Wednesday, December 21, 2011

The 10 Biggest Fitness Myths

Do you stretch before going on a run? What about after? Do you guzzle electrolytes to stave off muscle cramps? Are you thinking about throwing your running shoes in the trash to go barefoot? Does your recovery meal include ibuprofen? If you answered yes to any of these questions, you are now under arrest for breaking the basic laws of fitness.
  • Myth #1: Stretching prevents injuries and improves performance.
    • Truth: It could ruin your 10K time
  • Myth #2: Running barefoot is better for the body.
    • Truth: It all depends on body type and discipline
  • Myth #3: You need to focus on your core to become a better athlete.
    • Truth: Core strength is probably overrated, and you risk injury by focusing too specifically on it
  • Myth #4: Guzzling water and electrolytes before a race prevents cramps.
    • Truth: Water and electrolytes have little to do with muscles seizing up
  • Myth #5: Popping ibuprofen before a hard workout prevents sore muscles afterward.
    • Truth: It does more harm than good
  • Myth #6: Dehydration hurts race performance.
    • Truth: Overhydrating is more likely to sabotage your personal record.
  • Myth #7: Ice baths speed recovery.
    • Truth: They're not worth the chill
  • Myth #8: Long and slow is the best way to burn calories.
    • Truth: You need to pump up the intensity
  • Myth #9: Fructose is a performance killer.
    • Truth: Fructose can be a performance superfuel
  • Myth #10: Supplements take performance to the next level.
    • Truth: There’s no such thing as a magic pill. (At least a legal one.)

Up for Debate:
Massage boosts recovery,
Surgery is best for an ACL tear,
Cortisone Shots Speed Healing

Intrigued? Check out Gretchen Reynold’s original article online or in the January 2012 Outside Magazine.




  1. A friend pointed this article out to me, in particular the ice bath one. I don't care what their studies say...whether it's a placebo effect or not, I have found ice baths amazingly helpful. Granted, I haven't done anything that I've deemed worthy of soaking in ice water since the marathon, but I'd do it again if I was doing that kind of distance training again. Probably should have after the 30K.

  2. What's good is bad and what was previously bad will be good again. So goes the cycle.

  3. This is great stuff (I love Outside). I know I've read that about ice baths before, but I still want to believe they work! Mind over matter.

  4. I'm agreeing with Kate, the ice works for me, I swear it does! if it's placebo, ok, I'll take it. I also believe in yoga (stretching - post exercise), hydrating very well during a race, and although I don't get them very often, I believe in a massage. But what do I know....not much....

  5. #4 is one of my favorites. Cannot tell you how many times a new runner/triathlete has contacted me to "critique" their nutrition plan. The reason they are asking is because they cramped up during a race.

    9.9 times out of ten it has nothing to do with nutrition and everything to do with fitness. You didn't get a cramp because of lack of Gatorade you got a cramp because you are new to racing and this is the hardest you have ever pushed yourself!

  6. To be fair, your redacted answers to each question are a lot more black and white than the actual article.

  7. hmmm #6....dehydration has ruined a few of my races....

  8. I love Outside and this is really great stuff.

    What Jamoosh said is totally true!!

  9. OUCH. As a pharmacist, I hope no one is taking ibuprofen right after a hard workout! Kiss your kidneys goodbye!
    Oh and ice baths? Not sure what the idea is there. Why ice an area that isn't inflamed? And if it is inflamed why are you running, lol?

  10. No sure I agree that #1 is a myth. It makes more sense that extended running shortens muscles and shortened muscles put strain on tendons, etc., and that's primarily why we stretch after a run. Right? I think it also makes a huge difference in age.

  11. Anne, as Patrick commented, the full article fleshes out each argument. Many studies now show that stretching BEFORE running negatively affects performance.

  12. thank you muchly!... that confirms all my suspicions


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