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Running Mythbusters!
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Running Mythbusters!

Myth Buster!

The locker room is a great place. It’s where you can chat with your training partners, share a joke or two and spin the odd yarn but not all of those yarns are true!

Lies! Lies! Lies!

We asked the guys at Shoeguide to bust some of the training and fitness myths that could lead you from the straight and narrow.

MYTH If two people are running at the same pace the person with the lower heart rate is fitter.

Heart rate is incredibly personal. What is TRUE is that your heart rate goes up as you work harder. It is also TRUE that as you get fitter your heart rate will get lower for any given pace of running etc. But people’s heart rates vary due to a variety of factors so it is pointless to compare your heart rate with someone else’s. More on heart rate here.

MYTH You can do exercises to shift fat from specific body parts

This is false as when your body burns fat it comes from fat stores your bodies prioritises to get rid of first – not the area you are exercising. So doing sit-ups will not take the fat off of your stomach before anywhere else. Running won’t just burn fat from your legs.

You can use this to your advantage as any exercise will burn fat in general. Working on specific areas of your body will improve the strength and muscles in those areas so this will help gives you the curves and flatter bits in appropriate places.

MYTH Women who lift weights will bulk up

Women’s levels of the ‘male’ hormone testosterone are far lower than men’s. So it is very rare for women to be capable of building large muscles. Muscle takes up less room than fat which means women lose inches when they weight train. Muscle burns calories even when you’re resting (fat does not) so muscle raises your metabolism. Strength training also reduces the risk of osteoporosis. Check out our Strength training for Women article.

MYTH Less than 45min is a waste of time

This is not true. A half hour run is well worth it. Even a 20-30min walk will help you to burn calories, raise your metabolism and help keep you in shape. Every little bit adds up. If fairly fit but just pushed for time, check out these swift sessions.

MYTH - You will lose more weight if you exercise longer at a lower intensity as you burn more fat.

If only we had a penny for every time we heard this 'fat burning zone' myth! What counts in weight management is total calories burned. The faster you run, swim or bike, or the more intensely you work the more calories you use per minute. That said, when you run, the biggest determining factor of how many calories you burn is distance travelled. So what can be true is that you are better to moderate your effort and go further than to go blazing around a shorter run (but calories burned does increase with speed). Get your diet right. You can try using the calorie counter in our nutrition section for more guidance.

MYTH - No pain, no gain!

Just another big myth. You should enjoy your training. But also most of your running and exercise should be done at a steady effort. You should be able to speak in a sentence or two at a time. It is also important to not tolerate pain due to an injury when exercising. If you suspect you have an injury you should stop and seek professional help and guidance. This will get you back on track more quickly and easily than trying to battle through it. 

Get the basics right - do a warm-up, do some light stretching, enjoy your run and do a warm-down. A little extra effort will keep you in good shape.

So there you have it - don't believe the training myths!

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