Want to lose weight? Gain muscle? Not feel like a flabby glob of gelatin when it’s time to get naked? Then don’t listen to any of these seven health, exercise, and fitness myths. Sadly, there is a lot of fiction being tossed around in magazines, websites, and on The Biggest Loser. We’ll help sift the facts from the fluff.
MYTH #1: CARDIO CAN REDUCE BODY FAT
Studies show it’s not the type of activity, but the amount of energy expended that spurns the loss of fat tissue. In other words, you can’t elliptical yourself into a Ryan Reynolds six pack. [Trust us, we’ve tried. —Ed.] Resistance training can aid in increasing muscle mass, which in turn can spike metabolic energy expenditure. In other words, pick up something heavy and you may just burn more energy hanging on the couch than you would if you ran all day.
MYTH #2: ICE BATHS REDUCE MUSCLE SORENESS
Though it has long been taught that an ice bath is a great way to recover from a strenuous exercise, recent studies by the University of Queensland showed that cold water immersion may actually delay one’s recovery. After studying two groups of physically fit men who received either a post-workout ice bath or time on an exercise bike, researchers found that those who powered down on a bike experienced increased muscle mass and strength while the ice recipients did not. Their findings showed that satellite cell activity, which is necessary to the building of muscle, was reduced during ice bathing, delaying the recovery process up to two days. While these results may be due to the reduced blood flow often caused by frigid water, additional studies are needed before a definitive claim is made.
MYTH #3: NO PAIN, NO GAIN
A better phrase is “No effort, no gain” because pain isn’t necessarily a good thing. However, discomfort can be. So how can you tell the difference between the two? Simple: If it feels like a troop of gorillas is tap dancing on your spine, it’s pain. If your muscles are burning on rep 15, it’s discomfort. A general rule: If you’re in pain, stop doing whatever you’re doing immediately. If you’re experiencing discomfort because you muscles are actually working instead of couch surfing, strap one on and be a man, man.
NEXT PAGE: YOU HAVE TO FOLLOW THE “RULES”