Debunking the Biggest Fitness Myths for Better Workouts
Exercise What's inside?
January 2, 2018

biggest fitness myths

The exercise world is filled with misinformation, and the biggest fitness myths may be holding you back from reaching your goals.  This is especially true when it comes to understanding muscle.  These circulate over social media and in real life discussions and can even cause arguments among friends.

Fortunately, we have all the details that can help you to clear up the biggest fitness myths.  Be sure to check them out to ensure that you’ll never fall victim to them again.  This can also help you to put a number of debates to a rest because you’ll have the answers you just won’t find on viral memes.

Check Out the Biggest Fitness Myths and the Facts Around Them

Your fact checking is done for you and you’ll never let your workout, muscle building or fat burning suffer from them again.

Myth: Muscle is Heavier Than Fat so if You Gain, That Explains It

Reality: Many people who exercise to compensate for eating too much will say that they’re gaining weight because muscle is heavier than fat.  Fat takes up more space than more compact muscle tissues.  Therefore, you can be heavier yet smaller if you’ve built muscle and burned fat.  However, if you’re trying to lose weight, and you’re gaining instead, this doesn’t necessarily mean that you’re headed in the right direction through muscle building and fat burning.  This is among the biggest fitness myths.

If you’ve already been losing weight, and you’re working out regularly, you may experience a body composition shift. This can cause a plateau or for your weight to seem to fluctuate in unexpected ways.  However, if you have stayed on track and you gain a bit of weight, it is more likely that you’ve gained water weight than muscle during that time. If it happens several weeks in a row, you’ll likely want to have another look at your calorie restrictions, and the accuracy of your tracking.

Myth: Exercising Transforms Fat into Muscle

Reality: Fat and muscle are two completely different types of tissue.  No matter how many times you hear this lesson from among the biggest fitness myths, it will never be true.  One type of tissue won’t simply transform into another type.

It is possible for you to use diet and exercise to burn fat and to build muscle.  That said, those are two different processes.  Your body will have released fat stores within the fat cells to be used as energy, reducing your body fat cell size.  The body has just as many fat cells, but the fatty tissue gets smaller as it doesn’t hold as much in storage.  Muscle building is an entirely different process.

How does the muscle building process work? The answer explains why this is one of the biggest fitness myths.

When muscles undergo repeated intense exercise, it causes micro tears to form in the tissue fibers.  The muscle cells then begin the repair and recovery process.  The organelles within the specialized cells – called satellite cells – enter the trauma site.  They function as a kind of specialized muscle tissue repair team.  They create myofibrils – types of new protein strands – to fuse together the micro tears to the muscle fibers, or they repair existing proteins that have been damaged.  Over time, all the new protein strands begin to build up and they cause the muscles to grow in size.

Myth: Slow, Steady-State Cardio is the Key to Fat Loss

Reality: The more calories you burn, the more you’ll have the opportunity to burn fat.  This is one of the biggest fitness myths because it forgets to take diet into consideration.  After all, if you exercise vigorously but still eat far too many calories in a day, you can still gain body fat.  You’re not burning more than you’re taking in.  This is true regardless of the type of workout you do.

Virtually any type of cardio workout will burn calories, though some will work better than others.  That said, burning body fat is a partnership between your workouts and your diet.  If you stick to the right daily calorie restrictions and keep up great cardio workouts, then you’ll increase your opportunity for fat loss.

For many years, it was believed that the longer you work out, the more calories you’ll burn, more recent research has shown that you can burn calories more efficiently if you use high intensity interval training (HIIT) techniques instead.

Therefore, time, intensity and intervals all play a role in helping you to burn fat assuming you’re consuming the right number of calories that day.

For instance, an hour of vigorous exercise may burn 600 calories, while the same length of workout at a low intensity may burn only 200 calories.  That said, alternating between the two during an appropriate HIIT workout could help you to burn closer to the hourly rate of steady exercise in half that time. The key is to make the most of your time by knowing when you should aim for that top intensity level and when to ease off.

Myth: Every Pound of Muscle Automatically Burns 50 Calories Each Day

Reality: Muscle tissue does burn more daily calories than fat tissue. However, the difference isn’t as big as you might think.  Indeed, even while sedentary, a muscular body will burn more calories in a day than one that is made up of more fatty tissue. That said, the amount is not likely to be enough to make a difference to the amount you can eat or to what you see on the bathroom scale.

The largest contributor to your resting metabolic rate (RMR) is your organ function, not muscle existence. This is true regardless of what you might read in fitness magazines, blogs, or social media posts.  In actuality, a pound of muscle doesn’t burn 50 calories per day.  Instead, it’s closer to 6 calories per day.  A pound of fat burns about 2 calories per day.

Why do athletes have high metabolic rates if this is the case?

The reason is that athletes exercise consistently and vigorously, often for large amounts of time each day.  Moreover, athletes are often quite lean.  This causes their bodies to require more calories in order to be able to keep up with their bodies’ needs.


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