7 Fitness Tips You Should Ignore

No pain, no gain? No way!

You’ve heard them time and time again: fitness tips that guarantee you’ll meet your goals if you follow them. But the truth is, some of these fitness tips can hurt more than help. Here are seven fitness myths and mis-truths you’d do best to ignore:

1. No pain, no gain. It’s true ... what you put into your workout has a direct effect on the results you’ll see. However, this doesn’t mean workouts should be painful. If something hurts during exercise, I suggest the following:

  • Try another move that targets the same muscle group to see if the feeling persists.
  • Adjust your form to see if improper execution may be the culprit.
  • Give it a rest and join back in when you’re ready.

Muscle soreness can be expected after a tough workout and should persist for a day or two afterward. Try not to confuse soreness or the discomfort you feel while fatiguing your muscles during your workouts with pain. If you have an injury, it’s often best to modify activities that contribute to the pain or hold off on working out until you receive medical advice. “Working through the pain” will actually make things worse in the long run.

2. Never exercise a sore muscle. Muscle soreness is a sign that your muscles are changing! You should feel sore for a day or two after your workout. If you feel that your stability or ability to maintain proper form will be affected by the soreness then by all means, wait another day. However, if your soreness is not too severe, working out may actually help to relieve it by warming the muscles and stimulating blood flow. A few good activity choices for when your muscles are sore include light cardio, stretching, yoga and light resistance training if you lifted super-heavy weights the day before.

3. Lifting weights makes women look bulky. This couldn’t be further from the truth. Building big, bulky muscles requires testosterone — and lots of it. Men typically have 20-30 times as much testosterone as women. For women, strength training is key to toning and sculpting muscles, maintaining healthy joints and bones, boosting metabolism, and even improving mood and confidence. So come on, ladies — don’t be afraid to pick up those heavy weights!

4. To lose a belly, crunch your abs. OK, so abdominal exercises do strengthen the core muscles. However, if you carry a layer of fat on top of those muscles, your belly will remain. If you want to lose your belly, continue your ab work while focusing on cardio exercises, strength training moves for your whole body, and, yes, eating properly. With this combination, you’ll be one step closer to unveiling your six-pack.

5. The best time to work out is in the morning. Nope, the best time to work out is whenever it fits into your schedule!

6. The more exercise, the faster the results. Not true. When it comes to working out, an appropriate balance of hard work and rest is the best option. Overusing your body prevents your muscles from growing, resulting in decreased strength, endurance and metabolism (ie: calorie-burn!). In addition, being overly fatigued often leads to sloppy form, which may lead to injury. Listen to your body and rest at least one day a week, or more if you truly need a break.

7. Reduce calorie intake to lose weight. Your body needs enough fuel to function, especially if you’re making it work hard regularly. Eating less is not always the answer to losing weight. If you’re not eating enough, your body may think it’s starving, which causes it to store fat instead of burning calories, so eating too infrequently or not enough can actually sabotage your weight loss efforts. When you t smaller, more frequent meals, your body can metabolize calories more effectively.

Work out with The FIRM instructors on our streaming video site, Gaiam TV!

Thank you for signing up!

Tell us what you think!
If you'd like to comment on this article, become a member of Gaiam Life.
Click here to create your account.