Free yourself of fitness myths
Many of us need some guidelines when it comes to maintaining a steady fitness regime. Some find it easiest to dedicate certain days of the week to a gym class, others love to get together with a friend and get competitive over sprint times. While many of these methods are positive, there could be some fitness myths that are holding you back and making it harder for you to get motivated. We bring you the top five to discard.
1. Certain exercises are better than others
This just isn't true! As long as you are working hard and enjoying yourself, you can pretty much do what you like. Of course it can be beneficial to mix things up, especially if you are keen to target a certain part of your body. But if you're not training for anything specific, just get out there and do what makes you feel happy and energised!
2. Short workouts are pointless
It can be easy to convince ourselves that there's no point hitting the gym if we haven't got at least an hour to spare. But don't let yourself get out of it that easily - even 20 minutes is enough to reap some rewards. If you only have a small chunk of time, aim to up the intensity. A HIIT class or a sprint on the treadmill should do the trick.
3. Morning workouts are best
We're constantly bombarded with studies that tell us there are certain times we should be using for exercise. But how can someone who has to start work at the crack of dawn squeeze in an early-bird gym session? Stop putting pressure on yourself and work with your personal schedule. If you finish work early, try and do some exercise right after and then enjoy having the whole evening ahead of you. Alternatively, if you don't start work until a bit later, find some morning classes to join or go for a jog while everyone else is logging onto their computers.
4. If you're not aching and sweating, you're not doing it right
Not all exercise is created equal and not every body reacts in the same way. Pilates and yoga can do huge amounts for your flexibility, tone and general wellbeing but you won't necessarily sweat buckets. You also shouldn't hobble out of the gym after every session. It might mean you're not stretching properly or are damaging muscles or tendons in some way. Speak to a personal trainer at your gym or a doctor if you're unsure.
5. You can crunch your way to abs
Working on your core in the form of crunches and other abs exercises will tone the muscles in that region. However, it won't get rid of fat, so you might not be able to see them. Instead you need to adjust your diet and pick up the cardio and zero in on body fat in general, not just in the one region.