When it comes to physical activity, myths and half-truths are rampant. We are especially vulnerable to falling for myths when we search for shortcuts or other too-good-to- be-true “secrets” to maximizing our results. However, some of the more pervasive fitness misconceptions may simply be long-held beliefs about the best ways to work out that were accepted truths at one time but were subsequently disproven by new research.
True or False Question 5
– Sit-ups, crunches, and other ab workouts can melt fat around your waistline.
False. Sorry to disappoint, but you can’t “spot-reduce” where you want to. Your body gets to decide where to remove the extra fat, no matter what type of exercise you do. However, doing planks, the Real Abs workouts, or strengthening your abdominal muscles in other ways will tone your midsection, which can make you look leaner and firmer. The real formula for flatter, firmer abs? Your cardio and strength training workouts, when combined with reducing or moderating your calorie intake, will trim your total body fat—including belly fat!—to reveal those new muscles.
True or False Question 6
– Weight training won’t burn as many calories as cardio workouts do.
Both True and False. While weight training won’t burn as many calories during the actual workout as a hardcore aerobics session will, regular strength training will help you add lean muscle mass, which helps you burn more calories 24/7. Plus, weight training (also known as “resistance training”) will help you offset the muscle loss that can occur with straight dieting and aging (generally speaking, muscle mass declines with age, starting in your forties and gaining speed in your fifties). In fact, strength training may be a more effective calorie-burner over the long term because having more lean muscle will increase your body’s metabolic rate even when you’re not working out.
Come back tomorrow for some more true and false questions about exercise.