If you've been putting in your share of time at the gym but still aren't getting the results you want, it might be that you're caught up in some common fitness myths. To clear up the confusion and to help make the most of your workout, we brought in Carol Espel, an exercise physiologist at Equinox Fitness here in New York.
Below are some of the most commonly believed exercise myths:
1. Aerobic workouts help you lose weight by boosting metabolism
There is a bit of truth here. As you exercise, generally your metabolism speeds up. After you finish, it takes a while for your internal machinery to slow down, so you get a little after effect. However, that is not the end of it. You need to add muscle to boost your body's metabolism and that means lifting weights or some kind of strength training. If you boost your body's metabolism because you have added muscle, you will burn more calories than working out, picking up your kids, and doing housework. If you only do aerobic exercise you will not get this benefit.
2. Crunches flatten your stomach
Crunches will tone the muscles in your belly but they will not get rid of the fat that sits over the muscles. The only way to shed fat is to expend more fuel than you swallow, which forces your body to burn fat held deep in storage. So while crunches will shape the muscles, burning calories is just as important in getting that tummy slimmer.
3. Slow, steady workouts are the best way to burn fat
Exercising at a slower pace for half an hour may burn the same amount of FAT calories as someone who is exercising harder for the same half an hour, but that is not the bottom line. The bottom line is how many OVERALL calories you burn.
You burn more calories at a quicker pace. For instance it is not necessarily better to run six slow miles as opposed to four and half miles at a fast pace. Unless you are obese, or if you are just starting a program, it is best to speed things up a bit.
4. Weight lifting will give you big bulky muscles
Weight lifting actually makes you leaner and the end result is a smaller you. That's because a pound of muscle takes up less space than a pound of fat. Fat is giggly and bulky while muscle is tight and trim. Even if you gain weight from weight lifting, chances are your dress size will drop and you will look better. Remember muscular persons burn more calories than flabby persons. The only way you will get big bulky muscles is if you are training to do so.
5. If you stop weight lifting your muscles will turn to fat
If you don't use your muscles you will lose your muscle tone but it will not turn to fat. If you stop your strength training, your muscle fibers will begin to shrink and that means fewer calories burned at rest, therefore, you need to eat less to avoid weight gain. The fitness experts agree though, try to maintain your strength training for a lifetime.
6. Walking is not as good exercise as running
Not true. It depends on what yougoals are, if heavy weight loss is your goal, then for most people nothing beats running. But for toning, staying in shape and even weight loss, walking is excellent. Also people stay with walking programs longer than running programs.
7. You can eat a lot more when you are exercising regularly
People generally burn an average of 300 calories per exercise session. That is not very much. If your goal is weight loss more than to burn as many calories, so eating more calories is a bad idea. Contrary to popular belief, exercise does not make people hungrier.
Bottom line, you need to do aerobic exercise and strength training. You will see better results in a shorter amount of time.
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