Wednesday, August 20, 2014

4 health & workout myths

There are quite of a lot of myths and contradicting stories in the world of health and fitness, especially when it comes to us girls. By doing a lot of reading, I've found out that there are some common misconceptions that women have, of which I will explain 4 to you today. 

1. “Exercising (in the morning) on an empty stomach burns fat”
It almost sounds logic that if you work out on an empty stomach, your body will take energy from your extra supply (aka fat). But the truth is actually quite the opposite. Exercising on an empty stomach actually contributes to muscle loss, which is something you want to avoid. So before working out, always ensure you eat something, even if it’s a banana (1 banana provides you with more or less 1 hour of energy). Having a snack before a workout will generally make your performance better. 

2. “Lifting weights will make me muscular and bulky like a man”
This is not so much a myth, more of a lack of information/knowledge. Fact is that women are built very differently than men, and women generally have a higher fat percentage and a lower quantity of muscle mass compared to men. Women need to work VERY hard in order to become muscular. This is why it is quite hard for women to become very muscular, which is why training three times a week (for example) will not make you “muscular and bulky”, but will help reduce your fat percentage. 

3. “You burn more calories with cardio than with strength training” 
This is still a common misconception which is probably why most women still choose cardio over strength training (also because of the previous point). Doing cardio not only burns fat, but also muscles, which is the opposite of what you want. Having more muscle mass actually speeds up your metabolism and energy use (burning calories), because for your muscles to recover from training, they need energy and nutrients (from food but also from your body’s storage - fat). Simply put, an increase in muscle mass means an increase in energy requirement. This is why it’s essential to incorporate strength training into your routine if your goal is to lose fat and/or to become more toned. 

4. “If I do these specific exercises, I can target a specific area of my body to lose fat” (aka “spot reducing”)
Spot reducing just isn’t possible, and is a myth that many people still make money off. If, for example, you feel like your stomach is your problem area, it won’t be effective to only do ab exercises for example. Targeting a specific area to lose fat just isn’t possible. Working out your whole body is the way to go, as it will reduce overall body fat. So if you’re training hard, eating well, it will only be a matter of time before you tone up that specific problem area. 

I hope this made some things more clear to you, but please do correct me if I'm wrong! I just wanted to share some knowledge I gained :)

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