Amongst all the myths and fitness fads, for the average person starting out it can get a little confusing. Everyone has a different opinion and there seems to be 1001 ways to get fit and healthy.
Here's a short list of 10, all about what's real and what isn't.
- Muscle weighs more than fat?
A kilo is a kilo regardless of whether the kilogram is fat or muscle. The difference is that muscle is denser than fat and takes up about 22% less space per kilo in the body.
- You should warm up before exercising?
Warming up helps prepare the muscles for better performance and more likely to avoid injury. A decent warm up should go for at least five minutes utilising the whole body.
- The more you sweat during a workout, the more fat the body is burning?
The amount someone sweats are indicative of the body's ability to maintain its normal body temperature. It can also be influenced by how well hydrated the body is at the time of exercise.
- Every bit of exercise from walking to running to lifting weights helps us reduce the risk of heart disease, diabetes, hypertension, obesity, etc. the list goes on.
No surprise here. Exercise improves quality of life. Do yourself a favour and do it regularly. Ideally lift weights at least twice per week plus cardio exercise for optimal results.
- I've gained 1kg on the scales in the last week, since I'm weight training it must be muscle?
On average with consistent weight training, it takes approximately one month to put on 1 kg of lean muscle for males. For females it ranges between 0.5 - 0.75kg per month. The amount can vary mainly depending on genetics, nutrition, volume and quality of exercise.
- The longer your workout is the better result you get?
The most important factor is the quality of your exercise. Quality beats quantity every time!
- Running is bad for your knees?
Running like most other exercises is beneficial in particular to building muscular and cardiovascular endurance. Running is actually the best form of cardio exercise that burns the most calories per hour!
The problem lies with people that have poor running technique or don't build up their running ability correctly over time. Leg strengthening exercises are recommended to build up the muscles in the legs that support the knees.
- Skipping sleep can cause weight gain?
Studies have shown that those who sleep less than 6 hours per night are more likely to gain weight. The main reason for this is the hormonal changes. For example, sleep deprivation increases the production of the hormone Ghrelin, which triggers hunger and increases appetite.
- Everyone should drink 8 glasses of water every day.
This is a big one. Firstly, everyone has different size glasses, so how big is 1 glass? Secondly, everyone is a different size. A 60kg person can't fit as much water in their body as a 120kg person can.
Solution = divide your bodyweight by 30.
(E.g., 90kg person / 30 = 3 litres of water.)
The catch is that our bodies also absorb water from foods and other drinks (e.g., coffee, tea, juice, etc). =In particular, fruits and vegetables are high in water. (e.g., Cucumbers are 95% water, strawberries are 92% water.)
So, I'd say you need to be drinking at LEAST half (50%) of the suggested amount daily in plain water, plus a healthy nutritious food intake to be reaching your optimal hydration levels.
(e.g., 90kg person = 3 litres water x 50% = 1.5 litres.)
Note: the above calculations are for an average (minimal activity) day. You should aim to drink an extra 500mL of water per hour of moderate - intense exercise.
- Can having a cheat meal help you lose fat?
A cheat meal (not cheat day or cheat week) can boost your metabolism by tricking your body into thinking your calorie intake is plentiful and therefore it's okay to burn through fat stores.
Why is this? When your body senses a regular calorie deficit, leptin levels drop (leptin is a hormone which decreases appetite). This prompts your metabolism to slow down and conserve energy, which is counter-productive to burning fat and losing weight.
I hope this brief insight proved to be helpful to you. If you're ever curious about trying a new exercise or nutrition program that you've heard "does wonders for celebrities", please consult your trainer or a health professional first.
*Disclaimer: Individual results vary based on agreed goals. Click here for details.