A closer look at exercise myths, fibs and lies

Wheeler talks the truth about exercise

Is exercise really what you think it is?

For years, the diet industry told you fat was bad for you. So in your effort to lose weight you went to extremes avoiding any and all foods with fat in them. Today you know that it’s not fat that makes you fat but too many calories and not enough physical activity. Just like you were led to believe fat was the enemy, there are likely lies about exercise that you believe as well.

In order to get the most out of your workouts and see the weight loss results you hope for, it’s important to know the truth about exercise.

Keep reading to discover if you’ve fallen for any of the six most common misconceptions about exercise.

1. Exercise is more important than diet. You’ve been working out consistently for weeks now, but you aren’t seeing the results you expected. Many people fall into the trap of thinking they can make up for poor diet choices with intense workout sessions. Unfortunately, weight loss is determined more by diet than exercise. It’s a lot easier to eliminate a couple hundred calories from your diet than it is to burn them off. To see the fitness results you desire, you’ve got to take both exercise and diet seriously.

2. Lifting makes women bulky. It’s a common misconception that women who lift weights have big, bulky muscles. This is just not true. Testosterone is needed for large muscle growth and women have a small fraction of the amount of this hormone compared to men. When women avoid the weight room, they’re missing out on an effective way of toning muscle, losing weight, and protecting bone mass, not to mention the benefits of strong muscles for daily life.

3. The more you work out, the better. The longer and more intense your workout session the more weight you’ll lose, right? Not necessarily. There is such a thing as over-training. Too much exercise can backfire, leading to injury, sickness, and burnout. Your muscles need days of rest to repair damage after intense workout sessions. Allowing your body time to recuperate will ensure you come back stronger.

4. Only overweight people need to exercise. Many normal-weight people fall into the trap of thinking they don’t need to exercise since they don’t need to lose weight. While one of the main goals of exercise is weight loss, it’s definitely not the only one. Being in shape strengthens every part of your body for everyday functioning. Strong bones and muscles, a lowered risk of heart disease, diabetes, and certain cancers, and well as improved mental health are a few additional perks of exercise anyone at any size can benefit from.

5. Enough sit-ups will give you a six-pack. It’s a common misconception that spot reduction works. Do enough bicep curls and you’ll lose arm flab. Do more squats and you’ll trim your bottom. Unfortunately, weight loss doesn’t work like this. You can’t get six-pack abs by doing enough sit-ups. What you need is consistent cardio and strength training exercise in addition to a healthy diet to lose excess weight and tone trouble areas.

6. Exercise is boring. An excuse many people give for not exercising is that it’s no fun. Chances are, they were just doing the wrong activity. You may hate to run and that’s okay. Maybe you’d rather play tennis or ride a bike. Maybe your same old routine no longer excites you. This only means it’s time to find another workout. Everybody’s different. Ask your trainer to let you experiment and try new things until you find what works for you. It may mean finding a workout partner, joining a class, or stepping outside your comfort zone.

Fact checking your views. Unsure whether your exercise beliefs are true or false? Consider the authority of their source. Did you hear the information from your neighbor or your doctor? Is there clear evidence to back your beliefs?

Jack Wheeler is a personal trainer and the owner of 360 Fitness in Red Deer.

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