We put them to the test and you'll never guess the real truth...
We’re all pretty familiar with the phrase, ‘no pain, no gain’, and it seems to be a pretty well established fact that sit-ups will give you a flat stomach. But are these exercise myths really true?
We did some research, and this is what we found out…
1. No pain, no gain
Probably the most famous of our exercise myths – we’ve all chanted this internally at least once during that last 6 minute stretch on the treadmill.
Pain is your body’s way of telling you something’s wrong, so if exercise hurts, stop! Some minor muscle soreness is to be expected at first, but you must stop if it actually hurts.
2. Your muscles will turn to fat if you stop exercising
Fat and muscle are two different types of tissue and one can’t convert into the other. Muscles can decrease in size while, at the same time, you put on fat tissue, but these are two separate processes.
3. You burn more fat by exercising longer at a lower intensity
Not really. You do burn a higher percentage of fat as fuel when you’re only moderately exerting yourself, but it’s the total number of calories used that matters and over a given time period, this will be higher with more intensive exercise. Exercising at a lower pace may mean you can go on longer though.
4. Sit-ups give you a flat stomach
On their own, sit-ups are not enough to give you a flat stomach. You need to lose weight through fat-burning exercises like running or aerobics. The sit-ups will tone the muscle but only healthy eating and exercise will give you the stomach you want.
5. You don’t start burning fat until 20 minutes into exercising
This changes with each individual but all exercise is fat-burning so ultimately well worth it. As you get fitter, your body will get better at burning fat.
6. Lifting weights will bulk you out
Lifting weights will make you more lean and flexible, and also fight off osteoporosis. Women don’t have enough testosterone in their bodies to look like muscle men. So one less of the exercise myths that we have to worry about – phew!
7. You can’t be fit and fat
The size of someone’s body doesn’t dictate their physical fitness. Just as there are skinnies who are in poor shape, there are overweight people who are active and fit. Any exercise will benefit the body, so being overweight’s not an excuse to not exercise.
8. Running is bad for the knees
Most running fanatics can enjoy their hobby without any bad effect on their knees. The important rule is to always look out for any minor injury, as running on it could damage it. Like any sport, you have to listen to your body and watch out for any aches and pains.
9. Don’t eat before a workout
If you don’t have fuel in your body, you won’t be able to work out properly. A heavy meal straight beforehand might make you feel sick or lethargic, but it’s best to have a health snack such as fruit, yoghurt or wholemeal toast an hour to 90 minutes before you start exercising.
10. Yoga is a gentle exercise, perfect for the unfit
Yoga is still very demanding and strenuous when done correctly and far from gentle. It should only be done with a properly qualified instructor who will ensure your workout is safe and effective.