want to first consult with a professional to understand the complete picture of your health, fitness and wellness. When it comes to exercise, working out with a personal trainer is a great way to gauge your current level of fitness and body composition, which measures the percentage of body fat along with other physiological assessments like muscular strength, flexibility and cardio respiratory fitness. Working with a personal trainer will also get you started on a path to adopting a more active lifestyle, especially if you're not already physically active.

#3 Myth: "No pain, no gain."

Truth: When people start to exercise, it's normal to experience some muscle aches and soreness. However, training to the point of pain (such as joint pain, muscle strain, and ligament and tendon strain) is not normal or recommended, so the old “no pain, no gain" mantra is false. If you train to the point of pain, you will more likely experience overuse injuries and/or mental burnout. These injuries may ultimately derail your fitness plans and your ability to reach your health and fitness goals.

What you should do: Train smart! This starts with setting goals as well as identifying ways to be active in areas you enjoy - whether it's mountain biking, yoga, weightlifting at the gym or walking your dog after dinner. Realistic goals and activities you enjoy combined with gradual progressions in intensity and duration will help ensure your approach to physical activity is not only safe and effective, but also one which you can adhere to long-term, helping you to lead a healthier, happier, more active lifestyle.

#4 Myth: To burn more fat, exercise on an empty stomach.

Truth: Many people think if they exercise on an empty stomach, they will burn more fat. However, research has shown that the body burns approximately the same amount of fat regardless of whether or not you eat before a workout. The truth is that after a night's sleep, the muscles are depleted of glycogen, the stored form of glucose. Your muscles need glycogen to work harder for longer and your brain needs it for proper function. Because of this, without proper fueling, you may actually exercise less intensely, which could decrease the total number of calories you burn during your workout.

What you can do: To avoid this for early morning workouts, try eating a small amount of easily digestible carbohydrates, such as a banana or a slice of whole wheat toast. Eat 30 minutes or so before you exercise. Of course, a better balanced meal of protein, carbs and healthy fats would be best. This will help give you some fuel you need to make the most out of your workout session.

I hope this clears up some of the myths regarding fitness. I wish everyone a very happy holiday and enjoy time with your families and friends.

Go Redskins! Great win over the Giants!
Have a Healthy and Happy Holiday,
- Becky

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