Like many other areas of life, the world of fitness has its fair share of erroneous advice and unfounded axioms. While much of this misinformation probably originated from well-intentioned sources, it can often do more harm than good when followed. If you spot any of the following four fitness tips in the wild, be sure not to follow them.
1. "Work out on an empty stomach, because it burns
The premise behind this misguided piece of fitness advice is that if you work out on an empty stomach, your body will tap into your fat reserves for fuel, thus burning more fat while you exercise. The science behind this is a little fuzzy
2. "Don't lift weights, because they'll bulk up your muscles."
This is a stubbornly persistent myth that often causes women to avoid strength training. The idea is that if you add weight lifting to your workout regimen, you're going to end up looking like the Incredible Hulk. Fortunately, ladies, basic biology contradicts this idea – simply put, women naturally have much lower levels of testosterone than men, making it virtually impossible for them to gain muscle mass in the same manner as their male counterparts. In reality, strength training is a vitally important piece of the fitness puzzle for women, as it preserves healthy muscle mass, promotes better posture, enhances muscular strength and improves bone density. These benefits of strength training become even more important for women as they age, as it can reduce their risk of injury and help prevent the onset of osteoporosis.
3. "No pain, no gain."
As with anything else, there are limits to the validity of this statement. If you're a little sore after yesterday's workout and your muscles need to loosen up for today's cardio session, it's probably okay to push through the initial discomfort just to get things going. The problem comes when you're experiencing a level of pain that's either extremely uncomfortable or downright debilitating, and you know that your body is giving you a legitimate signal that something's wrong. Trying to push through the pain at this point can actually make things worse, as it can exacerbate a potential injury, or prevent your body from fully recovering.
4. "Perform static stretches before your workout to avoid muscle strains."
A growing body of research is turning this popular (yet erroneous) piece of fitness advice on its head, as multiple studies are showing that static stretching before workouts can actually impede your performance. Part of the reason for this is that more often than not, you're stretching cold muscles that probably haven't moved that much at all before your workout session began. This can actually lead to muscle strains and other similar injuries
With so much information available at our fingertips, it's easy to see how certain faulty fitness ideas and advice can seep into the collective consciousness. It's always a good practice to check your sources and research what you're hearing