There are a lot of myths and legends about working out, some of which are more helpful than others, and some which are just plain misleading. With all of the lore out there, it’s sometimes difficult to separate what is actual fitness truth, from the legends that go back to the time before our grandmothers. Thankfully, a little bit of research can separate the misleading myths from the truths that will guide you to the most effective workout you can do. Today, we’re going to clear the air about some of these misleading ideas, and help you get on the right track to superior health!
It’s all in the pounds my friend
One of the most pernicious myths to plague those new to working out is the idea that the measure of your success is in your weight loss. These poor souls tend to get in and measure themselves every day of their workout regime, but without seeing any loss they get frustrated. There are many reasons they could not be experiencing weight loss, and some of them are tied to hidden things they don’t know enough to consider. When one first starts going to the gym, there are a lot of changes the body goes through that may not result in immediate weight loss.
Your respiratory system improves dramatically as you begin being able to process oxygen more efficiently, lung capacity increases, blood sugar levels drop, and the one that causes the most confusion? You start gaining muscle mass. Muscle weighs a significant amount more than fat, so even if you’re not losing weight you may very well be losing inches, this is why the best method of tracking your progress is measuring inches or size rather than weight. What you really want to know is that your body is changing, not how much it weighs.
Work it till it hurts baby!
There is this outstanding idea that if you aren’t hurting during your workout like a large Russian is beating you with a rug-beating stick, you’re not being effective. This unfortunate idea has caused more long term damage to the uninitiated than any other. While working out, you need to know your limits, and not try to push your body beyond its capabilities. Instead, a steady, gradual growth as progress through the various levels of fitness is going to serve you much better. Your body will send you very clear messages when you’re overdoing it in the form of real pain, light-headedness, beginning to black out, and real body deep exhaustion. Don’t let yourself be sucked in by the idea that destroying yourself is the only way to reach your fitness goals, take the turtle’s way, slow and steady.
Trust the machines, they know what you’re doing
Here’s a particularly pernicious and not entirely obvious myth. The newest machines have everything from heart rate monitors to calorie counters, all of them marking progress for you as you charge your way through your fitness plan. The problem with this is that there’s no way they can be even remotely accurate. Even the ones that ask you for your age, weight, and such aren’t really geared to tell you what you’re burning or how effective you’re being. Instead, they are set to give you a ballpark estimate, and mostly give you a number to watch climb so you can feel your making progress. Far more effective is giving yourself a set time or distance to travel, or even better, an ever growing ‘distance over time’ where you keep trying to get further in the same time frame. But whatever you do, when it comes to heart rate and calories burned, don’t trust the machine.
These are just a few of hundreds of myths centered on the gym that can in fact be more harmful than good. Do your own research, ask the professionals, and question even them, as many of them have been taken in by the same myths. The most important thing you can do is to get active, and stay active, everything else will grow from that.