The field of fitness is replete with exercise myths - bits of mis-information and half truths that people cling to like life vests after a shipwreck.
Understanding the truth behind these myths will go a long way towards helping you to figure out what really works. Here are the most commonly held exercise myths:
No. 1: I need special exercises to reduce my pot belly.
Spot reduction simply doesn't work. To get rid of a pot belly you have to lose body fat and strengthen the underlying muscles. This is true for big butts, wobbly thighs, indeed any part of the body.
No. 2: If I'm not sore the next day, I didn't workout hard enough.
Pain means either injury or micro tears to the muscle. Unless you are training really hard (for an event such as a marathon) you shouldn't experience pain following a workout.
No. 3: Strength training will make me "bulk up" (women especially).
Strength, or resistance training, is the best way to burn fat. Bulking up is unlikely unless you take steroids, train for ten or 12 hours per week, and have the right genetics! However, adding five pounds of muscle will make you look better and help you burn more calories, 24/7, 365.
No. 4: Running is the best way to get fit.
Running is an excellent way to get fit, and burns more calories per hour than most other forms of exercise, but it is not the only, or necessarily the best way to get fit. The best way to get fit is the one you enjoy, that motivates you, and ultimately, that you stick at.
No. 5: Warming up before working out isn't necessary if you're careful.
Warming up is essential. It prepares your muscles and your heart for the exercise to come, reduces your chances of injury, and helps you perform better. An appropriate warm up is 5 to 10 minutes of easy cardio. Stretching is not recommended before a workout, but should be saved for the end of the workout, as part of your cool down (you do cool down, don't you?)