4 Myths About Exercise
Ever been told to stretch before you exercise to prevent getting injured? Or that training first thing in the morning before you eat anything will burn more fat?
Yeah well, you’re not alone. Misleading, unnecessary and even counterproductive exercise advice is everywhere. Here are 4 of the most common ones.
1. Training within a specific heart rate zone will burn more fat
Several new-age group fitness studios and other programs use this method stating that a certain level of intensity (based on your heart rate data alone) will give you better results.
The problem with this is that the targets they give you are generalised and dependent on your individual maximum heart rate, which is extremely hard to measure accurately on your own. Without accurate data, your target heart rate zones will be off, sometimes way off.
People like this myth as it seems objective. If I do ‘A’ then I will get ‘B’ but weight loss doesn’t work like that. If you want to measure intensity, just take your HR monitor with a pinch of salt and tune in to how you FEEL.
2. Hydrate even if you’re not thirsty
This one is Gatorades fault, well kind of. Sports drink companies love to have you think that you need to hydrate before, during and after exercise to avoid dehydration. The thing people tend to forget is that your ‘thirst’ signals, for most people, are a good enough indicator of when you need more fluid.
Chugging constantly simply isn’t necessary, just drink when you’re thirsty.
3. Stretching before exercise to prevent injuries
If you ever took part in sports growing up, you’ve probably been through various rounds of static stretching before jumping on the pitch. Studies show static stretching (holding positions for 20-30 seconds before changing) pre-exercise does very little to prevent injury and can even do harm to cold muscles. It’s much better to save static stretching for after exercise and warm up with dynamic stretching (leg swings, world’s greatest stretch, vertical jumps etc.) which moves your joints and muscles through a full range of motion.
4. You need to train “fasted” to burn more fat
Doing aerobic exercise on an empty stomach is a common weight loss practice that unfortunately isn’t backed by much scientific evidence. It’s thought that by exercising when carbohydrate levels are low (fasted), you won’t have to burn through them and therefore will burn fat instead.
Most studies over the long-term (4-6 weeks) don’t show any significant advantage to training this way when it comes to weight loss. Of course, if eating early in the morning before your workout is going to make you physically ill then skipping it might be beneficial but if you’re feeling exhausted and lethargic every time you exercise a lack of food might be why.
These are just a handful of the several myths that exist in the fitness industry that confuse so many people during their weight loss journey. It's helpful to be aware of these so that they don't impact you on your way to your health and wellness goals.