The world of sports and athletics is full of myths, misconceptions, and superstitions. However, as science and technology continue to develop, we learn new things and information that render old beliefs outdated or even wrong. Unfortunately, despite this new knowledge, many myths and misconceptions still persist. Here are five myths that are sadly still all too common today.
1. “No Pain, No Gain”
As athletes, we love to push ourselves to our limits. The old belief is that if it’s not hurting, then it’s not working. This is not always the case. In fact, this shouldn’t be the case for most of your training. Although there’s a fine line between pushing yourself and hurting yourself, it’s critical that you learn the difference. Using pain as your standard for progress is nothing but an express lane to injury. The only thing you’ll get good at with this mentality is hurting yourself.
2. Static Stretching Before Exercise
Most of us grew up with the advice that we should always stretch before any physical activity to prevent injury. However, several recent research and studies have found this information to be outdated. Not only does this not help you prevent injury, it may actually make your more prone to getting injured. A better pre-activity routine is to warm-up using dynamic stretches or with movements that resemble the activity you’re about to do. Better to reserve static stretches for your post-workout activity.
3. The Longer Your Workout, The Better
Similar to the “No Pain, No Gain” Syndrome, this misconception sets the wrong standard for your training progress and evaluation. It’s the belief that your workouts have to be long in order to be good and productive, and that you can’t have a good training session in a short amount of time. This is a generalisation and simply wrong. You can definitely do more in a well-planned, short training session than in a long, unfocused one. It’s all about efficiency in your training time. Of course, there are exceptions to this (i.e. endurance training) and it all depends on your goals and training plan. The key point here, however, is not to evaluate your training session solely on how long it took you do do it.
4. Turning Fat Into Muscle
This myth is unfortunately a prevalent one, especially among novices who want to lose weight. Simply put, you can’t build or turn fat into muscle because of the simple fact that these are two completely different types of tissue. Fat can never turn into muscle (and vice versa) no matter what you do.
5. “If it works for him/her, it’ll work for me.”
Another common mistake among novices (and even veterans), this trap is built around our natural tendency to copy those we admire or look up to. While it’s natural for us imitate or adopt the same things as our idols, it’s much too easy for us to forget that they’re completely different from us, and we’re completely different from them. Each of us is on different levels, have different goals, or sometimes even on completely different sports or activities. Even if you were similar in some aspects (i.e. same sport, same goals, etc.), you still have different bodies and different abilities. While it’s great to learn and take notes from those we admire, it’s best to adopt and tailor them according to our present circumstances (our goals, our level, etc.) instead of blindly applying everything they do to ourselves.