Myth: The more ab exercises I do, the skinnier my waist will be.
BUSTED: Doing stomach exercises can strengthen your abdominal muscles, but it won't burn body fat to give you that 6-pack you're after. If you want your ab muscles to show, you need to either be naturally skinny or embrace a diet low in carbohydrates and high in proteins with a decent helping of healthy fats and fruits and vegetables.
Myth: My diet includes diet soda, it's zero calories so it has to be good for me.
BUSTED: According to a recent University of Texas study, drinking just two or more cans a day accelerated waistline expansion by 500%. The artificial sweeteners disrupt the body's ability to regulate calorie intake. In other words, your body is being tricked into thinking it's ingesting sugar, so you crave more food and as a result, eat more food than you would have without drinking the soda.
Myth: By working out, I can convert fat into muscle.
BUSTED: You cannot convert fat into muscle as they are completely different. In fact, when working out it is best to focus on either losing fat or gaining muscle. In order to gain muscle, you have to eat more calories than you burn and, in order to lose body fat, you must burn more calories than you consume.
Myth: Cardio is more important for fat loss than weight lifting.
BUSTED: You will definitely burn calories completing a cardio workout, but to lose weight your primary concern should be muscle gain. Muscles make it easier for your body to prevent fat gain. Your body will burn more calories maintaining muscle than maintaining fat. In other words, the more muscle you build, the more calories your body will burn each day. The less muscle you have the lower your metabolism. A great weight loss program should focus on (in this order) your caloric intake, weight training and then cardio.
Myth: Stretching before a workout prevents injury and increased my performance.
BUSTED: I know, you grew up stretching before a workout or sporting event because your coach or parents told you it was beneficial. You were probably told that stretching prevents injury, when in fact, the opposite is true. Recent studies show that stretching before a workout will weaken the muscle by up to 30%. By elongating your muscles before strenuous exercise you actually may be increasing the risk of injury. Instead of stretching before a workout, get your blood flowing through your muscles with some low impact cardio for 5 to 10 minutes. Stretching after a workout is great and still proves to be beneficial.
This article was authored by Sergeant Michael Volkin, best-selling author of military books and inventor of Strength Stack 52 bodyweight fitness cards.