10 MYTHS AND FACTS ABOUT FITNESS!

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Nowadays, with so much contrasting information—for example, on social networks—it isn’t easy to separate fact from fiction. This is all the more true when it comes to fitness and working out. So we analyzed 10 frequently asked questions about working out and its effect on our bodies. Will you be able to tell myth from reality?

❓ IT'S POSSIBLE TO GET A FLAT STOMACH AND THINNER THIGHS WITH TARGETED EXERCICES
👎MYTH! If your dream is a flat stomach and a thigh gap, what you need is a weight loss plan, not 100 crunches and 100 squats every morning. Doing abdominal and thigh exercises will build up your strength and endurance, but as long as you’ve still got a layer of fat, you won’t get the results you want.

As you may have read in Cardio or strenght training for weight loss, high-intensity interval training, or HIIT, combining cardio and strength training exercises, is more likely to get you there. But don’t kid yourself: Diet accounts for more than 70% of weight loss. The ''Perdre 10 livres en 10 semaines'' guide contains plenty of tips to get you started down the road to healthy weight loss.

❓ STATIC STRETCHING EXERCICES BEFORE A WORKOUT IS USELESS
👍FACT! It’s often been said that static stretching before a workout reduces the risk of injury. But, according to several studies, the opposite is actually true: Static stretching can cause injuries. When you stretch, your muscle is elongated beyond its resting length. So, when you hold a stretch for a long time, your muscle relaxes, when you actually want it to do the opposite. Before a workout, you want your muscles to be ready to contract quickly and efficiently. So, an active warm-up is a better option, for example, doing the same movement, but less vigorously, such as walking before running, or doing the same strength training exercise with lighter weights first.

❓ STRETCHING AFTER WORKOUT RELIEVES MUSCLE SORENESS
👎MYTH! You still hear people say that it’s important to stretch after a workout to avoid feeling stiff and sore the next day. We hate to break it to you, but apart from easing up on the intensity of your workouts, there’s no miracle cure for soreness. Exercising in a way that you’re not used to or more strenuously than usual actually causes damage, or micro-tears, to your muscles. The pain you feel 24 hours later—and even worse 48 hours later—is mainly due to your muscles repairing themselves.

Based on this logic, if your muscle was slightly torn during a workout and you stretch it immediately after, you risk making the tear worse, not better. But, it would really take an extreme stretch for this to happen. The reason why stretching is recommended after a workout is simply because your body is already in the ideal state: You’re warmed up and you’re already at the gym. Not many people set aside time for stretching outside of the gym.

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❓ IT'S IMPORTANT TO ELIMATE LACTIC ACID FROM YOUR MUSCLES TO RELIEVE PAIN
👎MYTH! How many times have you heard that your pain is caused by a build-up of lactic acid in your muscles, or that it’s important to shake your arms and legs or stretch after exercising to release the lactic acid? In reality, it’s impossible for lactic acid to build up, since it only stays in the muscle for a few seconds before splitting into lactate and hydrogen ions (H+). And, in fact, the more lactate you produce, the faster you’ll be able to generate energy. So, instead of considering lactic acid as the enemy, tell yourself that the more you produce, the more energy you’ll have to finish your workout.

❓ SWEAT ELIMINATES TOXINS
👎MYTH! Many exercise programs praise the virtues of heavy sweating as a way to eliminate toxins. Sorry to disappoint you, but sweat is made up of about 95% water and 5% minerals. Only your liver and kidneys can eliminate toxins from your body. So, making sure all your organs are working properly through exercise and diet is a good way to ensure toxins are eliminated naturally.

❓ EVERYONE WHO WORKS OUT SHOULD TAKE PROTEIN SUPPLEMENTS
👎MYTH! When they first start working out, many people consider adding more protein to their diet. Protein is actually needed to build and repair muscle. But, before running out to the health food store and buying the huge 2-kg container of protein powder, you need to ask yourself two questions. First, what is the goal of your workouts? If the answer is to get in shape or lose weight, then the protein you’ll get from a balanced diet will be enough to repair your muscles. You’ll only need supplements if your goal is to build muscle, since your body will need more protein to recover from that type of training.

The second question is whether you’re currently eating enough protein. For someone who works out moderately with the goal of getting in shape or losing weight, we recommend 1.2 to 1.5 grams of protein per kilogram of body weight, and for someone who wants to build muscle mass, 1.8 to 2 g/kg is ideal. So, for example, for a 60-kg person who wants to lose weight, 75 grams of protein is enough; on the other hand, someone who wants build muscle will need 110 grams.

❓ IT'S IMPORTANT FOR WOMEN TO INCLUDE STRENGTH TRAINING EXERCICES IN THEIR WORKOUT ROUTINENE D'ENTRAINEMENT
👍FACT! Whatever a woman’s workout goal, it’s essential that she include strength training in her routine. But, let’s get one thing straight: Unless the main goal is to build muscle by following a specific workout plan and a very strict diet, a woman won’t end up with muscles like Arnold Schwarzenegger.

As you will read in Cardio or strenght training for weight loss, strength training is essential to weight loss. Even if the goal is to get in better shape, strength training will provide benefits such as improved muscle tone, greater muscle strength and endurance, better posture, an easier time with everyday movements, greater range of motion, decreased risk of injury and osteoporosis, and more (as you will read in 6 reasons why women should be strength training).

❓ WORKING OUT ON AN EMPTY STOMACH HELPS WITH WEIGHT LOSS
👎MYTH and 👍FACT Working out on an empty stomach is often considered a good weight-loss method. The theory behind this is that, because your blood sugar level (glycemia) is low after not eating all night, the glucose reserve that your body needs to burn for fuel is also very low. Once it’s out of glucose, your body will turn to fat as its back‑up energy source, but be careful: Since this isn’t a quick process, the body will quickly move on to its third source of fuel, which is muscle. So, you need to limit your workouts to 40-60 minutes to make sure your body doesn’t tap into the back-up to its back-up energy source: your muscles!

As you will read in Cardio or strenght training for weight loss, high-intensity interval training is the best option for achieving weight loss during and after workouts. However, because your blood sugar is low on an empty stomach, your body won’t have the energy needed to get through a HIIT workout. You’ll have to take it easier, which isn’t the best strategy when it comes to weight loss. Several studies done to date on this phenomenon are contradictory, and a consensus on the topic is practically impossible.

If the morning is the only time you have to work out, it’s recommended that you drink plenty of water and maybe a protein shake, which won’t sit for too long in your stomach. But don’t deliberately work out on an empty stomach thinking you’ll lose a bunch of weight. Place your bets instead on a balanced diet and HIIT workouts.

❓ THE MORE YOU SWEAT, THE MORE FAT YOU'LL LOSE
👎MYTH! As we mentioned earlier, sweat is made up of about 95% water and 5% minerals. So, there’s no fat that seeps out of your pores. The only correlation to be made between sweating and weight loss is that the harder you work out, the more you sweat. But, you probably all know someone who sweats so much they need to mop up the floor, while you—doing the exact same workout—dab your forehead lightly with a towel.

Men tend to sweat more than women, but women can also sweat heavily. Sweating is actually the body’s way of regulating its own temperature. We’ve all been there: It’s summer, there’s a heat wave on, you’re doing nothing more strenuous than sitting comfortably in a chair, and you’re sweating bullets. You weren’t burning fat at the time. If that were the case, there would be saunas on every corner instead of gyms!

❓ I CAN EAT MORE BEFORE I WORK OUT
👎MYTH! The first question you need to ask yourself is: What is my workout goal? Most answers will mean you don’t need to eat more, just differently. If your goal is to lose weight, you’ll need to create a calorie imbalance, meaning you’ll need to burn more calories than you take in. True, you will burn a certain amount of calories if you start exercising, but not enough to eat whatever you want. To achieve maximum weight loss, you need to change your diet to reduce your calorie intake. A typical workout burns between 200 and 600 calories. You need to burn 3,500 calories to lose one pound. So, if you wanted to eat more, you’d really have to kick your workouts into high gear!

If your workout goal is more to get in shape or run a 5K race, again, you won’t burn enough calories exercising to justify letting loose in the kitchen. In fact, a healthy, balanced diet is recommended to get the best results from your workouts.

The one exception to this, however, is if your goal is to build muscle. At a certain point in a muscle‑building program, you’ll need to increase your protein intake, which means you’ll definitely be eating more, but in a controlled way. This isn’t carte blanche to eat whatever you want, and most definitely not a giant poutine—just a whole lot more boiled chicken.

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