Be Well

Are these fitness myths holding you back?

I’m as guilty as anyone when it comes to relying on mythical information I heard 10 or 20 years ago. relying on ‘someone once told me…’, or ‘I read somewhere that…’. Obviously not good enough, especially when it comes to our health and fitness.

So let’s dive into 10 of the most prevalent myths that continue to perplex (and annoy!) fitness professionals worldwide and some of the latest science and research that blows old ideas out of the water.

Myth #1: Stretching Before Your Workout is Essential

A 2018 study in the Scandinavian Journal of Medicine & Science in Sports found that static stretching before exercise didn’t reduce injuries and might even hinder performance.

So, what should you do instead? A dynamic warm-up that incorporates light cardio and movements mimicking your workout is a better way to get your body ready. Save static stretches for after your workout when your muscles are warm and loose.

Myth #2: Running Wrecks Your Knees

This is a big one! Many people avoid running because they fear knee problems. But research actually suggests the opposite. A 2013 review in the British Journal of Sports Medicine concluded that running doesn’t increase your risk of osteoarthritis and may even protect your knees. Proper form and gradually increasing your mileage are key to avoiding overuse injuries.

Myth #3: You Can’t Target Fat Loss in Specific Areas (Spot Reduction)

One of the most enduring myths is the belief in spot reduction — we all wish we could target stubborn belly fat or love handles with exercise alone, but unfortunately, spot reduction isn’t a thing. This myth leads people to believe that endless crunches will magically melt belly fat or that tricep exercises will banish underarm flab.

In reality, fat loss occurs uniformly across the body in response to a caloric deficit. Where you lose weight is determined by genetics. However, strength training can help you tone and sculpt your muscles, which can give you a more defined physique.

Myth #4: More Exercise Means Better Results — Always

In the pursuit of fitness goals, the mantra “more is better” can backfire. Quality trumps quantity in exercise, and overtraining can lead to burnout and injury.

The experts emphasise how important it is to listen to your body and incorporate rest days into your routine to prevent burnout and promote long-term sustainability.


Myth #5: Cardio Reigns Supreme for Weight Loss

Cardiovascular exercise undoubtedly torches calories and improves heart health, but it’s not the only path to weight loss. Strength training plays a pivotal role, boosting metabolism and promoting lean muscle mass. A well-rounded fitness regimen that includes both cardio and strength training is key to achieving sustainable weight management and overall fitness.


Myth #6: Women Should Avoid Strength Training to Avoid Bulk

A pervasive myth among women is that lifting weights will make us bulky. In reality, strength training enhances muscle tone and boosts metabolism without causing excessive muscle mass, especially in women due to hormonal differences. It’s a crucial component for overall strength and, importantly, bone density.

Myth #7: You Can Out-Exercise a Bad Diet

No amount of exercise can compensate for a poor diet. Nutrition is fundamental for fitness goals, whether aiming for weight loss, muscle gain, or improved health. A balanced diet provides the fuel needed for workouts and supports recovery. Exercise and diet complement each other synergistically for optimal results.

Myth #8: Sweat Equals Calories Burned

While sweating profusely during a workout makes you feel you’re working satisfyingly hard, it’s not an accurate gauge of calorie burn. Sweating is your body’s way of regulating temperature, influenced by genetics, environment, and fitness level. Measures like heart rate monitoring provide a more reliable assessment tool.

Myth #9: No pain, no gain!

A fitness activity should not hurt while you are doing it, and if it does, then either you are doing it incorrectly, or you already have an injury. As for “working through the pain,” experts advise against it.  If it hurts, stop, rest, and see if the pain goes away. If it doesn’t go away, or if it begins again or increases after you start an activity, see a doctor.

Myth #10: The best time to exercise is early in the morning.

There is some research that says early morning workouts  zap abdominal fat and improve blood pressure for women, whilst afternoon and evening exercise amplified the benefits of strength training. For men, it’s the reverse, evening exercise led to greater fat burning and better blood pressure control.

In the end, the best time is the time that fits into your schedule on a consistent basis. Some people love to jump-start their day with a morning workout, while others swear that physical activity at the end of the work day is a great way to boost energy for the evening and eliminate stress. Choose times that works for you, consistently.

Our expert team of Physios and PTs at Be Well know all about myths, which is why each Member has a very personalised program at Be Well. So focus on enjoying all the movement, recovery, community and support. as you add decades to your healthspan, and years to your lifespan.

Looking forward to seeing you again at Be Well soon.

Be Well is the first-of-its- kind urban health, wellness and lifestyle club in Melbourne, Australia.  Informed by the science of longevity, Be Well nurtures the relationship you have with yourself and others, to optimise your lifestyle, and live your longest, best life.