To Hear Is Not to Believe: Uncovering the Truth About Exercise and Fitness
Thu, September 29, 2022

To Hear Is Not to Believe: Uncovering the Truth About Exercise and Fitness



Wellness is a mainstream trend that helped usher positive changes among people such as opting for healthier meals at major restaurants and interest in self-care, noted Brianna Steinhilder of NBC News Better, a website dedicated to publishing tips on health, wellness, finance, and more.

There are also boutique fitness studios being established in local areas. However, reigniting our interest in health has made us more vulnerable to believing unreliable information about diet and fitness. There is a plethora of information about exercise to the point that we are struggling to differentiate myths from fact. For most people, they believe what they hear.



Survey On The Number of People Believing In Myths About Health and Fitness  

Fit Rated, a platform that reviews fitness equipment, surveyed more than 1,000 participants across the US, revealing that 82% have heard that they should stretch before working out (versus 57% of those who believed in it). 23% believed that carbs are bad for people, while only 75% had heard of it. Likewise, 18% believed that fat is bad for everyone and only 75% had heard of it.

Surprisingly, 45% of respondents said they have heard of celery containing negative calories and only 10% believed it. 43% heard of the statement, “If you don’t feel sore the day after your workout, you did not train hard enough,” with only 12% believing in the said quote. 43% had heard of diet soda being better for individuals than regular soda; however, only 13% believed it.

Americans had tried participating in the following fitness programs: personal training (55%), Zumba (36%), CrossFit (29%), SoulCycle (7%), pure barre (6%), and orangetheory (4%). When it comes to self-perceptions of body confidence per fitness program, CrossFit participants had high body confidence (65%) along with those who take SoulCycle (62%), pure barre (61%), and personal training (60%). Only 58% of Zumba participants showed high levels of body confidence.

31% of CrossFit and personal participants believed in the most health myths Fit Rated quizzed them on. The participants with the least number of health myths they fell for were those in orangetheory (29%), zumba (25%), pure barre (22%), and SoulCycle (22%) programs. Among the programs that demonstrated a high level of self-assessed health knowledge were CrossFit (76%), orangetheory (76%), personal training (71%), pure barre (73%), SoulCycle (68%), and Zumba (69%).

13% of orangetheory participants believed in the statement “Bulking and then cutting is the best way to develop musculature,” along with celery containing negative calories (25%) and diet soda being better than regular soda (19%). 44% of orangetheory participants believed that running on a treadmill puts less stress on one’s knees than running on pavement. Those who are in pure barre programs believed that complex carbs are better (48%), followed by the statements “Your muscle will turn into fat if you stop working out” (26%) and “It’s best to work out every day” (22%).

Zumba participants believed they should stretch before a workout (64%), along with the statements “carbohydrates are bad for you” (26%) and “If you don’t feel sore the day after your workout, you did not train hard enough” (13%). They also believed that it is healthy to lose weight through water loss (8%). Only 5% of CrossFit participants believed in the myth “If you’re planning on going out drinking, you should fast and the calories will even out.”





Should You Stretch Before Working Out?

John Ford, certified exercise physiologist and owner of JKF Fitness & Health, said there is conflicting information about stretching. On one hand, studies have revealed that stretching helps maintain or increase the range of motion through a join. On the other, the science is undecided with regard to injury prevention and improved performance. Some studies have shown improvements, but others have revealed the adverse effects of stretching before a workout.

Ford suggested to keep the pre-workout warm-up but try to include a cardiovascular component to warm your body up and enable blood flow from five to 15 minutes. Warm-ups should result in a light sweat. Then, follow it up with a series of dynamic exercises to stretch the range of motion.


Will Lifting Weights Bulk Me Up?

When you think of weightlifting, you think of large, muscular men competing to be the biggest bodybuilder. However, you must remember that weightlifting is a significant part of any fitness regimen. Some benefits of this routine are improving your heart health, boosting your metabolism/caloric burn, increasing your energy, and making you stronger.

Cox explained, "It does all this because lifting weights taps into all of your bodies energy/movement systems while challenging it in a way that forces the response of all that was previously mentioned.” For women, their hormones are not meant for “bulking up” so they have a greater handicap in packing on excess muscle mass. Cox added, “Essentially no one will EVER get ‘accidentally’ bulky.”



Will My Muscle Turn Into Fat?

Rob Delara, corporate head trainer at TITLE Boxing Club, said muscle and fat are two different tissue systems—with each one having different functions. Muscle tissue gives you mass and burns calories and fat stores excess energy and gives you the “gut.” Hence, fat and muscle “move up and down on a spectrum independently and in most cases simultaneously.” However, you should remember that neglected movies and overeating will increase the amount of fat cells in your body. Therefore, it is important to keep your muscles’ energy demands high.


Do Exercise Machines Accurately Track the Number of Calories Burned?

Exercise machines have monitors that estimate the number of calories you are expending, said Miranda Hitti of Jumpstart WebMD, a fitness website.  Kong Chen, director of the metabolic research core at the National Institutes of Health, said the displays are close but it can vary for each person.

He recommended using calorie displays as a motivational tool but not as a guideline to track how much food you can eat. Further, exercise machines don’t consider the calories you have burned without exercising. “It isn't 220 calories for those 40 minutes of exercise versus zero," Robert Kushner, MD, clinical director of the Northwestern Comprehensive Center on Obesity.

If you are playing with your children or sitting at work, you are probably expending 70 calories when doing those activities. Kushner added, “You have to subtract what you would burn if you didn't exercise. So the overall calorie burn becomes much less."

There are a lot of myths surrounding fitness and exercise. People should be aware of any misinformation about the subject. Most importantly, everyone should remember that exercise is a key component in maintaining a healthy lifestyle— not only to lose weight.