Before your next workout, make sure you’re not incorporating these common myths.
(via Prevention) No doubt you’ve heard a lot of fitness tips over the years, and may have even shared a few of your own, but how often do you know if they are fact or fiction?
Whether you’ve heard the key to fitness is cutting calories, or keeping your heart rate up, to tummy-crunching your way to flatter abs, here are 5 common fitness myths you should never follow.
Cut, cut, cut calories
A common belief is the more calories you cut, the more weight you lose. The opposite actually happens: the body believes it’s starving causing the metabolism to slow down and holds onto fat for energy.
Instead: Eat less, but eat more often — a good rule of thumb is five to six small meals a day. For faster weight loss, break up your total daily calorie allotment. If you’re a woman, don’t eat fewer than 1,200 calories, and don’t eat fewer than 1,800 calories if you’re a man.
It’s okay. It’s diet soda!
Diet soda might be calorie free, but some studies have found that replacing sugar with artificial sweeteners might trick you into consuming more calories.
Instead: If you crave the bubbles, drink a flavored sparkling water. Or, add a few slices of citrus or mint to your water. It not only tastes good, but it will keep you hydrated throughout the day.
Avoid the bulk
It may be true that hitting the weights is the fastest way to building muscle, but it doesn’t mean you’re going to walk away from a weights session looking like a body builder.
Instead: Incorporate some weights into your fitness routine. Not only will it help build your body’s strength and endurance, it will increase your metabolism, even when you’re sitting on the couch or at your desk.
Work the core
It’s commonly said, “Ab exercises are the fastest way to a flat belly.” While it will help strengthen your muscles, it doesn’t burn body fat.
Instead: “Abs are made in the kitchen — not from doing crunches.” Maintain a proper diet low in refined carbohydrates and full of lean proteins, healthy fats, and lots of low-glycemic fruits and vegetables and keep up your stomach exercises.
Target the trouble spots
If you want tighter thighs, or more refined arms, targeting those areas with exercises is not a magic solution to improving them.
Instead: Your body decides where to burn fat based on your genetics. To improve your overall health and fitness, do full-body workouts that burn calories and slim, such as running and weight circuits.
To read additional fitness myths, go to Prevention. com.