If you exercise, you need to be taking supplements and if you do a lot of crunches, you will have a six-pack in no time. Have you ever heard either of these? They may have been posted online or said by someone who looks fit. However, these statements are myths and are many times supported as facts by businesses who are trying to sell something specific. Therefore, in this week’s piece, I will be speaking on some myths and presenting research that shows the truth.
- “Doing a bunch of sit-ups will give you a flat stomach” – This myth is believed by many people but is unfortunately not true. When an individual performs a sit-up, they are activating their abdominal muscles and making them stronger. However, creating stronger abdominal muscles will not directly burn the fat tissue covering the abdominal region. An article by Rush University confirms this along with explaining ways to develop a flat stomach through a healthy lifestyle.
- “Aerobic training is more important than strength training” – Many people would initially believe this because aerobic training is associated with the heart. Furthermore, people consider that the heart is the most important part of the body. However, as a previous post, “Continued Strength Training”, described that strength training is just as important as aerobic training. Ideally, both should be a part of a healthy weekly exercise routine. Specifically, ACSM recommends 150-300 minutes of moderate to vigorous activity per week. They also recommend doing resistance training for each major muscle group at least 2 days of the week.
- “If you exercise, you need to be taking supplements” – For the general public who are pursuing general health, they do not to be taking any supplements. Instead, they should follow a balanced diet and avoid processed food. However, it is important to consider altering a diet to fit the exercise routine. To do so and to receive further information, it would be recommended to contact a registered dietician, such as Amanda Boyer.
- “You can permanently eradicate fat cells” – This is also one that we all wish was true but unfortunately, it is not. When you are young, you grow fat cells in number; however, in adulthood, humans keep the number of fat cells but can alter their size. Therefore, it is possible to become lean through reducing the size of your fat cells. Nevertheless, the fat cells grown as a child will remain. This was confirmed by the National Institute of Health. Additionally, the NIH offered some hope by stating that “about 10% of fat cells die and are replaced each year…[this] may offer the possibility of blocking fat cell regeneration as a treatment for obesity”.
- “Stretch before you exercise” – This was something that was believed to be true in the past; however, research has found this to be a myth. The best way to start an exercise session is through dynamic movements which use the same muscles as the ones that will be used in the exercise session. However, it is recommended to perform static stretching right after an exercise session. According to Boston University, doing static stretching before exercising will actually impede performance and not significantly prevent injury. On the other hand, dynamic stretching will help warm the muscles and prepare them for more strenuous movement.
Identifying and navigating these mythical statements in the news or social media can be very difficult. However, all the trainers at Urban Fitness Studio have a fitness-based University degree and are certified personal trainers. Therefore, you are free to consult them about things you may read, and they will either help you with their input or direct you to a reliable source.
Barlow, Rich. “Stretch Before Exercise? Not So Fast. | BU Today | Boston University.” BU Today, Boston University, 9 Feb. 2015, www.bu.edu/today/2015/stretch-before-exercise-not-so-fast/.
Contie, Vickie. “Fat Cell Numbers in Teen Years Linger for a Lifetime.” National Institutes of Health, U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, 12 May 2008, www.nih.gov/news-events/nih- research-matters/fat-cell-numbers-teen-years-linger-lifetime.
“Is There Really ‘One Trick’ to Losing Belly Fat?” Rush, Rush University Medical Center, www.rush.edu/health-wellness/discover-health/losing-belly-fat.
“Top 10 Things to Know About the Second Edition of the Physical Activity Guidelines for Americans. ”Health.gov, Office of Disease Prevention and Health Promotion, health.gov/paguidelines/second-edition/10things/.