There are some fairly common fitness myths that are often regarded as truths and if you believe them, it might be having a negative impact on your workout routine. We’re here to set the record straight! We talked to some of the city’s top fitness experts to uncover the most common fitness myths, learn the truth and, hopefully, help rectify the wrongs to maximize our workouts. Read on to be enlightened.
Myth: There is a one-size-fits-all approach to working out.
Truth: Find what works for YOU as an individual!
“It’s important to find what works for you as an individual,” shares Nikki Manscill of Sumits Yoga. Her recommendations are to stretch, watch your portion sizes and listen to your body. “With me, everything comes back to balances and finding what I can commit to as an individual,” she offers.
Sarah Moats of Pure Barre supports the notion of finding a plan that fits you. “Do not over commit and don’t be unrealistic,” she advises. “If you have a substantial fitness goal and a busy life, you need to make your weekly workout time commitment realistic and set a longer time frame to achieve your goals. Find a way to keep your workouts consistent so that you can stick to them. And if you have a bigger goal in mind, know that it is going to take months —or even years — rather than weeks. If you are a person who needs mini goals to keep you on track, break down your bigger goal into steps.”
Myth: You have to be flexible to do yoga.
Truth: Yoga helps you become flexible.
Susannah Herring of Hot Yoga Plus Nashville & Franklin says that a lack of flexibly is exactly the reason you should be in a yoga class. “Imagine how much worse things will be in 10, 20 or 30 years,” she says, cautioning those who believe the myth. “Start a regular yoga practice now so that you can become flexible, which in turn will help you become better at all the other things you love to do like biking, golf, tennis, skiing, etc.”
Myth: Slow miles are junk miles.
Truth: Slow miles are beneficial.
“When training for something specific, most runs should be done at an easy, conversational pace,” shares Hunter Hall of Fleet Feet Nashville, who happens to be our go-to guy for running tips. “Harder workouts should be scheduled no more than two or three times a week, while other runs during the week should be used to recover by running easy. The leading cause of injury and burnout is running your recovery days in the dreaded ‘medium zone,’ where you aren’t quite running fast enough to gain any significant benefit while also running just too hard to properly recover from hard workouts. This easy run pace should be about 1:30 to 1:45 minutes slower than your goal marathon pace, or 2:15 to 2:30 minutes slower than your goal 5K pace.”
Myth: You have to run to lose weight.
Truth: Weight work is just as important as cardio.
If you hate running, you can rejoice. Anissa Pollard of Marathon Pilates isn’t the biggest fan of incorporating traditional cardio into her routine, either, but she makes a point of adding a few rounds throughout the week. She prefers lifting weights, as it leans her out and offers cardio. Pure Barre‘s Sarah Moats agrees. “Mixing weight work and resistance exercise in with your cardio helps boost results,” she shares. “Research shows that incorporating weights and bands into your workout routine promotes overall body metabolism, meaning that more calories are being burned all the time. So make sure that you are not only focusing on cardio training when it comes to weight-loss goals.”
Myth: You can outwork a bad diet.
Truth: You can’t negate bad food choices in the gym.
“‘Eat a pizza? Just spend an hour on the treadmill and you’ve undone the damage.’ If only it was that easy,” says Laura Lee Gilliland of Iron Tribe Nashville. “Working out is very important — we need to build lean muscle to aid in burning fat and we need cardiovascular conditioning to strengthen our heart and lungs — but about 80 percent of what we see in the mirror is determined by what you’re eating. If you’ve heard the phrase ‘abs are made in the kitchen,’ this isn’t a myth.”
Myth: Hydration is the only fuel you need for a workout.
Truth: You need to fuel with food before a workout and refuel with food after a workout.
“Food is fuel! Not eating before a workout is like driving your car on empty,” says Fury Grundy of Orangetheory Fitness with conviction. “You must properly fuel your body to fuel your workout. Even if it’s only a piece of fruit, this can make or break your success! Don’t forget: It is just as important to refuel after your workout. You just burned through all your fuel during the workout. Meaning, you need to replenish so your body can heal and be stronger. You are looking for lean protein and complex carbs within 30 minutes to one hour of your workout.”
Myth: Workout classes are for women.
Truth: Workout classes are for everyone.
“Come check out a class at Hot Yoga Plus and you willl see otherwise! We have many, many men in our class, so you won’t be alone,” says Susannah Herring of Hot Yoga Plus Nashville & Franklin. “And in many cases, muscle-bound men need yoga more than women!”
Myth: To get faster, you have to run harder.
Truth: The best way to get fast is through consistency.
“One workout is not going to make or break a training cycle but an entire season, year or years of consistent, controlled workouts will lead to significant gains in fitness,” says Hunter Hall of Fleet Feet Nashville. “Hard workouts that leave you doubled over and exhausted can mean greater recovery periods after such workouts and can lead to injury and burnout. You should always finish a speed workout feeling like you could do one or two more reps if you needed to. If you find yourself losing your running form and straining to hit your prescribed pace, relax your body and stay loose while concentrating on running fast, not hard. If you watch the top runners in the world, like Asbel Kiprop or Mo Farah, they look extremely relaxed while running at unbelievable speeds, even in the last 200 meters of a race.”
Myth: Hydration starts today.
Truth: Hydration starts yesterday.
While we all know the benefits of being properly hydrated, it bears repeating, especially when talking about exercise. “We must keep our bodies hydrated to keep them in proper working order! You need to hydrate before, during and after exercise,” says Fury Grundy of Orangetheory Fitness. “If you can keep your body in a constant state of hydration, it will work for you!”
During hot summer days, adjust how much water you consume. Typically, you need to start drinking water up to four hours before your workout and every 15 minutes during your workout. But don’t stop there — after your workout, drink up because you need to replace what you just lost! “If you are thirsty, you aren’t hydrated,” Fury reminds us. “We should be consuming at least two liters of water a day.”
Myth: The less you eat, the more weight you will lose.
Truth: The right diet helps with weight loss.
Marathon Pilates‘ Anissa Pollard suggests eating five protein-packed meals a day. Sarah Moats of Pure Barre echoes this advice. “While one might think that less calories (going) in equals more weight lost, this isn’t necessarily the case. If you skip meals and start over-restricting your diet your body will start hanging onto fat and your metabolism will slow, which is counter-productive in achieving your weight-loss goals,” she shares.
There you have it — sensible solutions to squelch the counter-productive myths. Enjoy your workouts and the fresh benefits you’ll reap!
StyleBlueprint is a great resource for local workout spots and healthy restaurants. Visit the SB Guide or download the SB App to start exploring our favorite local businesses that specialize in health and fitness.