4 Exercise Myths That Are Killing Your Long-Term Success
Updated: Oct 26, 2019
There is certainly no shortage of myths in the fitness industry. You’ve undoubtedly heard all kinds of crazy things from friends, co-workers, family members, and probably even the tabloids at the grocery store. Heck, you probably don’t even know what to believe anymore.
One of our main goals at Complete Fitness and Performance is to crush the misinformation that runs rampant in the industry and here are 4 myths that we think you need to know the truth about:
Myth #1 - Exercise has to be intense to be effective.
There’s no doubt that high intensity training is one of the biggest trends in fitness over the last 5 years, and for good reason. It can be an incredible tool in helping people push themselves and get leaner in a short amount of training time, however, like any tool it can’t be used for every single job. Or in this case, for every single goal.
Like any other great advent, people tend to fall into the trap of thinking that more is always better. High intensity training presents a lot of stress on the nervous system and needs to be used intermittently, instead of all the time which will eventually lead to burn out.
You know what happens when someone feels exhausted all the time? They stop working out. Which ends up being completely counterproductive to their goals.
So, what should you do instead? Adjust the intensity of your workouts every week so you can stay consistent, because consistency trumps intensity. Performing most of your workouts in the 75%-85% effort range with the occasional 60% or 95% day will go a long way in ensuring that you can “live to train another day.”
Myth #2 – Soreness is the best indicator of a good workout.
As humans, we love rewards. They make us feel like the work we put in was good and therefore we deserve a special outcome. This is the type of thinking that leads many to believe that post-workout soreness is a good thing and that it signifies they had an effective workout. The problem is, your level of soreness has nothing to do with how effective your workout was and chasing that pain will only lead you astray.
The soreness you feel after a workout is actually called DOMS (delayed onset muscle soreness) and is simply a response from the muscles that you created a stimulus greater than they have experienced previously and incurred muscular damage. That’s why when you first start lifting weights you tend to experience more soreness in your first month and then over time it seems to lessen after a workout. Your body becomes more efficient at recovering or adapting until you make a significant change in your program again which starts the cycle over again.
Your body’s ability to recover more quickly is a good thing because you can train more often and ultimately maintain a higher level of consistency! If you’re always trying to chase soreness, you are likely changing your workouts too much and leaving valuable progress on the table. Not to mention, it’s hard moving through life if you’re too sore to do anything.
Myth #3 – Lifting heavy weights will make you bulky, but lifting light weights will get you toned.
This one has been around forever, and at first seems really plausible. If you lift something heavy it only makes sense that your muscle will grow, whereas if you lift something lighter many times you can almost imagine that muscle will get firmer or denser.
Well, I’m sorry to say that’s not the way it works. Actually, the main determinant of whether your training program will tone you up or make you bulky actually has more to do with what you put in your mouth! That’s right, your nutrition is the key component to increasing or decreasing your size, because without the right amount of calories the pounds of weight you lift or the number of repetitions in your workout won’t make much of a difference.
It should be noted, however, that training at lower repetitions (1-5) with very heavy weights will increase strength while moderate repetitions (8-12) with moderate weight will increase muscle size.
Myth #4 – Cardio burns more calories and is better than lifting weights for fat loss.
While cardio may burn more calories than lifting weights in the same amount of time, that actually makes it better for weight loss, not fat loss. That may sound like a trivial difference, but I’m pretty sure that you’re not interested in losing muscle which is exactly what will happen if you only do cardiovascular exercise.
Have you ever watched the summer Olympics and seen the difference between the bodies of the sprinters and the marathon runners? The sprinters tend to have a very athletic and lean body whereas the marathoners also appear relatively lean, but without much muscle mass. This is because their primary mode of exercise is different. Sprinters lift weights and practice explosive movements while marathoners focusing on practicing long runs.
Lifting weights regularly will not only burn calories, but also create a reason for your body to build or at least maintain its muscle mass while dieting down. Cardio, on the other hand, will only burn calories and it can burn muscle for energy. This is mainly your body simply trying to increase its efficiency.
So, if your goal is to lose fat and achieve that “toned” or “athletic” look, then your best bet is to incorporate strength training and cardio into your program for the best results. This can be done by doing each activity on different days or doing both in each workout.
If you feel like you still need a little more direction or help getting started reaching your fitness goals, we'd be happy to help. Click here to meet with a coach in person and find out how we can help you be successful.