When it comes to health and fitness, a lot of what’s considered “common knowledge” is actually untrue. Are you wasting time and energy on fitness myths? Find out below:
1. You have to drink 8 glasses of water a day. Hydration is really important. It gives you more energy, better digestion, and increased mental focus. But everyone has different water-intake needs based on physiology and activity level, so there’s no one-size-fits-all solution to determining how much water to drink. Try having a big glass first thing in the morning, then hydrating throughout the day so that your urine is consistently very light yellow. It doesn’t matter how much it takes to get you there.
2. Losing fat = losing weight. Doing personal training in Venice CA, I often hear clients say, “I want to lose ten pounds.” But as people are training, they generally put on muscle, which weighs more than fat. So scales can be misleading, especially for women, who can easily retain 3 to 5 pounds of water fluctuating in a day depending on their menstrual cycle. Your best bet? Stay off the scale, and pay attention to how you look, how you feel, and how your clothes fit. If you can get your body fat percentage measured, this is a much better indication of how well your fitness plan is working.
3. It’s better to sit on an exercise ball while you work. People who sell exercise balls love to say this, but in most cases it’s a myth. While sitting on a ball does engage the body more, it can also easily cause a back injury if your core isn’t strong enough, and it’s very tricky to get the dimensions right for your height, leg length, and desk height. Instead of sitting on a ball, try getting up every 20 minutes or so to walk around or stretch.
4. Never eat after 7pm. This is one of the world’s most persistent fitness myths. People think that when you’re sleeping, your metabolism slows down, and calories from late meals will turn into fat. But this is simply not how the body’s metabolism works. If you’re eating calories from the right nutrients at appropriate portion sizes, nothing will turn into fat, no matter what time you eat it. And though it’s often easier to sleep if you eat lighter at night, a calorie is a calorie no matter when it’s consumed.
5. Crunches and abs classes will give you a six-pack. Everyone has a six-pack — it’s just hiding under a layer of fat. You can crunch until the cows come home, but unless you combine it with healthy eating and a solid workout program that includes cardio and weight training, you won’t have much luck revealing your washboard stomach. And if you’re strength-training properly, you’ll engage your abdominals with almost every exercise. So forget about doing 30 minutes of “abs” work, and focus on getting lean and strong to see your core strength come through.