“Do sit ups reduce belly fat?” Just recently, I was asked this question. I’ve been thinking about an article like this for a while and was sparked to write about some of the myths in fitness.
Why do so many fitness myths still seem to circulate as fact in our world?
In years past, it was much harder to get information on better fitness and training. We needed to spend time doing research or buy magazines. If we were lucky enough, we might have a friend experienced in fitness that gave us free advice.
Now, we can have all the information we need by jumping on the web and searching quickly. Yet, year after year, people buy products and programs that will provide them no results except a lot of wasted time and less money in their wallets.
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Martial Arts led me to my interest in fitness.
I wanted to get better at my craft, faster, stronger, and have better cardio abilities. This has helped me in my abilities and has also helped me with coaching and training clients. I grew to understand better the WHY behind my actions and how to improve and make more efficient WHAT I was doing.
Many people get into Martial Arts for more than just the Martial Skill aspect, which is just to know how to fight better. From my experience, I find that more people get involved with Martial Arts for the fitness aspect and see it as a long-term goal to get in shape. They want to be a part of a program they’ll enjoy and will stick with.
The ability to better defend themselves and the confidence they get from being in better shape is just a secondary bonus. Between students and clients, I get asked many fitness-related questions about nutrition and getting in shape. In the fitness and exercise world, what you don’t know CAN hurt you! At a minimum, you’ll waste your time and effort with little to no results.
I wanted to point out a few common ones I often come across.
Crunches And Sit Ups Will Give You 6 Pack Abs
Do sit ups reduce belly fat?
Unfortunately, you can do 100s of sit ups and crunches a day and never achieve a flat stomach or the 6 pack abs you are looking for. How you lose fat from your belly is by trimming the fat on your entire body. With sit ups and crunches, you are strengthening your ab muscles. Losing the layer of fat over them is an entirely different process. (see the next myth)
You Can Spot-Reduce Fat
Just like trying to do sit ups to reduce belly fat, you can’t do 100s of tricep curls to trim the fat off your arms. To start losing fat, you need to trigger the metabolic effects necessary to burn fat. Focusing on one muscle group, such as the abs or the triceps will be too isolated. This is not significant enough to create the fat burning and results you desire.
Deep Squats Are Bad For Your Knees
There’s not a lot of evidence available that correlates to linking squats to knee pain. In fact, squatting with knees over toes is a bio-mechanically safe motion to do. When squatting, it is very important to use a proper weight for your ability. This will allow you to perform a full range of motion. I like to get very deep on my squats, It feels much more comfortable to me and my body motion as demonstrated in a Heavy Bag Workout Routine.
The More You Sweat The More Calories You’ve Burned
Sweat is a biological response that regulates internal body temperature by releasing water and salt, which evaporates to help cool you down. Sweating does provide a benefit of healthier skin by allowing oxygen and nutrients to circulate and nourish skin cells. This does not, however, translate to burning more calories.
I love to sweat as much as possible when I work out.
One of the things I enjoy is closing the garage door in the middle of the summer and having a hard workout, and sweating almost literal puddles on the floor. I feel cleansed physically, mentally, and spiritually but I have not burned any more calories or lost any additional fat from sweating.
You Need Electrolytes After Every Workout
We are bombarded daily with TV commercials and ads that tell us we need plenty of electrolytes to replenish our bodies after a workout. The reality is, however, plain old water can get you through most workouts. Most times, the extra sugar in those drinks will impede the fat-burning process. Hindering the results you are most likely looking for.
Electrolyte-fueled sports drinks are more beneficial for long sessions or intense cardio workouts that last an hour or more.
A Fat-Free Diet Is Great For Your Health
Fat is one of the essential macro-nutrients that our bodies require to function. There is not just one type of fat, and there are differences in the fats your body may consume. Avocados, salmon, and many other foods will provide your body with healthy fats that you need to survive.
There are also unhealthy fats that you will get from the fried foods at your local fast food diner. These fats need to be limited if not cut out of your diet completely. Heart disease, cancer, and obesity are just some of the many health concerns from the overconsumption of these fats.
Perhaps good fat vs. bad fat is a newer concept for you.
I know there are many more fitness myths out there.
What other myths have you heard or seen in the gym?