This may be the most dangerous myth on the list. But before you quit the treadmill for good, make sure you are distinguishing pain from discomfort. It is normal to feel a bit of burn, maybe a little ache when winding down. But shooting, stabbing, or throbbing pain? That is a red flag. Some soreness AFTER a workout is normal, but tear-jerking agony? Not so much.
LIE #2:Running a marathon is the ideal way to get fit.
Fact: Not ready to conquer a marathon? No problem. You can get many of the benefits of long-distance running without ever passing the five-mile mark.
Running fast and hard for just five to 10 minutes a day can provide some of the same health outcomes as running for hours can. In fact, people who run for less than an hour a week — as long as they get in those few minutes each day — see similar benefits in terms of heart health compared to those who run more than three hours per week.
LIE #3: Keeping a food diary is a reliable way of monitoring and controlling what you eat.
"People tend to overestimate their physical activity and underestimate how much food they eat," says Stanforth. "They consistently think they've worked out more and consistently think they've eaten less."
LIE #4:Weight training will turn fat into muscle.
Nope. Lifting weights won't magically make your flab lean. Unfortunately, body fat cannot become muscle. But weight training will help you build muscle tissue underneath any fat above it.
Early morning is the only time you should work out.
Afternoons or evenings are likely nearly as good for you as early-morning workouts, according to several studies.
But some research suggests that working out first thing each day helps speed weight loss and boost energy levels by priming the body for an all-day fat burn.
Plus, getting more daylight may play an important role in shedding pounds. By aligning our internal clocks - or circadian rhythms - with the natural world, we may help give our metabolisms a boost.
LIE #5:Sit-ups are the best exercise for your abs.
Ah, the dreaded sit-up—hated by every grade-schooler who was made to do as many as possible in a minute for the Presidential Fitness Test. Unfortunately, as hard as sit-ups may be, they don’t actually do a whole lot for your core other than leave it in pain.
LIE #6:It takes two weeks to get out of shape.
If it takes forever to get in shape, it should take just as long to get out of shape, right?
The two-week rule that floats around some gyms and keeps not-so-motivated exercisers feeling confident their gains won’t go to waste if they ditch out for 14 days is, for the most part, wishful thinking.
LIE #7:A few minutes on the treadmill will jump-start your fat burn.
LIE #8:You have to cut carbs or sugar to lose weight.
"You know we tend to say you go on a diet, but that also implies you're going to go off of it. And that's not how we should be looking at this," Stanforth told us. "Sometimes people are looking for the latest fad, but oftentimes it's the fundamentals that are the most important and that make the biggest difference."
LIE #9:Women shouldn't weight train because they'll bulk up like a man.
Guess what? It is perfectly safe for everyone to lift weights — and it's also a great way to strengthen your muscles. The ability to build large muscles is directly dependent on the amount of testosterone we have, and women produce far less testosterone on average than men. So if you're a woman, the chances that you'll "bulk up" are incredibly slim — pun intended.
LIE #10:Don't lift too much or you'll get bulky."
BONUS LIE:SALT IS BAD FOR YOU
After a few studies connected high blood pressure to sodium intake, we were quickly advised to cut salt out of our diets as much as possible. More recent studies suggest that it isn’t the salt itself causing problems, but rather a poor diet after all. Most of our sodium intake comes from processed foods, not from table salt.
Further, researchers are finding that too little salt can also be bad for the heart. In patients without preexisting cardiovascular issues, consuming less than three grams of salt lead to a 26% increased risk of a heart attack or stroke. The takeaway? Limit your junk food, but do not be afraid to add a sprinkle of salt to your avocado toast in the morning.