Myth #1: Crunches and Ab Exercises Help Bust Belly Fat
Truth: While exercises that target the abdomen can help tone and strengthen the muscles near your belly, they won’t make that paunch go away on their own. The human body doesn’t get rid of fat just in certain areas; when you exercise, fat loss is a full-body phenomenon. To minimize body fat focus on intense cardio workouts, supplemented by a weight lifting regimen (which should, of course, include core exercises like crunches). And most importantly, fix your nutrition!
Myth #2: Women Should Stick to Light Weights to Avoid Bulking Up
Truth: The vast majority of women simply don’t have enough testosterone in their bodies to build the Arnold-like muscle mass that some want to avoid. In fact, lifting heavy weights will instead help women lose weight, gain increased definition, and build confidence.
Myth #3: Sweat is a Good Indicator of How Hard You’re Working
Truth: While a nice sweat-soaked t-shirt might make you feel super satisfied after a tough workout, there’s really no relationship between how much you sweat and how hard you’re working. So next time you’re at the gym? Consider leaving that 90s style sweat suit at home.
Myth #4: Stretching Before a Workout Helps Prevent Injuries
Truth: Multiple studies have found that streching before a workout actually does nothing to prevent injuries. In fact, those who stretch before a run actually tend to wind up with more injuries than those who don’t. Stretching after exercising seems to be the best option for those who want to avoid delayed onset muscle soreness. Instead of using stretches before a workout, try to warm-up with some simple jogging, jumping jacks or anything that’ll warm-up the muscles you’ll be using for your workout.
Myth #5: Weight Machines Are Safer Than Free Weights.
Truth: This myth may actually put you at a higher risk for injury. Many gym enthusiasts stick to weight machines rather than learning how to use free weights, because they believe that the machine will correct their form and ensure that they don’t hurt themselves.
But there are still tons of ways you can use a weight machine that can damage your muscles and joints, from height and length adjustment to using weights that are too heavy to using the wrong muscle groups to push or pull. Whether you choose to use free weights or weight machines make sure you have a qualified trainer show you the ropes before you get started.