16 Diet and Fitness Myths Debunked

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Everybody knows that the secret to a flat stomach is lots of crunches and sit-ups. Right?

Actually, that’s wrong!

Many fitness “facts” are actually nothing more than urban legends. Keep reading to get the skinny on what really makes you skinny and which workouts are most effective.

16. You’ll Burn More Fat if You Exercise Hungry


To have a good workout where you put forth 100 percent effort, your body does need fuel. If you workout when you are starving, you will feel lethargic and you won’t have the mental focus that an intense workout requires. Additionally, eating a healthy, balanced meal two or three hours before exercising will help you avoid post-workout binges since you won’t be famished when you leave the gym.

15. Stretching Always Prevents Injuries


You’ve had this one drilled into your head since elementary gym class where you were required to touch your toes before you started running. In truth however, there is no scientific evidence for this myth. Stretching will help you maintain flexibility, so that if you move awkwardly, you will be less likely to get hurt, but it won’t protect you from repetitive stress injuries or certain other injuries.

14. Only Those Who Need to Lose Weight Need to Exercise


The human body was not designed to be sedentary, but instead it was made to work hard physically each day. Even if you are able to maintain a healthy weight without exercising on a regular basis, your cardiovascular system and your muscles need to be kept in shape through regular exercise. Exercise will keep you strong, flexible, and healthy even if you don’t need it for weight loss.

13. After You Reach Age 40, You Are Going to Gain Weight


In truth, people’s metabolisms do slow down as they hit middle age. However, this doesn’t mean that weight gain is inevitable. Everyone should keep an eye on their weight and fitness, and if the pounds start creeping on, you should adjust your diet and activity level to compensate for your slower metabolism.

12. You Can Spot-Reduce Problem Body Parts


Women often have heavy thighs or buttocks, and men usually carry their weight in a “spare tire” around their middles. Many people look in the mirror and want to lose the weight in these problem spots. While you can tone the muscles in those specific areas, you will have to lose weight on your whole body to see a big difference.

11. If You Aren’t Exhausted After Each Workout, You Didn’t Do Enough


Aside from the first couple weeks of a new exercise routine, you shouldn’t feel on the verge of collapse after a workout. If you feel that way, you are working beyond your current fitness level and you should scale back a little. The perfect level of exercise should leave you feeling invigorated, and you should finish every workout feeling like you could have gone just a little bit longer.

10. To Reduce Fat, Increase Your Cardio


You can lose a decent amount of weight by simply performing cardio exercises, but a more efficient way to lose the weight is to include weight training with your cardio routine. The reason for this is that weight training builds muscle, which burns more calories per pound than fat does. Weight training and cardio go hand in hand for a healthy, slimmer lifestyle.

9. Squats are Bad For Your Knees, Especially If Your Knees Go Out Past Your Toes


Squats are a great way to work your buttocks and your thighs, but they won’t necessarily damage your knees. Researchers have actually found that the safest squat doesn’t come from watching where your knees go and keeping them from moving out past the toes. Instead, they say that the safest squat is when you focus on keeping your upper body as upright as possible while you are squatting.

8. The Calories Burned Number on My Cardio Machine Is Accurate


While it would be nice if you could count on these machines to be accurate, treadmills and elliptical machines cannot know the specifics of how your body burns fat and calories, even if the machine tracks your weight and heart rate. Every person’s metabolism burns calories differently, and the machine can’t know what percentage of your body is fat and what percentage is muscle. Because muscle burns more calories than fat, the machine just won’t have all of the information that it needs to give you an accurate count of how many calories you burned in your workout.

7. Sports Bras Aren’t Necessary Unless You Are Have Big Boobs


Even if you are smaller on top and don’t bounce much during your workout, you probably need a sports bra. “Bouncy,” high-impact workouts like running and aerobics can stress the ligaments that keep your breasts firm, making your breasts sag prematurely. Wearing a compression-type sports bra if you are smaller and an encapsulation-type sports bra if you are larger can keep your “girls” perkier as you get older.