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5 Fitness Myths that May Stop Your Progress

By Michelle Hoeing, RDN LN


At some point, we all resolve to get fit, lose weight and be healthier. Unfortunately, there are a lot of exercise programs on the market today that promise crazy results. A few of them are centered around misrepresentations. Most of them fall into the myth category. That’s why you should be cautious about what fitness advice you listen to. You can actually do yourself more harm than good. To help you stay on the right path and avoid trouble, we’re exposing the truth about 5 common fitness myths that could be slowing down your progress.


Myth #1: I have to spend hours in the gym at one time to see results. It is possible to see progress by doing a few shorter workouts and exercises throughout the day, not necessarily one hour-long session. Plus, by staying active more often throughout the day, you can keep your heart working a little bit harder for a more sustained period of time.


Myth #2: If I exercise, I can eat whatever I want. Weight loss is actually about 80% nutrition and 20% exercise, therefore most of the actual weight loss is going to result from what you do in the kitchen, not the gym. However, exercise is necessary in order to maintain weight and muscle mass. You cannot overcome a bad diet with exercise – it still matters what, and how much you eat.


Myth #3: Lifting weights will make me bulky. Many people, mostly women, make the mistake of lifting weights that are too light and do not challenge or stimulate the muscles. Lifting heavier weights is the key to maintaining and building muscle mass. Bulkiness occurs due to increased testosterone and excessive carbohydrates.


Myth #4: If you’re not sweating or gasping for breath, you’re not working hard enough. Sweating is simply the body’s way of cooling down and excessive sweating can lead to dehydration and injury. Working at a moderate intensity is just as beneficial to lose weight. When you are breathing very hard, it is a sign your body is breaking down your muscles to fuel the workout. If those muscles are not repaired properly (for example, through adequate protein and vegetable consumption) it can lead to injury and less muscle mass.


Myth #5: No pain, no gain. If you’re exercising until you’re unable to walk the next day, you may be setting yourself up for serious injury. Muscles need time to repair, and if they are not given adequate time and nutrients to heal, it can delay the healing process even longer.