6 Fitness Myths vs. Facts


by Becca Egan, BS, NASM-CPT

When it comes to health and fitness, everyone has something to say. Whether it’s something they have heard, believe, or actively practice, you should make sure you do you research before you take what you read, hear, or see as fact!

See our list of common fitness myths and the truth you should be living by instead!

Myth #1: Crunches / sit ups are the best core exercises and the way to get that “6-pack”

Truth: There are 2 things wrong with this statement. 1) If your only way of working out your core is by doing endless crunches and sit ups, you’re doing yourself a disservice. You need to work all muscles of the core by working in variety of exercise. Start incorporating planks, push-ups, hollow holds, and heavy loaded squats to really work that core (see previous article on non-traditional ab workouts). 2) Core workouts will give you a strong core, but if that’s all you’re doing, you will not get the coveted six pack. You need to incorporate cardio and a healthy diet rich in fruits, vegetables, protein, and whole grains!

Myth #2: Cardio is the way to burn the most calories.

Truth: Yes you can burn a ton of calories by being on the treadmill, stair master, bike, or elliptical for an hour. But once you hop off, the calorie burn stops there. Weight lifting burns calories while you are doing the movement - yes, less calories than cardio - and then continues burning after you are done! How cool is that?! Plus, the more muscle you have, the more calories you burn over all throughout the day doing your normal daily activity. Why? Because muscle is more metabolically active - meaning it burns more calories than fat. So pump that iron and scorch those calories!

Myth #3: Cardio = running, stair master, or spin class - and doing it for at least 45 minutes to an hour

Truth: Running, the stair master, or spin class for that long is GREAT for cardio endurance, but those are not the only ways of getting in your “cardio”. You can satisfy your cardio needs by circuit training, doing HIIT intervals, or other non-traditional cardio movements like jump rope, mountain climbers, burpees, and agility movements like side shuffles, skipping, and board jumps (see previous article on no equipment cardio). As long as you are sweating and your heart is pumping – that’s cardio!

Myth #4: Lifting weights will make women bulky

Truth: I cannot stress enough how incorrect this is. People look at women body builders and think the second they touch a free weight over 5 lbs they are going to bulk up. Women body builders have to work endlessly to get their bodies to look like that. Their goal is to have large defined muscles, so they are hitting the weights every day, for hours, and eating a diet that is designed to give them the most size and definition. Additionally, women are not built to “bulk up” the same or as easy as men do. This is because women naturally have a naturally higher body fat percentage than men. Strength training helps women tone, define, and build lean muscle! 

Myth #5: A gluten free diet is the best for losing weight

Truth: Unless you have celiac disease or a gluten sensitivity or intolerance, there is no need to stay away from gluten. One reason you may have seen people lose weight that are one a gluten free diet is because they are not eating as much refined or processed foods because it has gluten in it. Instead opt for a whole grain option of your favorite breads and pastas.

Myth #6: “I want to get rid of fat from _____  so I’m going to do _______ exercise.” - fat spot burning

Truth: In a perfect world would we be able to sculpt a trimmer waist by doing core twists, get Michelle Obama arms but doing a thousand bicep curls, or get the perfect booty by doing squats and lunges. Don’t get me wrong, you are working those muscles by doing those movements, but you are not going to necessarily lose the inches around your waist, hips, thighs, or arms by just working out that muscle. You need to incorporate cardio and a healthy diet as well as these exercises to get to look you want in that area. Fat is systematically burned from all parts of your body, so balance your body and have your diet, strength training, and cardio all work together to see those results!