There's a lot of info out there about fitness — but not all of it is true, or even safe. Here are some myths about men's fitness that need to be busted, once and for all.
1. Crunches can give you a six-pack
Crunches are a great core workout, but sit-ups alone won't give you the instant six-pack you want. "It's a monumental error to think that 1,000 reps of ab work a day will make your abs finally 'pop' when your diet is a disaster and that's leading to fat storage," trainer Tom Venuto wrote for Muscleand
Strength.com. Cardio and diet changes have a better chance of giving you a six-pack than crunches alone.
2. You need sports drinks after a workout
Sports drinks are heavily marketed toward athletes as a post-workout necessity, but how necessary are they really? It turns out that, for most people, water hydrates just fine, and without the unnecessary sugars. According to the Harvard Health blog, a publication of Harvard Medical School, some sports drinks can contain "the equivalent of 10 teaspoons of sugar," about as much as a can of soda.
The sodium in sports drinks may not even protect against hyponatremia, or over-hydration. According to Harvard Health, "A study of marathoners by Harvard-based researchers found that 13 percent had some degree of hyponatremia, and that it was just as likely to happen among those who guzzled sports drinks during the marathon as it was among those who stuck with water."
3. Shaving makes hair grow back thicker
No, shaving your beard/head/wherever doesn't actually make the hair grow back darker and thicker. But the hair that grows back after shaving has a blunt tip, which is why stubble can feel pricklier and more noticeable, according to the Mayo Clinic.
4. Cardio is pointless
Cardio may not be as effective as weight lifting when it comes to getting big, defined muscles — but that doesn't mean it's useless. Cardio has a bunch of benefits, including strengthening your heart (it is a muscle, after all) and improving brain function. Combine cardio and strength training and you get the health benefits and the muscles.
5. You can eat junk food and burn it off at the gym
Sorry everyone, you can't erase your fast food meals by hitting the gym. Experts almost all agree that a combination of diet and exercise is necessary for healthy living. And, even if you're doing super intense workouts, the negative health effects of saturated fat, sugar and sodium are still there.