If you’re a busy mom building your workout plan, it’s easy to fall for some of the things you hear around the gym, from a friend, or your kids’ coach. To help you get on the path to a more enjoyable, and more effective workout plan, we have debunked some of the most common workout myths.
Myth: Running is Bad for Your Knees
Reality: Whether you’re a new beginner or a seasoned runner, anyone can get tendinitis, shin splints, or other ailments from high impact workouts. This can be true for running, basketball, workout classes or many other types of exercise. The key in my opinion is to start slowly, build your workouts over time, both the length and the intensity. And listen to your body—if your knees hurt, change to low impact workouts like the bike, elliptical, swimming, etc.
Myth: You Need to Hit the Gym Every Day
Reality: Beginners can be pretty gung ho but then lose their motivation. Gyms are awfully busy in January but pretty quiet in April. It’s easy to burn out. We think working out 3-5 times a week, with enough rest, is the key. And my personal preference is to mix up my workout-sometimes at home, sometimes at the gym, sometimes running outdoors. If it’s easier for you to stay motivated, by all means, head to the gym, but make sure you give yourself some rest days.
Myth: 30 Minutes of Cardio is Key to Losing Weight
Reality: Cardio work IS important to the amount of calories you burn, but strength training is as well. Why is that? Strength training improves your muscle mass as a percent of your body weight, which improves your metabolism. Adding more muscle, as a percentage, helps you burn calories whether you’re working out or at rest. I have always mixed cardio work with weight training (I get bored pretty easily on a treadmill or bike). Lately I have been adding 10-12 minutes of high intensity training from free YouTube instructors. Bottom Line: if it’s too long or it bores you, mix up cardio with something else and don’t skip the strength training.
Myth: Stretching Helps You Recover
Reality: Warming up and stretching before you workout is super important for preventing injury. Stretching can improve flexibility and muscle tone (think Yoga or Pilates). Stretching after a workout can prevent some lactic acid buildup and reduce soreness, but the effects are small. Bottom Line: a good warm up, including lots of stretching, is the key to a great workout.
Myth: Ab Workouts are Key to a Flat Tummy
Reality: Working your abs, and your entire core, as part of an overall workout program is important for balance, stability, injury prevention, and endurance. But pounding away at the crunches isn’t going to lose the muffin top. There is no scientific evidence that we can “spot train” or lose weight in one particular area. Sticking with your regular consistent workout, burning calories through cardio and strength training, and some key ab exercises will help you lose weight all over, including your tummy.