The Common Fitness Advice You Follow Is Actually Complete Bullsh*t
Thanks to the #fitfam revolution, there's no shortage of workout advice floating around these days.
In fact, it seems like everyone is suddenly a gym guru, and if there's one thing these fitness fanatics love more showing off their #gainz on social media, it's sharing their workout wisdom with the world.
Between age old exercise myths and new age health revelations, we're constantly being bombarded with advice on how to achieve the ultimate shredded physique.
However, it turns out you've probably been listening to some pretty sh*tty fitness advice.
Yep, there's nothing more frustrating than seeing zero results after weeks of religiously following the latest health and fitness fad.
So in order to help you get that killer beach bod, we rounded up a bunch of common fitness tips that are actually complete bullshit, and set out to uncover the truth behind these myths once and for all.
It's always better to work out smarter, not harder.
Take a look at the pictures below to see some debunked workouts myths.
Myth: You can "spot target" your problem areas to get rid of fat.
Unlike muscle building, fat loss is not site-specific. You can use exercise to reduce your overall body fat, but unfortunately, you don't get to decide where that fat comes from, your genetics do.
Doing a million crunches every day to target your abs won't magically melt the bulge covering your midsection. It will just make the muscles underneath your stubborn fat stronger.
Myth: Killing yourself with cardio is the best way to lose weight and get toned.
Handcuffing yourself to a treadmill is not the way to go if you're looking to lose weight and actually keep it off in the long run (no pun intended).
Yes, extended periods of low-intensity cardio will burn calories, but this approach can actually be counterproductive since it causes you to lose the lean muscle tissue that keeps your metabolism high.
Lifting or doing HIIT workouts that incorporate resistance training tend to be way more effective than coasting on the elliptical for hours on end.
Myth: Lifting heavy weight gives women bulky, "manly"-looking muscles.
This is actually a huge misconception. Lifting heavy weight doesn't magically transform women into the Incredible Hulk. Women simply don't have enough testosterone in their bodies to build massive muscles like men.
In fact, heavy resistance training can actually make women appear slimmer. Studies show women who train with heavier weights burn double the fat as those who opt for a light dumbbell.
Myth: Doing sit-ups every day will give you a six pack.
Sit-ups are a simple exercise that only work one section of your abdominals, so in order to get a shredded stomach, you need to do a variety of exercises that work your entire core.
Diet is also a key factor, so you'll need to follow a six pack-friendly meal plan that gets your body fat percentage low enough to reveal those muscles.
Myth: If you work out every day, you can pretty much eat whatever you want.
Have you ever heard the phrase "abs are made in the kitchen"? Well, unfortunately, it's true.
You need to expend more calories than you consume, so going to spin class doesn't give you carte blanche to polish off an entire pizza without the consequence of all those calories.
You can't overtrain bad eating habits, so at the end of the day, your workout plans must be accompanied by a healthy diet that puts you in a caloric deficit. Otherwise, all of those sweat sessions won't do sh*t.
Myth: Every workout needs to be high intensity.
Physical fitness is a marathon, not a sprint. Sure, it's great to attack a bunch of really hard exercises with enthusiasm and determination.
But following a smart, consistent regimen is much more effective than overdoing it and injuring yourself.
Myth: The more you sweat, the more fat you burn.
Sweating and exercise intensity are not entirely correlated to one another. Perspiration is your body's way of cooling down, and the amount of sweat you release during exercise is determined by factors like body conditioning, genetics, the temperature and your workout attire.
Fat is oxidized inside of the body so it's not going to vaporize out of your pores just because you're sweating.
Myth: You shouldn't work out on an empty stomach.
It turns out skipping that pre-workout snack might actually be good for you. A study conducted by the British Journal of Nutrition found people who work out before eating breakfast actually burn more fat than those who chow down before breaking a sweat.
Myth: If you aren't sore the next day, you didn't work out hard enough.
You've probably heard the saying "no pain, no gain." Muscle soreness is caused by the body's chemical response to inflammation, making it an ineffective method to gauge muscle growth.
The only thing you should be using to measure your progress is the ability to reach your workout goals.
Myth: Pregnant women shouldn't work out.
Hitting the gym with a bun in the oven is perfectly fine and actually has a lot of benefits. Make sure you are exercising under the approval and direction of your doctor, of course.
Myth: Stretching before a workout will prevent injuries.
Studies show static stretching before a sweat session has no benefit, since it doesn't increase your range of motion. In fact, it can actually destabilize your muscles, which makes them feel weaker when performing strenuous exercises.
You're better off stretching after you finish your workout.
Myth: Running on the treadmill is the same thing as running outside.
A lot of people think running is running, whether you're hitting the trails or high-tailing it inside the gym. However, this isn't the case.
Running outside can actually torch up to 10 percent more calories than running on the treadmill, thanks to wind resistance and changing terrain.
Myth: Rest days are for lazy people. If you want to be shredded you have to work out every day.
Yes, it's important to hit the gym on a regular basis, but rest days are a crucial component of every workout plan. Exercise breaks down your muscles while rest allows your body to rebuild stronger muscle tissue.
So, depriving your body of a rest day can actually do more harm than good. Not to mention, overtraining is shown to cause injuries, plateaus and in some cases, the loss of muscle strength.
Myth: Losing weight is the only way to tell if your exercise routine is working.
People often think "getting in shape" is synonymous with losing weight. However, muscle tissue is denser than fat and, therefore, weighs more even though it takes up less space.
Working out can actually make you gain weight even though you're losing the flab, so it's better to ignore the numbers on the scale and measure progress with your physical appearance and body fat percentage.