Don't Believe These Six Fitness Myths

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Don't Believe These Six Fitness Myths

When it comes to fitness, misconceptions and misunderstandings abound. Many people who wish to get in better shape are held back by inaccurate ideas about how fitness works. These misconceptions can increase the risk of injury, reduce fitness gains, and make exercising more difficult. Examine the following list of the six most common fitness myths, and make sure you haven't been mistakenly sabotaging your exercise efforts.

1. Fat can be spot-reduced. 

Many people wish they could directly eliminate fat from certain "problem" areas of their body. The theory is that exercises that activate the muscles in an area will also reduce fat in the same place. For example, doing stomach crunches would get rid of stomach fat. Unfortunately, this is not at all how fat loss works. When fat is lost, it is lost from the entire body. Though some people will naturally tend to lose more or less from different areas, consciously controlling or changing these tendencies is impossible.

2. Sweating directly correlates with exertion. 

Many people assume that someone who is sweating must be getting a better workout than someone who isn't. While it is likely that a person dripping with sweat is getting a quality workout, the presence of a sweat is only directly indicative of the body's need to cool down, not how hard a person is working. When and how much the body sweats varies considerably from person to person. Some naturally sweat a lot, others hardly at all.

3. Exercise can wipe out the negative effects of a poor diet. 

Working out is a crucial part of living healthily, but so is eating well. Someone who wants to be healthy will make sure to exercise and consume a nutritious diet. A good workout session should never be looked at as a license to indulge afterwards, especially since exercise burns off far fewer calories than most people think. Furthermore, eating poorly will make it impossible to get the most benefit out of a workout. No one can perform at their best without quality nutrition.


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4. Pain is a sign of a good workout. 

The "no pain, no gain" theory of exercise is unfortunately all too popular. In fact, serious pain during exercise is a sign of trouble, not an indicator of progress. Significant pain during exercise can be triggered by bad form, or perhaps an underlying injury. In either case, pushing through the pain is dangerous and must never be done. Some mild soreness after a workout, however, is not a worrisome sign.

5. Stretching helps prevent injury. 

This longstanding myth was once supported by the best expert theories, but more recent research has found the reality is otherwise. Easing your way into exercise via stretching does nothing to address the underlying causes of injuries. In fact, some research has shown that static stretching saps strength, and can even increase the chances of injury. Stretching after a workout, however, is a good way to loosen tight or tense muscles and boost range of motion.

6. More is always better. 

Working out too hard or too long can be harmful. The problem is that without adequate recovery time, the body cannot consolidate gains made during a workout. For example, performing high-intensity training on a daily basis is not a good idea. Pushing too hard or exercising for an excessively long period significantly raises risk of injury. Sticking to a steady, regular habit of quality workouts is a better strategy.


Whatever your workout regimen, it is important to know the truth about exercise and fitness. Believing in fitness myths will hamper your efforts to get in shape, and might even lead to injury. Look over the list of the six most common fitness myths described above to make sure your knowledge of exercise is accurate.


About the author: Seth Gowdy is the Sales Manager for Pivot Insurance and holds multiple insurance and securities' licenses. He has been part of the financial services industry for nearly 20 years. In his free time he enjoys being outdoors fishing, hiking, and geocaching with his wife and two children. Seth most enjoys helping clients with Pivot’s customized process and needs' calculators. You can reach Seth at 1-800-651-1953 or sgowdy@pivot.com.

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