Whether you’re just beginning your fitness journey or have been MYXing it up for a while, you may assume you know a thing or two about working out. After all, there’s a ton of info floating around online in the fitness ecosphere. Plus, you’ve got your workout BFF who keeps you “informed” with tips like … “if you want to see results, you have to work out every day.”
BZZZZZZZ. [That’s the wrong-answer buzzer you hear.] In fact, recovery days are just as important as your training days … but more on that below.
Some fitness myths manage to cling to life no matter how often they’re debunked. Others, honestly, become outdated due to evolving fitness science and new research studies (more on that below, too). To set the record straight, here are 10 fitness misconceptions our MYX coaches want to clear up once and for all.
MYTH: Your weight is the primary indicator of your health.
Fact: “Weight can fluctuate daily, and it measures your body size, not necessarily your health,” says MYX coach Garner. Heart rate, blood pressure, cholesterol levels are equally important numbers to know. “Sleep quality and your energy levels are also important to consider. How strong you feel and whether your workouts are getting easier are some additional indicators of fitness and health. So don’t obsess over the scale. And if your workouts are getting easier, it’s time to bump up the intensity.”
MYTH: Cardio is the best way to burn fat and lose weight.
Fact: “Results happen through a combination of cardio, strength training, and a healthful, well-balanced diet. Cardio burns calories, but weight training builds metabolism-revving, performance-driving muscle,” Garner says. And muscle tissue burns more calories than fat tissue does. “Strength workouts can also increase your caloric burn, even at rest, for up to 72 hours after you leave the gym, according to research published in the European Journal of Applied Physiology.
“Most people don’t include enough strength training into their routine. I suggest aiming for two to three times per week,” says Garner. And keep in mind, you can’t outrun (or out-lift) a crummy diet.
MYTH: I have to work out every day to see results.
Fact: Whatever your workout goals, recovery days are just as important as your training days. “Recovery days ensure you won’t burn out, and also gives your muscles time to repair themselves.” We often forget that our body gets stronger as it adapts to the stress of exercise, which happens during periods of rest. According to Garner, “One to two recovery days per week are important, and can even include an easy walk, ride, foam roll, or some stretching.”
MYTH: You should static stretch before you exercise.
Fact: The most efficient time to do static stretching—where you’re standing, sitting, or lying still and holding a stretch for a period of time— is after you exercise, says Coach Shaun. “Post-workout, your muscles are warmed up, which will reduce the likelihood of injury. Before a workout, try a dynamic warmup that mimics the movement patterns you’ll be doing during your workout to best prepare your muscles before exercise.” For instance, “cycle at a light resistance or easy cadence before a hard ride to get the muscles firing. A light jog or brisk walk, perhaps with some lunges or leg swings, would be great to do before a run.
MYTH: The best time to work out is first thing in the morning.
Fact: Early morning is great … if you’re a morning person. “In fact, the best time to work out is whatever time allows you to exercise most consistently, since ideally, you’ll want to make physical fitness a regular habit,” says Shaun. A morning run ensures you won’t need to worry about fitting it in later in the day. “But if you prefer an evening session, do that instead.” And here’s an example of evolving science: The prevailing wisdom used to be that exercising too close to bedtime could cause disrupted sleep for those with sleep issues. New research however shows that moderate-intensity exercise within 60 to 90 minutes of bedtime probably won’t affect your sleep quality.
MYTH: Sweating means you’re burning fat.
Fact: “Sweating is the body's natural way of regulating body temperature. It does this by releasing water and salt, which evaporates to help cool you down,” says Shaun. “Sweating itself doesn't burn a measurable amount of calories, but sweating out enough liquid will cause you to lose water weight—not fat. Plus, it’s only temporary” (and probably means you should rehydrate).
MYTH: Workouts need to be an hour to be effective
Fact: There’s no one “right amount of time” to work out. The length of your workouts may depend on your fitness goals: do you want to boost your cardiovascular health or build muscle? Are you new to working out or have you been training for a while? Plus, we’ve all got busy schedules — which is likely why 60 percent of completed MYX workouts are 20 minutes or less.
The truth is, it’s more about consistency and efficiency than the number of minutes you log. “You can get an amazing workout in just 10 minutes,” says MYX Coach Dyan. “HIIT (High Intensity Interval Training) workouts are a great way to raise your heart rate and create an ‘after burn’ effect that will have you burning calories up to 24 hours later.
“I know—this takes away the excuse, ‘I don't have enough time.’ But now you know you can do your body good in whatever time you have.”
MYTH: Weight training turns fat into muscle
Fact: “This one really gets me riled up no matter how many times I've heard it—and I’ve heard it a lot.” says Dyan. “You cannot turn fat into muscle. Physiologically, muscle and fat are two different types of tissues, and you can’t magically turn one into the other. What really happens is that weight training builds up the muscle tissue in and around fat tissue. And while training in certain heart-rate zones does use fat as fuel (think MYX Zone 1 and 2), the best way to reduce fat tissue is to build muscle to burn extra calories and eat a healthy diet.”
MYTH: Lifting heavy weights will make you bulky
Fact: Physiologically, testosterone production affects how much muscle you can grow, and women generally don't produce as much as men. So there’s no way training heavy will turn you into The Hulk. Also, building muscle takes years of consistent dedication and effort, which most people don't come close to doing.
“This one makes me crazy.” says Coach Christina. “Being able to lift something extremely heavy off of the ground is not only bad-a**, it’s empowering. Plus, lifting heavy can actually help slim you down: Women who lift heavier for less repetitions actually burn more calories than those who lift lighter for more reps. An added bonus: lifting adds shape (and lift!) in all the right places.”
MYTH: No pain, no gain
Fact: “Being uncomfortable because you are putting in that extra hustle is fantastic, but if you start to feel any pain, that’s a red flag to stop what you’re doing and, if needed, consult a doctor,” Christina says...
“Work smart today, so you can do it all again tomorrow.”