When it comes to working out for the first time in a gym, it seems that there are more questions and half-truths than there are clear, definitive facts.
The exercise industry is a multi-billion dollar industry in the United States alone. Part of the earnings of this enormous empire is selling DVDs, gadgets, and items with incredible claims to people desperate to lose weight and look attractive.
Meanwhile, the simple truth of good workout plans and healthy, balanced diets are relegated to the background. All of these result in a lot of misinformation about working out and exercise in general.
While circumstances may be different for everyone, some of these myths might cause more harm than good. Read on as we take some of these commonly held exercise myths and find out the truth behind them.
No pain, no gain
There is nothing wrong with pushing yourself beyond your limits and trying to extend your endurance when you exercise. It is not recommended, however, that all your workouts should leave you feeling horrible, beat-up, and sore the next morning.
It is natural to experience some discomfort when working out, but pain is something that shouldn’t be normal. The idea that exercise should hurt is wrong.
Muscle soreness is unavoidable, especially for beginners. The myth that an exercise is only worthwhile if you experience pain has long been debunked by physical therapists, doctors, and researchers of all kinds. Still, the idea persists and people still relate being hurt with the idea of pushing themselves harder.
Keep your body guessing
Hitting a plateau in your workout progress is all too familiar to people that go to gym. A common way people try and combat this is by mixing up every single workout, no matter if they are related to one another or not.
Mixing up your workouts is flawed because you are missing out on the fundamental principle of training: progressive overload. In more specific terms, progressive overload means systematically increasing the stress placed on your body when doing exercises. Each workout builds on the previous one which allows you to get stronger, faster, and fitter.
An optimal way to fix a plateau is to craft an exercise plan. Focus on lifting heavier weights, running a bit faster, and moving to advanced programs each week. Planning your workout beforehand also saves you time in deciding what you are going to do that day.
Stretch before working out
This particular myth has been the cause of a lot of debates. Those that are with and against stretching before working out has staunch supporters on both sides. Ultimately, the confusion comes down to the fact that many confuse stretching with warming up.
It is very important to distinguish one from the other. Warming up before doing strenuous exercise is needed in order to prevent injury, but stretching specifically has been proven to have little benefit at best.
There are institutions that have said that stretching does not prevent injuries. People have often made the mistake of confusing stretching with warm up before. It is ideal that instead of stretching, you warm up properly before you begin a workout. Nevertheless, stretching won’t do any harm to your body so stretching after warmups could still be a part of your workout routine.
The workout myths mentioned above just barely scratch the surface. There are a lot of other commonly held misconceptions that are at best questionable, if not completely wrong.
Routines, myths, or workouts that may work for others may not have the same effect on your body. Some may prefer working out first thing in the morning or some would prefer working out at night after work.
Before you begin doing any exercise, always consult the advice of doctors and other experts. Make sure you look into claims made by others and double-check if they are indeed real.