Some fitness rules are made to be broken. According to Shape magazine, certain ubiquitous fitness rules and tips can actually be ineffective and sometimes dangerous, even if we still hear them from fitness trainers.
1. Crunches lead to a six-pack.
Doing hundreds of crunches before bedtime is not only potentially bad for your back; it won’t automatically lead to washboard abs. “Simply doing crunches won’t do the trick,” health writer Sarah Kelsey reported in sheknows.com. To attain tight, toned abs, you need to work out your core from every angle—sides, lower abs, and midsection. Core strength classes, regular cardio workouts, and a low-fat diet are the combined elements you need to achieve abs.
2. Cardio is the queen of weight loss.
“While cardio does allow you to shed the excess weight, it doesn’t train your body to burn fat even while at rest,” explained Nikki Torres of Pretty Darn Fit. “Cardiovascular exercises strengthen the heart, but to constantly burn fat and continuously shed weight, you have to gain muscle. Combining a good balance of both cardio and strength training exercises is an effective way to achieve your fitness goals much faster.”
3. No pain, no gain.
While discomfort is a natural part of exercise and fitness training, pain is not a good indicator of a good or effective workout, CGs! “Although serious training is often difficult and sometimes unpleasant, it shouldn’t actually hurt,” exercise physiologist Brian Sharkey, PhD, wrote in Fitness Illustrated. “In fact, well-prepared athletes sometimes perform in a state of euphoria, free of pain and oblivious to discomfort. Overload is necessary for adaptation, and it sometimes requires you to work at your limit of strength, intensity, or endurance, which certainly can be uncomfortable. But if your exercise results in outright pain, it is probably excessive.”
4. Don’t work out at night before bed.
Many fitness experts will tell you that aggressively working out at night is a bad idea because it will wire up your mind and body for hours and keep you from sleeping well. The Journal of Clinical Sleep Medicine counters this notion. According to their study, exercising right before bedtime has helped many insomniacs sleep better. Our bodies are wired differently. If you find that squeezing in a Yoga sesh or gym workout before you hit the sack helps you snooze better, then go for it!
5. Women shouldn’t do heavy weights.
“Our bodies aren’t made to bulk up as easily as most men do,” said Torres. Contrary to the old school belief, women can lift heavy every day and still not end up looking like bulky male bodybuilders. Even women with naturally athletic body types will need more than lifting heavy weights before transforming into The Hulk. Don’t be afraid to lift. “Lifting weights will help you develop overall strength not just physically but also mentally,” Torres explained. Fitness benefits of lifting include stronger bones, muscles, tendons, and ligaments, and less susceptibility to injury.