Shoehorning your workout into a few days a week is challenging
enoughdon't make it tougher by buying into those
nagging exercise misconceptions that may divert your
attention from pursuing your better body goals.
Here are some popular fitness myths that pervade gyms,
pools and exercise classes. Arm yourself with the facts
to keep you slim, strong and even smarter.
MYTH: Muscle turns into fat
and fat are two completely different tissues that have
different functions, so it's physiologically impossible
to turn one into the other. If you stop exercising,
your muscles atrophy, so you lose the tone you worked
so hard to create. And if you eat more calories than
you burn, you'll gain fat. Muscle
vs. Fat: Measure What Matters
MYTH: You need to exercise 30 minutes straight
to get fit.
REALITY: Three vigorous
10-minute cardio stints offer the same healthy payback
as a single 30-minute one. If you are trying to peel
off pounds, of course, the more you do, the faster you'll
succeed. But don't feel guilty if all you can squeeze
in is a few minutes here and a few minutes thereit
all adds up. Vigorous
Exercise Gaining More Recognition For Long-Term Weight
Short on time? Ratchet up the intensity of your workout:
Go hard for 30 seconds on the elliptical or jog for
a minute in the middle of your walk to maintain your
fitness level and your habit. And remember, anything
you dowhether it's a brisk 5-minute walk or carrying
heavy groceries to your carfor any period of time,
provides some benefit.
MYTH: Overweight people have a sluggish metabolism.
some folks do have metabolic disorders that slow their
metabolism, fewer than 10 percent of overweight people
suffer from them. In fact, the more you weigh, the more
calories you'll burn during exercise at the same relative
workload as a slimmer person. If you notice the scale
climbing higher, worry about your activity level, not
your metabolism. The
Fat Burning Zone: Fact or Fiction?
MYTH: Lifting heavy weights make women bulk
REALITY: Women dont
have enough of the muscle-building hormone testosterone
to get bulky, even using heavy weights. The truth is,
some people will gain muscle faster than they lose fat,
so they may look bigger until they shed some of the
flab and reveal the slim, toned muscles underneath.
Training To Maximize Your Workout
MYTH: Stretching before exercise prevents injuries
and enhances performance.
are still scratching their head over this one, since
studies have yet to show conclusively that limbering
up has any effect on staving off strains and other injuries.
But they do know that stretching regularly can make
bending, reaching, twisting and lifting easier. Best
move: Save your stretching for post-exercise, when muscles
are warm. Does
Stretching Prevent Injury?
MYTH: You burn more calories exercising in chilly
REALITY: If you
shiver through a long run in the frigid winter air simply
to experience the extra calorie burn, you might want
to come in from the cold: You do torch a few extra calories
during the first few minutes, but once you get warmed
up, the caloric expenditure is the same whether youre
exercising in Siberia or the Sahara. Try a treadmill
circuit workout with a great playlist to keep you going!
Many Calories Do You Burn?
MYTH: When your
body gets used to an exercise, you'll burn fewer calories
you've adjusted the intensity, you'll burn as much jogging
or cycling today as you did last week, last month, even
last year. Experts say that this principle only applies
to exercises that we're naturally inefficient at, such
as using the elliptical machine: After five to six sessions,
you'll be smoother in your movements and expend fewer
caloriesbut the difference is only about 2 to
MYTH: The calorie readout on machines is accurate.
REALITY: If only!
Research has shown that some types of machines can be
off by as much as 70 percent. The culprit? Contraptions
such as the elliptical machine havent been around
long enough for exercise scientists to develop the appropriate
calorie-burn equations. On the upside, stationary bikes
and treadmills, the grandfathers of the gym, generally
give a fairly precise reading, particularly if you enter
your age and weight. Calories
Rather than swearing by what the machine says, use
the calorie readout to monitor your progress. If the
tally climbs during the same workout for the same duration,
youre working harder and getting fitter. An online
calorie calculator can give you a sense of which activities
burn the most.