When it comes to exercise, it appears many myths are rolling around about how to get the best workout, and what you should avoid so that you don’t hamper your efforts.
And it’s no wonder, really, with countless publications telling us to do this and that, and professional athletes all sharing their top tips for achieving the perfect bod. But the reality is that most of us aren’t professional athletes, and don’t have the time to sift through endless information to decipher fact from common myth. That’s why we’ve put on our myth busters hats and gotten to the bottom of a few of the most prevalent misconceptions when it comes to exercise.
Myth 1: If you don’t eat before exercising you’ll burn more fat.
You may have heard of the term ‘fasted cardio.’ It’s the act of not eating before a cardio workout so that you can burn more fat when your body’s carbohydrate and insulin levels are low. Unfortunately, this simply does not work for people who aren’t high intensity, fully trained athletes. It may give you a quick boost of fat burning to start with, but this is very fleeting. The key is for you to have a steady workout over the course of say, a month, and keep this up at a regular pace to burn fat. And to do this, you need to eat healthy meals and snacks before each workout.
Myth 2: Holding weights while you walk burns more calories.
Are you a big advocate of holding weights while you walk, a-la Kath from Kath & Kim? Unfortunately, this is proven to have minimal effect in regards to burning more calories, if you’re only wearing light wrist weight or dumbbells. And if you opt for a heavier weight, this can interrupt your natural gait and increase the risk of injury. So it may be best to ditch the dumbbells and focus on your power walk, like Kel on a standard strut through suburbia.
Myth 3: If you aren’t sore after your workout, you didn’t do it properly.
Many crazed personal trainers in blockbuster Hollywood movies like to yell at sweating stars to ‘feel the burn!’ But even though soreness and a decent workout are sometimes connected, you don’t always have to be unable to walk up a flight of steps the next day without crying, to have had an effective training session. If you stay hydrated, stretch properly and get enough sleep post workout, you may wake up feeling spritely the next morning. Likewise, sweating like you’ve just stepped under a waterfall isn’t a surefire indicator that you’re burning tonnes of calories. It could be to do with the weather, or the way your body functions. Every person is different, and some sweat much more than others. It isn’t necessarily directly correlated to how hard you’re exercising.
Myth 4: Drink more water, even if you don’t feel thirsty.
Staying hydrated is important. But it’s also critical not to over-hydrate, as this can result in dangerously low sodium levels. Living in Australia, we’re consistently plagued with the fear of dehydration and are taught from an early age to drink lots of water out on the playing field. But being aware of what your body is telling you, is as good of an indicator as any when it comes to hydration. Drink when you are thirsty, it’s as simple as that. Maybe a tiny bit more if you’re working out in a hot environment. But more often than not, we’re in an air-conditioned gym or at home. Chugging water steadily can result in our bodies being unable to expel as much fluid as we are consuming, and this can lead to hyponatremia. So take it slow, and listen to your body’s needs.
Myth 5: Static stretches before your workout are essential.
Another misconception that’s drilled into us from the moment we join our first sports team! Stretching IS necessary to warm up the muscles before exercise. But the type of stretches we undertake can dramatically change the way our bodies prepare for action. You want to ditch those static stretches pre-workout and go for something more dynamic like a lunge with a twist, or a high kick. This preps your body for movement and allows you to attain a more intense workout. Static stretches such as arm, shoulder and hamstring stretches are more effective when conducted post workout when your muscles are already warm.
Want to get more out of your workout? Hire exercise equipment for your home to maximise time and save money on a gym membership. You can rent treadmills, exercise bikes, cross trainers and rowing machines short or long term with Macrae Rentals and First Choice Rentals. Contact us today to inquire about our range of home gym equipment.