Are you spending hours a week, crushing it at the gym, but not seeing any results? Then chances are you’ve become a victim to common gym myths and are following inaccurate advice. Given all the research available out there, that’s not hard to believe.
Additionally, new research is overturning long-held beliefs on the best ways to work out, making things even more complicated and confusing. But just because you read something, doesn’t necessarily mean it’s accurate. Below are 5 common gym myths, debunked, so you can change the way you’re working out and start achieving your fitness goals.
Gym Myth #1: Isolating muscle groups is the best way to workout
Truth: Unless you’re a body builder, isolating muscle groups isn’t considered functional. Isolating muscle groups are good for hypertrophy, which in laymen’s terms is growing your muscles. If you’re looking to tone, this isn’t what you want to focus your time on since it’s the least efficient way to workout. Instead, focus on high-intensity interval training (HIIT) or full body workouts. A full-body workout allows you to train every major muscle in your body, such as your chest, back, arms, legs, and abs during each workout.
This type of workout, also referred to as compound movements, engages many of these muscle groups in one movement, such as squats, deadlifts, lunges, Burgess, overhead presses, and planks. Not only do compound movements require more energy and burn more calories, they also improve your overall body strength over time.
Gym Myth #2: Spot reduction will make you toned
Truth: It’s time to kill this myth once and for all. For those not familiar, spot reduction is the attempt to remove subcutaneous body fat stores from specific areas of the body by performing exercises that target those areas.
An example of this would be working out your abs four hours a day trying to obtain a six pack. No matter how much you work your stomach, if you’re not following a nutritious diet, you’re never going to achieve this goal. Fat and muscle are two separate entities, so you’re building muscle under the fat but not getting rid of the fat. A proper diet, coupled with proper ab workouts, will help you achieve this goal.
Gym Myth #3: The more time you spend at the gym, the better
Truth: A lot of people have the mindset that the longer you spend at the gym, the better results you achieve. This isn’t true. In fact, you can get the same results in half the time. It’s not about how much time you spend at the gym, it’s about the intensity of your workout.
Doing short, HIIT workouts for 30 minutes a day is more effective than walking on the treadmill for an hour and incorporating shorter HIIT workouts into your schedule makes you more likely to stick to your gym routine. This is great news for people who are pressed for time!
Gym Myth #4: Lifting weights will bulk you up
Truth: For this truth, we’re focusing on women. So, ladies, listen up: Lifting weights will not bulk you up. When you lift weights, your muscles are getting stronger and denser, not necessarily bigger. By lifting weights, you’re burning the fat on top of your muscles, helping you achieve the toned look you’re aiming for.
This, of course, is coupled with a nutritious diet as mentioned earlier. Another reason women do not bulk is because they lack the proper testosterone. Men bulk up much easier than women because of this.
Gym Myth #5: Doing higher reps with lighter weight alone will help you tone
Truth: Just because you’re doing more reps with a lighter weight doesn’t mean you’re going to get toned. Your muscle has the same tone, whether you’re in shape or not or if there’s fat covering it or not. The appearance of your muscles depends on the amount of fat covering them. So again, it all goes back to eating a proper diet. A proper diet, in conjunction with lifting weights, will help you appear more toned.
For more fitness related advice, be sure to visit the Optimal Fitness blog.