Workout tips are being thrown our way every single day, all the time. When this is happening, it’s hard to decipher what really works and what really doesn’t. It’s hard to filter out what’s based on just opinion and what’s based on actual facts. Because of this, here are a couple workout tips you might’ve heard before that are actually just myths.
Working out on an empty stomach will cause you to burn more fat and lose more weight.
To those of us who have gone to the gym numerous times while starving thinking it’ll help our workout, sorry to break the truth to you but this is actually nothing more than a myth. When you’re working out, your body gathers its energy from two places in your body; fat and glycogen stores. However, when you haven’t eaten anything, it means your glycogen levels are low, so your body can’t grab its energy from the glycogen stores. When you have depleted glycogen levels, and you start to exercise, your body has no choice but to tear apart muscle tissue and start to convert it into carbohydrates, so it can use that for energy.
To summarize, when you work out on an empty stomach you’ll still be burning the same amount of fat, except you’ll also be losing muscle. Your metabolism will also start to slow down, so it can conserve and save energy as well.
Muscle weighs more than fat.
This one is a little scary to think about, you mean that big number on the scale isn’t just because of my muscle weight? Muscle and fat actually weigh the same, the difference is how they appear. Fat appears to look somewhat like cotton, it’s airy and looks almost fluffy. Muscle, on the other hand, is very dense and tight. A pound of lean muscle would actually take up 20% less space than a pound of fat.
There’s only one exact way to do squats and lunges.
Hearing this is also scary, especially to those of us who are just starting out at the gym and still aren’t exactly sure what we’re doing. Luckily, however, this isn’t true at all. Several personal trainers, gym specialists, and even friends who are in over their head just love to correct your chest position, knee alignment and toe alignment, and so many other things until everyone doing a lunge or a squat looks nearly robotic. The truth is that there are a million different types of lunges and squats and a million different ways to do each type. It all just depends on what you personally want to achieve by performing that type of exercise. For example, if you’re looking to tone your thighs then the lunge you should be doing could look very different to what anyone’s been telling you, but it’s still undoubtedly a lunge.
Working out for less than 30 minutes is useless.
The reality is that if you work out at all, whether it be 5 minutes or 5 hours, it’ll still benefit you in some form or another. This myth is probably one of the most damaging of all– when people hear this, they instantly lose motivation to work out and don’t do it at all. A lot of people are insanely busy and all the time they have to work out is thirty minutes or less, which means they are now completely discouraged to get their body moving because they’re under the impression that it won’t do them any good. Even if you work out for only a minute, it’ll still be beneficial for your body, and it’s still better than not working out at all.
You shouldn’t work out if you’re pregnant.
This is probably one of the workout myths that is the most damaging and is one of the farthest from the truth. Not only is working out when you’re pregnant perfectly safe, doing so is actually very beneficial to you and your baby. Studies have proven that exercising will keep you as well as your baby healthy. The risk of gestational diabetes, heart issues, and prenatal depression are all lowered. Studies also show that your baby will have a healthier heart and a lower risk of high blood pressure.
Cardio should always come first.
This is also a workout myth that is very farfetched. Making sure your cardio routine is the very first thing you do every time you hit the gym might not be too bad, and it won’t severely affect your progress, but several gym experts suggest that it’s actually a better idea to practice strength exercises first. When your running or doing whichever cardio workout that you prefer, your body is reducing your body’s glycogen levels and using them for energy. When you’re done with your cardio, the reduction in these glycogen levels will make you feel more tired than you should feel, meaning it’ll result in not being as motivated and not working out as hard as originally intended.
The smarter way to get the most done at each workout would be to do your strength workouts first and then your cardio. Make sure to strength train while your glycogen levels are still high, your body won’t reduce them too much, and you’ll still have plenty of energy for the cardio part of your workout. To add to this, strength training actually causes your body to increase the levels of testosterone as well as cortisol, which would both be very beneficial to your body and make the rest of your workout seem kind of easier.
The point is that it’s likely not that smart to listen to every single person who wants to tell you that you’re wrong in what you’re doing, especially if they don’t have any real evidence behind what they’re saying. Always do your best to fact check someone if they’re telling you information that might be wrong, even if it’s coming from a gym junkie or even a personal trainer. You know yourself the best, which means you know the way your body works, the way you react to certain exercises, and if you’re successful in your workout.