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Don't Fall For These Workout Myths

The world of fitness is big and filled with conflicting information. While science advances and companies profit from the health craze, it's important to know the facts. Learn the truth behind these popular myths for a better and healthier workout routine.

It doesn't matter if you're new to the fitness scene or if you've been here a while, we all fall prey to commonly-believed myths. Some started with good intentions while others are simple marketing ploys. The more you know about fitness, the better choices you'll make for your own body in how to exercise. So let's look at the most popular myths and break the illusion!

Myth One: Toning

You'll hear the term used in commercials, from doctors to diet pill bottles but the truth is this - there's no such thing as toning.

Targeting a single body part for fat loss doesn't work. It sounds like it would, right? You have excess fat around your belly so you do ab and torso exercises to get rid of it. But studies like this one by the Physical Activity Sciences Department from Los Lagos University show working out eliminates calories and burns fat from all over your body.

Think of it this way - you can't pick where you store fat when you eat. You can't put that chocolate bar towards your butt (no matter how nice that would be). The same is true about losing weight. You can't target which fat reserves you're burning from when you work out.

While toning has been disproved numerous times, it's still widely believed. That's because people are more assured they won't bulk up for working out when told to "tone your arms". It's a clever way to get people to add weights to their workout routine without images of bulging muscles. But that, itself, is a myth.

Myth Two: Weight Lifting Bulks You Up

While "bulking up" isn't a real medical term, it's usually what people call the bodybuilder look. I blame the old cartoons of strong men lifting barbells. The truth is, lifting weights builds muscle but you'will never to look like a bodybuilder unless you're trying to.

Muscle weighs more than fat because it's denser. There's no reason to expect putting on muscle would add inches to you. In fact, people can thin out without losing as much weight because of the replaced muscle. Lifting weights creates small tears in the muscle your body heals and that makes the muscle stronger. This is why you're sore and why you hear so much about consuming protein on lift days. Also, the activity increases your metabolism and burns fat so you're more likely to thin out instead of bulk out.

Bodybuilders eat a strict diet to supply extra calories to "grow" muscles. They actively work to maintain muscle mass. Unless it's your goal, you don't need to worry about bulking up.

Don't let the lies behind toning and bulking up keep you from getting a great fat burning workout.

Myth Three: Cardio Is Best For Weight Loss

Running may be the easiest workout you can do but it's not the best if you're trying to burn fat. 

Cardio will help you burn calories but your body will replace them the next time you eat. Running burns off the short-term energy you get from food, not stored fat. If you feel starved after a run - this is why. To lose weight while running, you need to cut your calories as well so your body burns fat as another source of energy. On the other hand, lifting weights improves your metabolism and fat burning. 

Not to say running won't get you anything. Cardio definitely counts as your daily exercise and has all the health benefits attached, along with others (like joint, heart and mental health). If you're looking to slim down, however, a combination of cardio and strength training is key.

Myth Four: Pain Means It's Working

The "pain" in the phrase "no pain, no gain" isn't really pain as much as soreness. Delayed onset muscle soreness (DOMS) is caused by those tears in the muscle I talked about earlier and signifies a hard workout you'll most likely strengthen from. However, not all pain is equal. 

DOMS starts around 12 hours after the workout, peaks at 24 to 48 hours and begins to disappear after 3 days. As you work out, you'll experience less effect of DOMS. It'll still appear when you introduce a new workout and work different muscles but it's not a medal of hard work. Feeling sore doesn't mean your workout was good, just hard. Other factors affect this too - your warm-up and stretches, diet and how long you've done the routine. You can even fight it with recovery supplements. Not being sore doesn't mean the workout was bad. 

If you can't repeat the routine three days later, you've overworked your body and are doing too much. If you're in actual pain when exercising, you shouldn't be working out. That risks serious injury. Recovery days are a legitimate part of the routine and you won't lose gym cred for taking them. So remember - it's not the pain, it's the work.

Myth Five: You Need Electrolytes and Minerals When You Work Out

The idea behind replacing electrolytes started with high intensity training that lasts longer than an hour. This was popular for professional athletes but was quickly adopted by marathon runners and other endurance trainers. For them, this is a totally legitimate concern and good practice.

If you're just hitting the gym to lose weight or getting your 40 minutes a day, it's not necessary. Sports drinks could carry a lot of calories that may set you back if you're trying to slim down. Sticking to water is more than okay for the average gym-goer. 

Myth Six: "I Can't"

Whether you believe you're too old, too busy or too depressed, the choice to workout is there for you to make. You don't need equipment or special clothing for an effective workout and you don't need to start when you're twenty. It's never too late. eVitamins understands how hard it is to start a workout routine. It's even harder to keep. But we have some advice.

If you're too busy but it's something you really want to do, schedule it in like you would grocery shopping. Changing the way you think about a workout is the first step to starting whether you get a gym membership and just use the spa or you start lifting small weights while you watch TV. Make it part of your weekly routine and give yourself time to figure out what works for you.

Depression and mood are a huge challenge for motivation. If you can find a friend that's willing, walk with them outside for fresh air. Finding the right time to workout is important, too. You may find you're more motivated in the morning than you are at the end of the day. Again, give yourself time to figure out what works for you.

Here at eVitamins, we believe in you no matter what your workout goal. We'll be here all year adding to your workout routine, suggesting new tips and providing motivation on our Facebook, Twitter and Instagram pages.  Feel free to reach out and talk to us! We'd love to share in your goals.
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