You know, there's a lot of mumbo- jumbo health advice out there that's easy to write off — don't eat carbs, but eat ALL the bacon you want! But somewhere between the crackpot ideas and sound advice, there's also stuff that sounds pretty believable. To help you wade through the murk, we've deflated three popular fitness myths.
- No pain, no gain. This catchphrase was born sometime in the '80s, probably around the time aerobics instructors began chanting, "Feel the burn — doesn't it feel so good?!" Uh, no. Pain isn't pretty, people! It's your body's way of saying, "Hey can we stop for a minute or pick up where we left off tomorrow?" And while a little soreness after a workout is OK, pay attention to your body. Overdoing it means you could be out for days — even weeks. If you hurt during a workout, make sure you're doing the exercise correctly, take a break, or call it a day.
- A six-pack is only 100 sit-ups away. The downside: fat doesn't turn into muscle, so doing crunches 'til you're red in the face won't get you a flat belly. The upside: cardio does wonders for the midsection. To make belly fat melt away, do high-intensity cardio workouts like spinning or interval training. But, hey, don't stop with the crunches; strong abs are part of a strong core, which is exponentially beneficial. And when that jiggle in the middle is gone, a toned, tight tummy will be waiting for you.
- The more sweat, the better the workout. Sweating is pretty synonymous with working out, but it isn't necessarily a measure of how effective your workout is. Yes, sweating is the body's way of cooling off (and we can all attest to getting a little overheated during our workouts), but some people just sweat more than others. If you want a good indicator of your workout, measure your heart rate and calories burned.