It’s sad, but true: the world of fitness and exercise is full of misinformation. Some of the biggest fitness myths that you have encountered might even be keeping you from achieving your fitness and weight loss goals, particularly when it comes to building muscle.
The biggest fitness myths often circulate widely on social media platforms. However, even when people have discussions in person, they might end up in disagreements about how to lose weight and build strength correctly and safely.
We are here to debunk some of the biggest fitness myths so you can have a better idea of what to believe, as well as what to avoid doing, when you are trying to improve your health through physical activity.
What Are Some of the Biggest Fitness Myths?
There are a lot of fitness myths out there, according to Forbes. However, here are some of the worst ones that we have encountered. Learn the truth so that you can be better informed, and so you can inform others as well.
1. Muscle Weighs More Than Fat, which Explains Your Weight Gain
A lot of people that exercise extra hard after they eat too many calories will claim that they gained weight because they built muscle that is heavier than fat. Fat does take up more space in your body than muscle tissue that is compact. So, you might be heavier, while at the same time smaller, if you have burned fat and built up your muscles. But, if your goal is to slim down, and you realize the number on the scale is going up, this doesn’t always mean that you are going in the right direction.
Have you already been shedding pounds? If so, and you are exercising on a regular basis, you might start to see a change in your body composition. You might find yourself hitting a plateau, or your weight might fluctuate unexpectedly. But, if you managed to keep on course, and you still gained weight, it’s likely that you gained water weight, not muscle weight, in that period. And, if this occurs a few weeks in a row, you will probably want to re-evaluate your calorie intake and tracking.
2. Exercising Will Transform Fat into Muscle
Do you think that fat will turn into muscle if you exercise? Think again, as this is yet another one of the biggest fitness myths to be aware of. Fat and muscle are two totally different body tissues, so one can’t turn into the other.
The truth is that you can certainly use exercising and dieting to burn more fat, while also building up your muscles. This works because the body releases fat stores within fat cells utilized for energy, thereby reducing body fat cell size. On the other hand, when you exercise your muscles, micro tears will form in the tissue, and muscle cells work on repairing those tears, creating myofibrils, which are protein strands. Those protein strands build up over time, causing the muscles to increase in size.
3. Slow and Steady Cardio is the Key to Losing Fat
This is another one of the biggest fitness myths. If you only rely on burning calories to get rid of fat, you are disregarding the importance of dieting and eating right every day. You can exercise as much as you’d like, but if you are eating too many calories, you will still find it difficult to shed pounds and hit your target weight. The goal should be to burn more calories than you consume, regardless of what exercise routine you prefer.
Sure, cardio can burn plenty of calories, but certain cardio routines are better than others. So, it’s about combining the best cardio exercises with the best diet when you want to get rid of excess fat. Also, keep in mind that you don’t need to exercise for long stretches of time either. Instead, you can try high-intensity interval training, also known as HIIT, to burn plenty of calories efficiently.
Here’s an example to show you what we mean: if you go through 60 minutes of vigorous cardio, you might burn around 600 calories. A low-intensity session might burn just 200 calories. But, if you alternate between high and low intensities (this would be a HIIT routine), you can burn around 600 calories in roughly half the amount of time.
4. Each Pound of Muscle Will Burn 50 Calories Every Day
Last on our list of the biggest fitness myths is the idea that every pound of muscle will burn 50 calories daily. You might have even heard that building muscle helps increase metabolism. While it is true that muscle will burn more calories every day when compared to fat, it isn’t as big of a difference than you may imagine.
Let’s clear this up, shall we? When you’re sedentary, if your body has bigger muscles, you will end up burning through more calories in a day than you would if your body had more fat. But, will this really make a difference when it comes to weight loss and fitness goals? Well, it really depends on your resting metabolic rate, or your RMR. And, what contributes to your RMR? Your organ function, rather than your muscles. So, regardless of how strong your muscles are, you’ll still need to pay attention to calorie intake if you want to shed excess weight.
But, wait, why do people who are athletic have higher metabolic rates? Well, they work out vigorously on a consistent basis, and they spend a lot more time being active too. Also, because they are lean, their bodies need to use more calories to sustain themselves.
So, how many calories does 1 pound of muscle burn daily? Is it really 50 calories? No, it’s probably closer to around 6 calories daily. Compare this to 1 pound of fat, which burns roughly 2 calories per day. See what we mean? The difference isn’t that big at all.
Don’t Fall for the Biggest Fitness Myths Anymore!
Now that we’ve cleared the air on some of the biggest fitness myths, you can make smarter choices when it comes to your weight loss strategy and workout routine.