There are so many fitness myths out there that it would require an encyclopedia to refute them all. Since I don’t have the time to write an encyclopedia, it makes a lot more sense to refute some of the most common fitness myths:
1) Junk miles – This is a common myth among many competitive runners. “Junk” miles are basically when a runner runs significantly slower than usual, which can be very disappointing for many runners. Some runners believe these miles don’t really count or they might as well just take a day off from running if all they are capable of is running “junk” miles.
However, running at any speed can help maintain your edge or your level of cardiovascular fitness. You don’t have to run fast every time you are out there. It’s perfectly normal to find yourself in a rut of under-performance every now and then, especially after very long runs or races. If the slowness lasts more than a week though, it could indicate a problem, especially if it is accompanied by soreness or an injury. “Junk” miles are often used an an excuse to not run outside in hot, or wet weather -“Why bother running in the rain if I will only be running junk miles?”
2) Running and cardio will cause you to lose muscle – This is a myth that is common among body-builders. Some are absolutely cardio-phobic. This myth prevents many people from having a more well-rounded fitness routine.
However, as long you eat enough, get enough rest, recover properly, and don’t overdo it, cardio won’t cause you to lose a significant amount of muscle. A good rule of thumb is to do strength-training first, and do cardio after. Doing strength-training first programs the body to prioritize muscle building for that day; doing cardio first will cause the body to prioritize cardiovascular fitness.
There are still a lot of areas of fitness where there aren’t clear cut answers, but not when it comes to these two common myths.