Last month we busted 5 popular fitness myths … here are 5 more!
1. Fat can turn into muscle, and vice versa. Muscle cells and fat cells are completely different and separate things within the body. Each of them can increase and decrease in size, but these changes happen independently. It is physiologically impossible for fat to turn into muscle or muscle to turn into fat.
2. You need to drink a sports drink after a workout to rehydrate and replenish your electrolytes. The Mayo Clinic recommends a sports drink only if you will be exercising for more than 1 hour. Therefore, water is sufficient for most regular workouts, especially if performed indoors or outdoors in mild-moderate temperatures. Your body does not lose enough fluid and electrolytes during a normal workout to necessitate a sports drink, and that sports drink may actually be keeping you from losing weight. If you walk 2 miles, you burn about 200 calories. If you drink 16 oz. of a sports drink (100 calories), you have just negated half of the calories you just worked so hard to burn off!
3. It is best to stretch before your workout. When most of us were in school, we were taken out to the track, did a few stretches, and then starting walking/running. Interestingly, that wasn’t really the most beneficial way to stretch! You get more benefit from stretching if your muscles are warm, which means that you should either do a warm-up and then stretch, or just save your stretching for the end of your workout!
4. The reason you are not losing weight because you are gaining muscle. Many people assume that if they’re exercising regularly but the scale isn’t showing any change in weight, it’s because they’re gaining muscle. This is most likely not the case. It is actually quite difficult to gain a pound of muscle through an ordinary exercise program, even if it includes some resistance training. In order to actually gain a significant amount of muscle mass you have to increase your caloric intake and perform heavy strength training. If the scale just won’t budge, you may need to increase the amount of aerobic exercise you’re doing (because that involves burning the most calories) and be sure you’re watching how many calories you’re eating!
5. The “toning/weight loss” shoes really help you lose weight. The concept behind these shoes is that the bottoms are shaped to keep you slightly off balance so that you are forced to use the muscles in your legs (mainly your calf muscles) to keep balanced while doing normal daily activities. Sure, you may burn a few extra calories by utilizing those muscles a bit more throughout the day, but it is by no means enough to make a dent in your weight or even in the shape of your thighs. Also, it is important that you do not use these as your exercise shoes, as they do not provide the proper support needed. They may also put you at higher risk for an injury. Stayed tuned for my next post on the importance of proper footwear for exercise and some tips on how to find the right pair for you!
Are there any other fitness myths you have been wondering about? Let us know - leave a comment below!