Most fitness professionals have seen or heard it all. Miracle diets, perfect workouts, promises of flat abs in two minutes a day. Chris Hoover, fitness supervisor at the Jewish Community Center in St. Louis, says he constantly sees people acting on that misinformation.
"I don't know what it is," he says. "They see a big muscle guy come in with his muscle magazine, and he sounds like he knows what he's talking about, so before you know it ... word of mouth, it's on someone's Web site, and suddenly everyone has this (wrong) information."
Jeremy Koerber, lead exercise specialist at BJC WellAware Center, agrees. "You've got this quasi-expert who has worked out for years, and maybe he did something and it worked, but maybe he just has the genetic potential. So these theories tend to get perpetuated."
For whatever reason, it seems there is a lot of misinformation out there about what it takes to get in a good workout. So with the help of Hoover and Koerber, we've devised a list of the top 10 fitness myths.
1. Crunches will burn fat off your abs
"I see a lot people come in here and say they want to lose their stomach," Koerber says. "I say, 'Modify your diet and start working on a treadmill,' and they look at me like I'm crazy. You could have abs like Schwarzenegger, but if you have a layer of body fat over them, you will never see them."
2. There is an easy way to lose weight
Nothing could be further from the truth. Fines have been levied against diet pills that claim to have the quick fix. "There is no magic fix," says Koerber, who teaches a class called "infomercial myths" at BJC WellAware. "It's called work. (That person in that ad) didn't get that body in 20 minutes a day, three days a week. It's just not possible."
3. If you don't have time to get in the government's recommended 30 to 90 minutes a day, you shouldn't bother
The truth is, anything you can do will be beneficial. Studies have shown that even splitting up those 30 minutes into 10-minute segments is good for you.
4. Weightlifting makes women bulky
"That's just not true," Hoover says. "Unless they are using steroids, it's not going to happen."
5. You aren't working hard enough if you aren't dripping in sweat
How much you sweat depends on much more than just how hard you are working. Your body temperature, the clothes you are wearing, genetics and more determine how much you sweat.
6. Workouts should hurt
Though feeling sore a day or two after a new workout can be fairly normal, you should never hurt beyond that. "If the soreness worsens, or if you have it four, five or six days after the workout, something's wrong," Hoover says. 7. If you stop exercising, your muscles will turn to fat
Muscle tissue and fat tissue are completely different, Hoover says. If you stop exercising, your muscle will become smaller and perhaps atrophy. You'll gain weight only if you keep eating the way you were when you were exercising.
8. As you age, you will lose muscle and gain fat
Though there is some truth to this, it's not an absolute. As you age, your metabolism decreases, but resistance training can increase and help you maintain lean muscle mass.
9. Workouts must be intense to burn fat
Actually, the body burns fat as efficiently when you do low- to moderate-intensity workouts. Unfortunately, though, it takes longer to burn calories
10. Stretching isn't important because it won't make you thinner
Most people skip flexibility training because they think it doesn't have a direct impact on their fitness. But if you think about the fact that without proper stretching you could become injured, thus missing many workouts, it's vital, Koerber says.Copyright © 2014, Los Angeles Times