Top 3 fitness myths debunked: Fasting, stretching and weightlifting

Fitness myths can interfere with our mental and physical goals, so it is good to get the facts straight

Vahdaneh Vahid
Vahdaneh Vahid - Special to Al Arabiya English
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Fitness myths can interfere with our mental and physical goals, so it is good to get the facts straight.

Working out on an empty stomach burns fat, but a much healthier approach is to generate energy from glucose (provided as fuel when we eat) rather than fat. Working out temporarily raises your metabolism, so the body requires more fuel. If there is not enough, stress hormones such as adrenaline and cortisol rise to provide rapid energy release - both can have negative effects on the body.

They break down your muscles, tissues and bones for energy and simulating the rise in insulin, which can lead to blood-sugar issues and increase fat around the middle. So try to eat before your workouts to support a healthy metabolism and help burn fat without causing stress on the body.

Many of us think it is a good idea to passively stretch tight muscles before a workout. However, as you relax your muscles and nervous system, you inhibit their ability to produce strength and power by weakening the signal between them. Performing a mobility warm-up before your workout is far more efficient, as it gets your joints ready for exercise.

When you are moving your joints and muscles through a range of motion actively, you stimulate your nervous system and enhance the signal between it and the muscles. This will help you reduce the risk of injury and perform better during exercise.

Many women think if they want to lose weight, they should not lift weights and do plenty of cardio instead. Some associate lifting weights with body-builders, but it actually slims you down and creates a leaner, more athletic and elegant-looking body.

As lifting weights builds muscle it increases your metabolic rate, allowing you to burn more calories all day. The more compact muscle you carry, the more fat you can lose because muscles are working hard even while you are at rest.

Steady-state cardio training, on the other hand, requires more energy for fuel, so it can trigger a stress response, which breaks down your muscles and leads to slowing down your metabolism and burning less fat. So next time you are in the gym, lift some weights - you may be pleasantly surprised with the outcome.

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