We come across questions about fitness myths hundreds of times. No surprise there. With so much information online it’s really hard to differentiate between science and nonsense.
1. ‘Training hard is good for you’
There’s a misconception that if you finish a workout and you’re not sweating buckets or super tired then you’re not training hard enough. However, when you train, you’re applying stress to your body; the exercise itself is a stressful agent. When it’s the right amount it creates adaptations – good ones – but apply it the wrong amount or intensity, and it creates bad ones, e.g., releasing too much cortisol.
2. ‘Stretching benefits everyone’
Probably the biggest fitness myth! I was told to stretch to avoid injuries and muscle soreness the day after you exercise… but there’s no evidence to support this. You become more flexible if you stretch for about 20 minutes… but you also lose around 20% of your strength. This means that if you stretch before training your strength is reduced and so your potential for injury actually increases with stretching.
3. ‘Diets work’
In the long term, diets don’t work. They’re okay if you want a little kickstart or to get some motivation, but they’re not sustainable. Instead of trying diet X, Y or Z, and experiencing a yo-yo of weight fluctuation – which is terrible for your health – it’s better to approach the process slower. Try changing habits a way where you actually enjoy them, so you can maintain them forever.
4. ‘There’s such thing as “toning”’
Toning is a term people use when they think about what they want to achieve from exercise. But training is always just a mixture of losing weight and putting on muscle. The effect people usually refer to as toning is ‘a bit more defined’, but there’s no physiological phenomenon called toning. Anything too specific is unlikely to be true. Like if you do weights, you’ll bulk up; or that you can lose fat in a particular area of your body. Classic example: by doing crunches, you’ll lose stomach fat. It’s tempting to believe, but it doesn’t work like that!
If you have more questions contact us here.
This is the transcript from our interview for Londnr wellness print edition.