Looking to start an exercise regime? Here are seven common misconceptions about exercise that are doing you more harm than good

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Fitness maintenance and exercise routines are increasingly gaining prominence, mostly because of the large numbers of people that want to lose weight and stay in shape for a myriad of reasons. Regardless of whether you have a desire to shed those annoying pounds, improve your moods, or tone your body, chances are high that you have changed certain elements of your fitness regime.

The unfortunate story is that there are many misconceptions that exist, and due to them, you may not be in a place to meet all your fitness goals – they may really create more harmful effects than benefits. They are numerous, and you may have believed at least one of them at some point in your life. The most common ones include:


You only require to work out once or twice a week for optimum fitness


If you want sustainable benefits to your health, once or twice weekly sessions are not going to cut it. In fact, if you want your workouts to generate real results, you need to aim for sessions of three to five times a week. They do not need to be very long either; even ten minutes of a workout can be effective when done almost every day.

According to a 2017 study from the American Heart Association journal, they found out that the optimum fitness results for healthy hearts was when the participants had exercise sessions of between four to five times weekly.




The best time to work out is in the morning


This is among the most common statements regarding exercise, forcing many people to wake up at 4 or 5 a.m. and go out for a morning jog. The truth is very different however, and the time you exercise does not really matter, at the end of the day.

If you want to stay consistent with your fitness routine, then it does not matter what time you choose to do it – just stay consistent. If late night gym sessions are your thing, you can go ahead, if a morning jog is your style, then you can do that.

Keep in mind though that morning workouts are popular for a reason – they promote faster weight loss because they prepare the body to burn greater amounts of fat throughout the day.

Fat can turn into muscle through lifting weights


Actual fact: you cannot change fat into muscle. In fact, this cannot be done even on a physiological level – muscle and fat are two tissues that are very distinct from each other.

Fatty tissue (or adipose fat) is located between your muscles, under your skin, as well as internal organs such as your kidneys and heart. Muscle tissue however, is located throughout your body, even though it is of different types.

What weight training does is to build and enhance all the muscle tissue that as around any fat tissue. There are several ways to reduce the fat tissue in your body, with the main one being consumption of a healthy diet that has high amounts of vegetables, as well as lean protein, healthy fats (like fish, coconut oil and olive oil), and whole grains.

You can lose fat from specific body parts


This statement is part of what feeds the ‘I need to lose fat from __ part of my body.’ When you think about it critically though, this is not achievable.

In fact, for you to lose fat in one area of your body, you need to lose fat overall – this is because fat cells are not located in a specific area, they are distributed all over your body.

Some activities that help in the process include strength training, as well as HIIT (High Intensity Interval Training). In the case of a HIIT session, the body requires higher rates of oxygen intake, making it work harder and burn more calories in the process. For strength training, the body will end up creating more lean muscle, which helps it to burn more fat during resting periods.


A lot of cardio is the best way to lose weight.

If you have a goal of losing weight, then breaking up a sweat by logging in unending distances on your treadmill alone is probably not the best way to go about it. To some extent, cardio does help with making the body have deficits in calories on a daily basis, and this can help in shedding those pounds.

However, for the long-term, it is better to consider strength training because lean muscle proves to burn more fat and calories even when at rest – that means you are burning calories passively and adding to calorie deficits. The best way to shed pounds is therefore a combination of strength training, as well as cardio. In addition, never forget the importance of healthy eating.


Lack of muscle soreness means your workout was not effective

Sometimes, especially when your body is still getting used to intense workout sessions, muscle soreness is a by-product of exercise. However, this is not always the case, and the tiredness of your muscles does not always indicate the effectiveness of your session.

Soreness only means that significant stress was applied to the body tissue. That also implies that it is possible to have an intense workout and not be sore the next day – all due to proper recovery techniques.

These can include drinking plenty of water throughout the day, having a meal within an hour after your exercise session, as well as getting enough hours of sleep. These strategies can reduce the soreness of the muscles and speed up their recovery after intense sessions.



Give your 100% in every workout

The truth? Sometimes. As much as it is good to stay focused during every workout session, you cannot have 100% intensity in every workout – you are not a machine, you are a human.

If all you have after workouts is muscle soreness, then it may mean you are pushing your body too hard, therefore limiting your chances of recovery. Limit the intensity to two or three times a week, and you will be fine.

Final thoughts

Regardless of whether you are new to exercise or have done it for some time, it is easy to fall into the thoughts of believing certain statements, only to have them do more harm to your body. It is important that you take care of your health, but do so in a way that is both sustainable and log-lasting to get the best results.

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