1. Women who do strength training will end up looking masculine
Strength training is good for both men and women, as it strengthens the muscles, the ligaments and the bones. Furthermore, it can help you achieve a higher metabolic rate and lower body fat percentage, because muscles burn more calories.
So strength training is a very good idea if you want to lose weight. Don’t worry about getting big and bulky. It’s actually very difficult for women to gain bulk from normal strength training, because they are simply not built for it and they don’t have as much testosterone as men.
2. Only exercise every second day, so that your body can recover
TRUE AND FALSE!
When you do strength training you break down muscle fibres, which will then rebuild themselves and get stronger. But it is actually when you rest that they recover and get stronger. So, if you train too often, the muscles will not have time to recover and you will end up getting weaker or at least not getting any stronger. Normally it is a good ‘rule‘to make sure you have a day’s rest in between your strength training sessions.
That said, however, you can actually exercise every day if you have the time and energy for it. Just make sure you don’t train the same muscles every day. So if you do strength training of your upper body on Monday, do something else on Tuesday, for example a lower body workout or maybe some cardio like running or walking instead. And remember to give your body a break from time to time also.
3. You cannot lose body fat and gain muscles at the same time
TRUE AND FALSE!
If you want to lose weight you need an energy deficit, which means that your energy intake should be lower than your energy need: you must eat and drink fewer calories than you burn. And if you want to gain muscle mass, you actually need to eat and drink more calories than you burn. So, in general, it is not possible to both lose weight AND build muscle mass at the same time.
Sometimes, however, you will see that a person is able to do both. If a person is overweight and not used to working out and they then start exercising and eating better, they can sometimes achieve both a weight loss and extra muscle mass at the beginning. Or at least the strength training can help them maintain most of their muscle mass, so that they lose mostly fatty tissue.
4. You will get a flat stomach if you do a lot of sit-ups every day
First of all, you cannot spot-train and lose fat from a specific part of your body. Your fat cells are distributed across your body, and it is genetically and gender specific where you deposit your fat. So, if you want to lose fat from your stomach, you need to lower your overall body fat percentage. A combination of cardio and strength training is often the best solution. Focus on your core stability instead of just doing a lot of extra sit-ups.
Diet also plays a very important role if you want to lose body fat. Go for lots of veggies combined with fish, lean meat, nuts, avocados, olive oil, whole grains and lots of water.
5. You need to do a lot of cardio training in order to lose weight
When you do cardio, you burn a lot of calories during your workout. How many you burn depends on the type of cardio, the intensity and the amount of time you spend. But when your workout is done, your metabolism will drop to its normal level again.
When you do strength training, however, you may not burn as many calories during your workout, but you will maintain or build muscle mass, which will keep your metabolism high 24 hours a day. So the more lean muscle mass you have, the higher your metabolism will be – and this will help you lose weight.
Therefore, a combination of both cardio AND strength training will give you the best results. And remember a healthy diet also…
6. You need to stretch before and after exercising
TRUE AND FALSE
Before exercise, it is very important to warm up in order to minimise the risk of injuries. A good warm-up includes both some low intensity cardio training (e.g. walking, cycling, StairMaster, cross trainer, etc.) and some dynamic stretches and swings.
After their workout, a lot of people like to cool down with some stretching as well. This is perfectly fine if you like it and have the time for it. But when it comes to injuries and sore muscles, stretching AFTER working out has not been scientifically proved to make any difference. It will help your flexibility and can be a good way to mentally finish your workout, but if you are busy or you don’t like to finish with a stretch then don’t.
7. Running is better than walking
TRUE AND FALSE!
Well, it depends what the purpose of running or walking is. If it is in order to improve endurance or to become a faster runner, then obviously running will be better than walking. But if you want to lose weight, then walking can be just as effective as running! You burn more or less the same number of calories from a 5 km walk as you do from a 5 km run – the walk just takes a bit longer.
If you are overweight, you should bear in mind that running can be quite tough on the joints in your knees, hip and feet, so walking is often better and safer.
8. If you want to do strength training, you need to join a fitness centre
All the exercises you can do in a fitness centre you can also do at home – or at least you can do an alternative that is just as effective. So, it is more a question about your preference and what motivates you the most.
Try ‘own body weight’ exercises like push-ups, sit-ups, burpees, squats, lunges, planks, etc. You can also use stairs, your coffee table, a bench and so on, and you can use elastic exercise bands, water bottles and such like for extra intensity.