It seems every girl with a pair of APL’s and a FitBit thinks she’s suddenly qualified to be some certified fitness expert. Online blogs are one giant WebMD, so consult your doctor before you freak out that you’re gonna die if you don’t take a daily shot of apple cider vinegar. There are literally SO many lies out there about fitness, and they’re everywhere—like, even in those health magazines you read while your pedicure is drying. To end the fitness confusion, we collected six myths that you probably think are true, but they’re most definitely not. Here’s what you need to stop believing about your workouts:
1. You Can Spot-Reduce Certain Areas
If you’re specifically trying to get skinnier arms or slimmer legs, then this might not be what you want to hear, but you actually can’t do that. When it comes to losing fat, there’s no such thing as spot-reducing. Your body loses fat in whichever way it wants, so for some people that may be in their stomachs, and for some it may be in their butts. It just depends on your genes, and that’s not something you can fix, no matter how many crunches you do. You can certainly tone specific areas by building muscle, but when it comes to losing weight, you can’t pick and choose. Sorry.
2. The Weight You’re Gaining Is Automatically Muscle
Ever hear a friend say they went to Barry’s Bootcamp three times in one week and say they gained two pounds? Don’t comfort them by telling them it’s muscle weight. It’s probably not. While strength training definitely does make you gain muscle weight, that type of weight gain takes weeks or months of training (and tons of extra food), so you’re probably not making “the gains” that quickly. It’s possible that your body is either holding onto water after an intense workout, or that you’re just eating more because you’re so hungry after. Either way, the chances of you gaining over a pound of muscle right off the bat is really unlikely.
3. The More You Work Out, The Better
The fact that so many girls think they’re being heroes for doubling up on their SoulCycle classes is really sad. It might make logical sense that the more you work out, the skinnier you’ll get, but that’s a short term solution. Long term, you could be majorly sabotaging your metabolism and actually ruining your chances of losing weight. When it comes to exercise, the key is quality over quantity, so you really don’t need to overtrain your body and shock your system. You’re just doing more harm than good, so you can stick with one class. Save yourself the time and money.
4. Bribe Yourself With A Post-Workout Treat
Post-workout endorphins make you feel amazing, and a lot of people think they deserve a huge post-workout treat after their sweat sesh. However, there’s a huge difference between refueling after a workout and just completely ruining all your hard work. Think about it. If you burned 300 calories at the gym and then ate a “cheat meal,” that could be over 800 calories. Was it worth it? Eat something after your workout that’s not gonna sabotage the work you put in. If you need to bribe yourself to get to the gym, do it with a new Bandier outfit or a Lulu gym bag, not with an insane amount of food. Like, you went on one run, you don’t need three entrees at brunch.
5. Ab Exercises Are The Key To Getting Abs
We’re not hating on ab workouts, but we just feel like people have the wrong idea about getting abs. Everyone has abdominal muscles, so getting them to show takes a combination of strengthening them and lowering your body fat percentage so that they’re visible. While ab exercises accomplish the first part, what you EAT is huge. You can do 500 crunches everyday, but unless you watch your diet, you’ll never see your abs. There’s a reason they say “abs are made in the kitchen”. Also, some people are just genetically lucky and their abs are more likely to show without all the hard work. If it’s just not in the cards for you, you can blame your genes.
6. Your Body Only Burns Fat In Its “Fat Burning Zone”
Somebody created the myth that your body enters a fat burning zone after working out for a certain amount of time, and that’s just not true. Your body can burn fat at the beginning of a workout or at the end, so it really doesn’t matter if your workout is 20 minutes or an hour. For example, doing short HIIT workouts allows you to burn fat immediately and makes your body stay in that state throughout the day. You don’t have to wait until you’re 30 minutes into a workout to start burning fat.