Debunking common fitness myths: Part III

The Debunking Fitness myths: Part III series wraps up today with a look at five more common misconceptions about working out.
1. It’s OK to train abdominal muscles every day.
Your abdominal muscles are as stated – muscles. Like other muscles, they too need time to recover so it’s not Ok to work them out every day. Easy ab workouts are OK to perform multiple days in a row, but if you are working out intensely – multiple sets and reps for 10 minutes or more – then allow a day for recovery in between.
2. To lose weight, do hours of cardio and reduce caloriesThat statement is often repeated, but not entirely correct. You could actually harm yourself by burning the candle at both ends. By cutting calories too much, if it’s below your BMR (Basal Metabolic Rate), your metabolism can slow down and force your body to want to store fat. If you’re just doing cardio, you will not be building muscle, which burns more calories than fat.
3. If you lift free weights, you’ll bulk up too much.That is simply not true. While strength and resistance training helps you maintain your lean muscle mass, and add some muscle, building substantial amounts of bulk is very difficult.
Unless you’re a bodybuilder following a program designed to increase your muscle mass, odds are you won’t bulk up too much. And even if you are adding muscle, if you are doing proper stretches along the way you should be fine.
4. To benefit from cardio, you have to do it for a long time.Many people say that you have to get on a treadmill or elliptical machine for a half hour to an hour to get good cardio results. That’s simply not true. You can get a good cardio workout in in as little as 15 minutes if you do interval training or go at a high rate. It’s actually better to train hard for a shorter period of time than to slog along at a slow, easy pace.
5. You need to drink a sports drink when exercising to stay hydrated.This is not true unless you are doing vigorous exercise for an extended amount of time, such as running a half-marathon or marathon. You don’t need electrolytes and carbohydrates found in sports drinks unless you’re doing extreme training or competition. Otherwise water is just fine.
No the facts and improve your knowledge by knowing the truth about the common exercise myths debunked in this three-part series.

At Home Fitness consultant Aaron Dorksen’s blog deals with a variety of fitness topics, ranging from workout tips, motivational ideas and feature stories on how exercise impacts people’s lives. E-mail him with comments, questions or ideas for future blogs at

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