Crunching Down On Fitness Myths

There are certain notions about exercising out there that can be untrue, misleading, or downright dangerous. Here are some fitness myths, debunked:

Spot Reducing.
This does not exist. You cannot do specific exercises in the hope of losing fat from one particular area of the body. Everybody is different when it comes to losing fat. Results depend on genetics, age and gender. Cardio training such as running and cycling will cause you to lose fat from all over the body, not just the legs. Similarly, doing targeted moves like crunches or leg raises will just work the muscles in certain areas, and not melt the fat around them.

Some people aim solely to ‘tone’ when planning their workout routines. But what exactly is toning? To be ‘toned’ means having visibly defined muscles. This comes from resistance training and losing body fat. Many women shy away from weight-training in fear of becoming ‘bulky’. However, they should not be afraid of looking like bulging bodybuilders as women simply don’t have enough testosterone to get these huge muscles. Experts say that to achieve a toned look, you should combine strength training with cardio, and not be afraid to lift a weight or two.

Thigh Gap.
Thanks to Tumblr, Instagram and other social media, we are bombarded with images of girls with a huge space between their thighs. This is something that can be completely impossible for some women to achieve. Thigh gaps have nothing to do with fitness or healthy body weight – it’s all down to bone structure. The gap is only achievable by women with wide-set hips and very low body fat. For narrow-hipped ladies, to strive for a thigh gap can mean pushing yourself to dangerous extremes for something that is literally unattainable. Thigh workout moves can actually build up the inner thigh muscles. That is why hip abductor machines are often listed as ones to avoid in the gym.

Ab exercises for a six pack.
This is partially true, but people tend to focus on ab-workouts if they want to lose those last few belly pounds. However, your abdominal muscles are very tiny, and working them does not burn many calories. You can do hundreds of crunches and sit-ups and build an amazing six-pack, but that’s no good hiding beneath a layer of fat. Concentrate instead on strengthening your core through moves like planking.

Fitness myths are mostly derived from people trying to make their bodies to look a certain way. You should not completely base your goals on aesthetics. Instead, concentrate on being fit and healthy. Don’t compare yourself to others. Focus on being the best version of yourself by eating healthily and exercising with moderation.

By Rachel McLaughlin

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