Social media has made it easy to spread fitness misconceptions to massive groups of people. There is so much information online, but how do we know what part of that information is right or wrong? The fitness community has been growing on platforms such as Instagram and TikTok. There are countless fitness accounts online of people discussing their favourite workouts, the best diets to follow, the exercises you should do and the exercises you should avoid to grow bigger glutes. How do we know what is fact or function?
Countless fitness misconceptions surge online on a day to day basis. These myths seem to be doing more harm than good as they are reaching large audiences. Many of these being beginners who are more likely to believe these fitness misconceptions as they have little to no idea otherwise.
Of course social media isn’t the only space where fitness misconceptions have been suggested, but due to approximately half of the Earth’s population using these platforms you can understand the magnitude of the problem.
There are many fitness myths out there, so I have provided you with 10 of the most common fitness misconceptions talked about on social media. What are you waiting for? Have a read!
1. Abs exercises will get rid of belly fat
Core exercises are important for strengthening the abdominal muscles. Nevertheless, visible six-pack requires a combination of low body fat and well-developed muscles. Fat loss occurs through a combination of factors, including a calorie deficit achieved through a balanced diet and regular cardiovascular exercise. While abdominal exercises can build muscle underneath the fat layer, they do not spot-reduce fat from specific areas. To reduce belly fat, focus on overall body fat reduction by combining healthy eating, aerobic activities, and strength training for comprehensive results
2. Lifting weights makes women bulky
Lifting weights does not make women look bulky because the development of a “bulky” appearance is primarily influenced by factors like genetics, hormones, and specific training regimens. Women typically lack the necessary testosterone levels to gain muscle mass like men. Strength training helps women develop lean muscle and can contribute to a more toned appearance. It’s important to note that a “bulky” appearance usually results from specialized training, higher caloric intake, and specific supplements, not solely from lifting weights as part of a well-rounded fitness routine.
3. Exercising gets rid of cellulite
While exercise has numerous health benefits, managing cellulite might require a multifaceted approach that includes healthy lifestyle choices, professional guidance, and potential treatments beyond exercise alone. Exercising alone may not completely eliminate cellulite. Cellulite is primarily caused by the structure of connective tissue and fat distribution beneath the skin, rather than solely by lack of exercise. Factors such as genetics, hormonal changes, and aging contribute to its development.
4. Muscle turns into fat if you stop working out
Muscle and fat are two distinct tissues that cannot directly convert into one another. Gaining muscle while losing fat involves separate processes. The change in body composition results from alterations in muscle mass and fat storage, rather than a direct transformation of one tissue into another. It’s essential to continue being physically active and maintain a balanced diet to preserve muscle mass and prevent excess fat gain when you’re not exercising regularly
5. Longer workouts are more effective
The effectiveness of a workout depends on its intensity and quality, not just its duration. Shorter, high-intensity workouts can be as effective as longer, moderate-intensity sessions. Effective routines with targeted exercises and brief rest intervals optimize muscle stimulation and calorie burning. Long workouts might lead to diminishing returns, increased risk of injury, and overtraining.
6. Feeling sore means you had an effective workout
Experiencing muscle soreness after a workout, (DOMS), doesn’t necessarily indicate the effectiveness of a workout. While soreness can occur due to microscopic muscle damage from new or intense activities, it doesn’t directly correlate with muscle growth or fitness progress. Relying solely on soreness as a measure might lead to overtraining or neglecting other crucial aspects of a well-rounded fitness routine.
7. Stretching before a workout
While flexibility is important, static stretching before a workout might not prevent injury and can even impair performance. Static stretching, where you hold a stretch for an extended period, can temporarily decrease muscle strength and power, potentially affecting performance during the workout. Dynamic warm-ups and proper technique are more effective for injury prevention. Dynamic warm-ups that include light aerobic activity and dynamic stretches, like leg swings or arm circles, can better prepare muscles and joints for the upcoming workout.
8. Consuming protein immediately after your workout
The myth of consuming protein immediately after a workout is based on the belief that it’s crucial for optimal muscle recovery and growth. However, the timing of protein intake is not as critical as once thought. Research shows that the body’s overall daily protein intake and distribution across meals are more important factors for muscle repair and synthesis
9. Knees over the toes causes knee pain
Knees over the toes is normal. Scientific research has shown that proper knee alignment, along with maintaining balance between the hips, knees, and ankles, is key to preventing knee discomfort. Allowing the knees to move forward can actually help distribute forces more evenly and reduce stress on the knee joint.
10. Chest exercises will grow your breasts
Chest exercises don’t significantly increase breast size in women because breast tissue consists primarily of fat and glandular tissue, which isn’t significantly influenced by muscle development. Breasts are composed mainly of fatty tissue and are influenced by genetics and hormonal factors, particularly estrogen. Exercise can strengthen and tone the pectoral muscles beneath the breasts, however the effects on breast size are generally minimal.