The Biggest Gym Myths Busted-the Most Commonly Seen Fitness Falsehoods

by John Esposito
gym complete with equipment and machines
Word of mouth quickly spreads through the grapevine at the gym, which can result in our benefit or our loss. Sometimes we can pick up on some great workout tips we’ve never heard before, then on the other hand we can also pickup some bad habits. Between the advice you get from people you see at the gym, your kids coach, your friends, and your family, it can all be overwhelming. Some of these myths are just harmless myths which may be somewhat based in truth, while others can actually impact your health.

The Top Misconceptions People Have When It Comes to Fitness

Crunches Are a Good Way to Lose Belly Fat

If someone ever gives you this piece of advice, it is safe to say that you can avoid anything else they have to say in regards to weight loss. Some people still actually believe that you can spot remove fat, which is just not the case. Not only are crunches not going to lose that belly fat for you on their own, they are probably going to make you look worse by doing so. All you are doing in this situation is building up more muscle mass underneath that layer of fat, making you look larger in the process. Remember, your body can’t spot remove fat, and crunches aren’t that great when it comes to burning calories to begin with. If you’re doing crunches to remove belly fat, stop doing so period.

The Treadmill Is Less Impactful Than Pavement

set of free weights in the gym dumbbellsFor some reason there is a persistent belief among some gym goers that the treadmill is better on their knees and joints in general as opposed to asphalt. This is the furthest thing from the truth, and can do you harm in the long run. If you have bad knees or are just looking to reduce the impact on your joints in general, running on the treadmill regularly is not a good option. Doing so occasionally is ok, however you don’t want to run on the treadmill every time you work on your cardio. The best solution here is to not avoid using the treadmill altogether, but to vary up your exercise. Give yourself a break and allow your body more time to recover by doing exercises that are less impactful on your joints. Try to include swimming, cycling and other low impact cardiovascular exercise in to your routine for a better balance.

Swimming is Great for Weight Loss

blurry view of gymWhile swimming provides us with many health benefits, unless you are swimming for hours on end a day it is not going to do much in the way of weight loss. This may come as a surprise to many people as they see professional swimmers like Michael Phelps consume upwards of 5,000 calories a day, but we have to remember this is someone who trains for much longer than we do. The fact is that swimming for 30-45 minutes a day isn’t an effective way to lose weight, and it all comes back to the effort exerted and intensity of the exercise. While moving through water is more difficult than moving through air, we have the added benefit of buoyancy to make up that difference. This makes it easier for the body to support your weight, and thus makes swimming less work than say running or jogging.

Yoga is A Back Pain Cure All

While yoga may be an effective way for some people to reduce their back pain, it certainly isn’t a cure all. Yoga is a great way to give our muscles a good stretch, and many of the poses done during yoga are great in reducing back pain caused by tight muscles. If you back pain is the result of a spinal or nerve issue however, yoga may not be a good idea. Not only will yoga not result in any relief for these types of people, but yoga may even aggravate the issue, making things worse.

Using Machines is Safer Than Free Weights

While using machines can be great tools in isolating certain muscle groups without the need for a spotter, using them can still potentially do you harm. Like any other piece of exercise equipment you should be familiar with the machine at first, and not just assume that it automatically puts you in the right position to do the exercise. Making this assumption is very common for people at the gym, which can cause them to make mistakes in both form and function. Doing so not only will not work the intended muscle groups, but can also cause you serious injury.

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