There is a burgeoning interest in healthy living and a wealth of information about the many ways in which we can achieve our fitness goals. However, there are myths and misconceptions about most things in life, and fitness is no exception. They are very misleading and can even be dangerous. Some of them have been held for so long that they might really surprise you.
1. Women need different exercises to men
Men and women are built in the same way. They both have the same muscle composition. The only difference is in their hormone chemistry. Men have more testosterone than women. This doesn’t mean that they should train differently.
2. You should always stretch before a workout
We’ve been taught that this helps to prevent injuries, but stretching before a workout actually weakens muscles. It’s much better to warm up your muscles by doing light cardio for a few minutes before you start your training session and to stretch afterwards instead to prevent muscle soreness and stiffness.
3. Weight training turns fat into muscle
Fat and muscle are two very different kinds of tissue. What weight training really does is build muscle in and around fat tissue, which is why your fat percentage decreases as you build more muscle. However, you certainly can’t turn fat into muscle.
4. It is better to work out in the morning on an empty stomach
This is supposedly to create a calorie deficit and accelerate fat loss while your body is in what is called a “fasted state”. However, it’s risky to work out when you haven’t consumed enough nutrients. You could lower your blood sugar levels, which could make you feel dizzy and shaky.
It is also counterproductive in terms of fat burning. When you don’t consume enough calories, your body uses protein for fuel, which leads to muscle loss. This is pointless when you should be doing the opposite by building your muscles to burn fat instead. The best time to work out is when it best suits your schedule.
5. Weight training will make women bulky
Women often confuse weight training with bodybuilding, which is why so many of them are reluctant to incorporate it into their workout plans. The first picture that comes to their minds when somebody mentions weight training to them are photos of tanned and oiled competitive bodybuilders. Weight training and bodybuilding are two different disciplines although they share certain similarities. Their objectives are different:
- Bodybuilders use weight training to increase their muscle size, shape and symmetry, whereas
- Weight trainers aim to burn fat and improve their muscle strength.
Secondly, women simply do not have enough testosterone to build up that kind of muscle mass without the help of specific supplements.
Thirdly, bodybuilders also follow a very strict diet that is extremely high in calories to achieve their physique. Women would have to consume around 10 000 calories a day to bulk up to that point.
If you want to tone up, slim down or just boost your mood, you’ve likely taken a stab at modifying your fitness routine. Unfortunately, there’s a lot of workout information out there that won’t help you to meet your goals and could, in actual fact, do more harm than good. Take the above five points into account and you’ll be well on your way to designing a fitness regime that works!
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