You’ll find tons of information out there on the best ways to exercise and it’s easy to get overwhelmed. The more you search, the more you’ll start to see contradictions. It’s true that every person has a different shape with different exercise goals and something that easily works for one person, could not work at all for another. You can see how it gets confusing. But it’s time these 5 common misconceptions about exercise should be put to rest once and for all.
- Lifting weights will make you bulky.
Weights will tone your muscles and initiate fat burn, but they won’t necessarily bulk you up. Yes, you’ll gain muscle mass with weight training, but that’s true with yoga and pilates, too. Really any resistance training and you’ll gain some muscle. But muscle tissue is lean and you really have to overload your muscles to seriously bulk up. So, go ahead and add some weight because strength training is essential to a balanced exercise plan.
- Cardio is the best way to lose weight.
Of course, cardio is also necessary to a balanced exercise routine but beware of doing too much of it. Without including any weight training, too much cardio will cause you to burn off skeletal muscle mass as well as body fat. You will lose weight but it will be muscle weight, leaving you with high percentages of body fat and overall, an unhealthy body composition. In the fitness world, they call this skinny fat.
- It’s best to exercise in the morning.
Honestly, it really doesn’t matter when you exercise, as long as you’re consistent and give yourself enough time to have a quality workout. Assuming that morning workouts are the only effective option will make it very difficult to keep up the habit if you can’t easily fit them into your schedule. The best time to exercise is whatever time works best for you.
- Exercise on its own will lead to weight loss.
If you’re looking to lose weight, exercising is a great start. But your diet needs to be in check, too. According to experts, weight loss boils down to about 75% diet and 25% exercise. With that said, be wary of fad diets and being overly restrictive with your food. A good rule of thumb is to opt for whole foods and control your portion sizes.
- You only need to drink water after a workout.
Although drinking water is important after you work out, it is also critical that you hydrate before and during as well. Dehydration can lead to a loss of coordination, confusion, muscle cramps, and exhaustion. The American College of Sports Medicine recommends 17-20 ounces a couple of hours before your workout, 8 ounces 20-30 minutes before you start, and 7-10 ounces for every 10-20 minutes of exercise. After you’re done, you should cool down with 8 ounces within 30 minutes. Investing in a reusable water bottle that will aide in your recovery will ensure that you always stay hydrated and balanced in electrolytes.