fitness myths

10 Fitness Myths – Fact vs Fiction?

Does it really take 21 days to break a habit? Will weight lifting stop you from losing weight? Does muscle turn to fat? There are so many fitness myths out there – they start from a single source and spread like a wild fire, and then people treat them as fact. Be warned – you need to be skeptical and question these “facts” as any good personal trainer would.

Let’s look at some of these fitness myths

Myth 1 – It Takes 21 days to Break a Bad Habit or to Start a New One

Not true! There is no timeframe for making lasting changes to your fitness regime. Some people can start a new habit in only a few days while others may take weeks to months or even years. Adaptation time is a function of the specific habit as well as the individual. If you are going to try something new, such as an exercise regime with a personal trainer, give yourself time to get into a routine – it may not happen overnight or in 21 days.

Myth 2 – Muscles Turn into Fat (or the other way around)

Muscle and fat are entirely different tissues and one cannot become the other. When not used, muscles decrease in size, therefore the saying, use it or lose it. You gain weight by eating more calories than you burn. So if you stop exercising ensure you eat less to avoid weight gain.

Myth 3 – Oil Lubricates the Joints

This isn’t true – well not in the way you think it might be. Omega 3 fatty acids may help ease joint pain as they reduce inflammation, which lessens pain within joints. Studies have shown that people who take fish oil supplements reported reduced morning stiffness, less joint swelling and pain, and a decreased need for anti-inflammatory medication.

Myth 4 – Women Need to do Different Exercises Than Men

Men and woman have the same body structure but different hormonal make-up, which means that men have more muscle strength than women. This, however, does not mean that they should workout differently.

Myth 5 – You can Just Start Toning Muscles

This isn’t true as you can only lose fat as your muscles are already toned under your layers of fat – otherwise you would not have been able to move around if you had no muscle tone. It’s important to fix your diet first and then combine it with a good exercise regime.

Myth 6 – Women Should Lift Lighter Weights and do Higher Repetitions than Men

This isn’t true, as women will not bulk up from lifting weights unless they are using some chemical substance. A woman’s testosterone levels are lower than a man’s which means they will only be able to lift lighter weights than men.

There needs to be some resistance to the muscle for it to create changes, which means everyone should lift a weight that challenges their own bodies. If you are unsure about what weight is correct for you to be lifting, you should consult your personal trainer.

Myth 7 – The More you Sweat, the More Fat You Lose

Sweat has nothing to do with intensity: it is your body’s way of getting rid of excess heat. Fat gets oxidised within your body and it will not be able to vaporise while you are sweating.

Myth 8 – To Burn Fat you Have to Exercise for 20 minutes

Not true! Everyone is genetically different and this determines fitness level, and the time and intensity of a workout. At the end of the day if you exercise you will burn more calories, and if you burn more calories than you consume you will lose weight.

Myth 9 – Sit-ups Gets Rid of belly Fat

False! Exercising specific muscle groups in particular parts of the body doesn’t burn fat primarily from that area. Fat is lost gradually from all over the body. Although sit-ups won’t help lose fat specifically from your stomach, they will help strengthen and tighten the muscle under the fat.

Myth 10 – Weight Training Stops Weight Loss

Weight (resistance) training is great combined with cardio exercise because it helps maintain muscle mass, boosts your metabolism and assists in reducing fat. The average person loses about 10% of their muscle mass each decade after the age of 45 – mainly due to a sedentary lifestyle. Resistance training can assist you in keeping muscle while you lose fat.

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