Fitness fact or fiction: 3 exercise myths debunked

You’ve been cranking out crunches for years, yet those six-pack abs are nowhere to be found. Sound familiar? Finding the right fitness routine can be tricky when there are so many weight-loss myths  out there. Make the most of your workout by nixing the following fitness theories.

Cardio comes first.

Strenuous exercise depletes the body’s level of glycogen, which is responsible for providing energy during your workout. While most exercisers opt for the cardio machines as soon as they enter the gym, it’s best to save your aerobics until after you have completed resistance training. Weight training with fatigued muscles can jeopardize how well we maintain proper form, which could lead to injuries.

For optimal results, start with core exercises followed by your weight-training circuit, and then 20 to 30 minutes of cardio. Always remember to cool your muscles with a solid stretch session afterward. 

If you’re not sweating, you’re not working hard enough.

Sometimes I sweat after a night of overindulging at dinner. Other times I’ll break a sweat just from stepping outside on a 90-degree day. While sweat is a factor in both situations, it is sad that calorie loss is not.

The bottom line: Perspiration does not dictate how hard you are working. Rather, it is a process the body uses to cool down. Olympic lifting is a great example of an exercise that requires a ton of energy but doesn’t necessarily cause excessive sweating due to the short span in which the lifts are executed. While sweating it out may feel great, it hardly gauges your caloric burn.

Weight machines are safer than free weights.

Weight machines are designed to move with the body’s range of motion. Unfortunately, not all exercisers know how to calibrate the machine so it is properly adjusted to your height and body type. That’s why weight machines can be dangerous when used incorrectly. To prevent injuries and to ensure you are making the most of your workout, don’t be afraid to ask for assistance from a trainer or gym attendant. Or, switch up your workout by incorporating free weights to your circuit. Doing so challenges important fitness factors such as balance, core strength, and stability.

Working out can be hard. Knowing which fitness theories are right and wrong doesn’t have to be.

Ashley B. Greenblatt is a certified personal trainer and wellness coach. To learn more, visit ashleyblakefitness.com.