What you are getting into: an eight minute read that will hopefully change your views and help you overcome these myths!
1) No Pain, No Gain
This 1900s philosophy has been phased out like crocs; it's still around, but shouldn't be. Soreness is expected from workout out. If you have read any of my other material, you know I'll dive into the science. Have no fear, here is more science. When we exercise, we burn ATP (energy) and thus there is a greater amount of H+ in our muscles. This, in a shorten version, activates Alpha-Delta and C fibers; they are our pain signals. Delayed Onset Muscle Soreness (DOMS) comes from muscle damage and inflammation and follows the same path as before.
But, that's not what we are talking about!
"There is a difference between hurt and pain"- Every High School Football Coach.
If it hurts, it is sore. If it is painful, there is a deeper physiological problem that needs to be addressed. Ice and NSAIDS are a bandaid, they simply cover the problem, not solve it. If a movement causes true pain, get it looked at by a professional.
2) Rest Days are for the Weak
Seven days a week, 52 weeks a year, all day every day. Alright meathead, calm down. Rest, nutrition, and exercise all play a role in your results. Too much of any of the three are harmful.
Too much rest= lazy
Too much nutrition= obesity
Too much exercise= injury, burnout, slower progression.
Exercising too much will produce a slower progression. Seems counterintuitive, but give it a chance. If we exercise every day, our muscles never get a chance to repair fully. If you never took your car into the mechanic, it would break down. If you never took a day off work, you'd reach your breaking point. During exercise, we cause micro-tears to our muscle fibers. When our fibers repair, they repair bigger than before to be able to accommodate a greater load. Rest is necessary to allow our muscles to repair.
Picture this: work out with 90% of your muscles or 100 percent. Which workout do you think will be better?
3) Women Who "Lift Big" Will Look Like the Hulk
"I don't want to lift heavy because I don't want to get bulky" This is a common phrase among new female lifters. I am just a male, so speculating here... the thought is that bulky men lift heavy weights, so if a women lifts heavy weights, they will get bulky. It does not work that way.
Men and women are not created equal. Men have a much higher amount of testosterone and this important hormone helps men develop muscle mass. Women have about the same amount of testosterone as a pre-pubescent male. I don't know about you, but I've never seen a 10 year old with muscles big enough he can't touch his own shoulder when it's Suns Out, Guns Out time.
4) A Treadmill is an Indoor Road
I'll be honest, I don't have much experience running. Just not my thing. Lifting weights and academics are though and because of that, I do know that running on a treadmill is not the same as running on the road.
Here's why: When you run on a treadmill, you have to produce enough force to lift your foot off the belt. On the road, you have to propel yourself forward.
Picture this: you can be on a pogo stick, jumping only up and down, on a treadmill and the treadmill will say you traveled a mile. Jump up and down on the road and you will end up in the exact same spot as you started.
5) Doing Crunches will Eliminate My Stomach Fat
Sorry to disappoint, but there is no amount of crunches you can do to get rid of that fat on your stomach. Matter of fact, it is impossible to target fat anywhere. If you ever see a cream or device that will eliminate your fat, don't buy. Those simply dehydrate the area, making it look smaller... until you drink water and rehydrate it.
While losing weight, our body releases fat from fat cells and we use it for energy. We all have spots on our bodies that just don't want to let go of the fat. If you have a "problem area," such as love-handles, that seem to never go away, that is probably your bodies most stubborn spot to release adipose (fat).
Now, I feel the need to address the cousin of this issue. You can tone up, which will make that spot look less "squishy." Toning up is creating more muscle in the given area, thus giving the body some of its natural contour. The only way to lose fat is to be in a caloric deficit.
6) Sweat is the Body Crying Because I'm Out of Shape
Technically, I'm not out of shape... I just look more like a pear than Arnold Schwarzenegger in the 70's.
Sweat does not come because of being out of shape or because that area of the body is working hard. To be honest, I've never seen sweat drop out of my biceps will doing curls in my tank on a sunny day- Suns out, Guns out.
Sweat is your body's way of cooling itself off. The body gets hot, produces sweat, a breeze hits the sweat and cools you off. Additionally, our body will release heat to cool off.
Your body will produce sweat faster the more in-shape you are! This is because your body had adapted and knows that when you start exercising, it will get overheated. It reacts proactively and makes you sweat.
Some people sweat very easily or hardly at all- thank you genetics for throwing a wrench into everything.
7) I'm Not Sweating, I Need to Work Harder
Let's revisit the last sentence of point 6...
"Some people sweat very easily or hardly at all- thank you genetics for throwing a wrench into everything."
Some people just don't sweat very much. Often, we see that guy come in wearing a light gray shirt and leave wearing a dark gray shirt because he sweat through it. I bet he spends more money on deodorant too. It's genetics. Two people can do the exact same workout in the exact same conditions and one could sweat enough to fill the Dead Sea and the other fills a shot glass *cheers*.
8) I Want to Lose Weight, so Low-Fat Foods Only
The only way to lose fat is to be in a caloric deficit. Sounds familiar. Low-Fat/Fat-Free foods are helpful because they have less fat, which is less calories. However, our body likes the taste of fat and sugar, so companies might put more sugar into those foods so it doesn't taste like plastic seasoned in garlic salt.
Take my word on this because I can't find it at the moment, but there was a study in the 70's and the researcher put people through a diet with 5% fat and they lost weight. Today, people are doing the Keto diet and having great results; this contains mostly fats, near 0 carbs. Both diets work because both diets put the body in a caloric deficit.
Your best bet is to reduce portion size, eliminate snacks and sodas. Focus on eating more protein and less sugar.
A Registered Dietician is also a good person to talk to.
9) The "Good Food" Diet
"I can't figure out why I'm not losing weight. Today all I ate was five apples, four bananas, three cups of broccoli, two pounds of fish, and 1 gallon of water."
Yes, those are all good foods, but that is about 2200 calories. For a shorter female (females need less calories than men) this could be too much food. Just because it's healthy, does not means calories don't exist. Like we said before, you must be in a caloric deficit to lose weight.
Side note: 10 snicker bars have the same amount of calories as the diet listed above.
Double side note: make sure to get a full profile of food. 10 snickers will leave you deficient in all things that matter; protein, vitamins, minerals, etc.
10) I'm Going to the Gym. Where My 6-Pack At!?
I'm hoping by now we know we need to be a caloric deficit to lose weight. While the gym does burn calories, if we go home and eat 2 pints of Ben and Jerry's, we will never lose weight.
So for everyone not wanting to lose weight, your body needs protein to properly gain muscle! Everyone should have some check on their diet for longevity.
"Abs are made in the kitchen." We all have abs, it's part of being a human. Those with a high metabolism (genetics) and those who check what they eat will be able to show off their six-pack.