Don’t waste your time in the gym: 7 fitness myths

Crunches won\'t get you abdominal muscles. Josef Brandenburg discusses this and other common fitness myths. (Thinkstock)

By Josef Brandenburg
WTOP Fitness Contributor

WASHINGTON – If there’s one thing frustrating in the fitness industry, it’s seeing people put a lot of time and effort into their routines only to be disappointment by a lack of results. Don’t be fooled: Here are the seven biggest myths when it comes to exercise and weight loss.

  1. More crunches = greater abdominal definition: Crunches do little or nothing to address the real limiting factor for abdominal definition: having too much fat on your abdominal area. On top of that, crunches are a dangerous exercise. Research shows they lead to spinal disc herniation and neck injuries.

    Interval training, strength training and a good diet are the key to getting abdominal muscles. When it comes to doing targeted abdominal work, try planks and these other exercises.

  2. Running is a beginner’s exercise: You don’t run to get in shape; you get in shape to run. Each mile you run is 1,500 plyometric jumps on a single leg, where you strike the ground with five times your body weight. This means that if a 200-pound man runs 3 miles, he hammers his body with 4.5 million pounds of impact.

    If you’re new to fitness, resistance training is going to be much easier on your body. It will help create the foundation you need if you want to become a runner without hurting yourself.

  3. Soreness is success: Being sore mostly means that what you did was excessive, or that you’re not recovering well from your workouts. The effectiveness of a workout is measured by the results produced. If you want to lose fat, you should be dropping clothing sizes (provided your diet will allow you to lose fat).

    If you want to get stronger, pounds lifted should increase. You might get moderately sore in the process, but that’s not the goal. The goal is the goal.

  4. Each body part needs its own exercise: Training under this mentality costs a lot of time and will not produce superior results. It is actually impossible to isolate just one muscle in a living body. For the best results, do a mixture of resistance and interval training. Now that the weather’s nice, you can do these activities outside.
  5. You can judge a workout by how much you sweat: Sweating is something your body does to cool down. You will sweat more when it’s hot and when it’s humid

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