Common Misconceptions about Using Exercise Machines

workout machines

Most people these days use exercise machines to work out. It’s usually more convenient to go to the gym to use the treadmill or the rowing machine than to run outside. Due to the prominent use of exercise machines to get fit, a number of misconceptions exist about them. Here is a list of the most common exercise machine myths with factual explanations:

The Calorie Count Shown on Exercise Machines are Correct

Most people use exercise machines with eyes firmly on the calorie count display. The calorie number display is common to aerobic exercise machines like the treadmill. There’s a major misconception that the number of “calories burned” display is actually real. It’s not. The amount of calories your body burns for any activity depends on your BMI or the percentage of body fat. Your gender matters as well because men tend to burn more calories during exercise than women. Exercise machines typically don’t ask for your body fat percentage and have no mechanism for calculating it. So the calorie count number you see is highly inaccurate in nearly all instances. It’s based on a very generic calculation and you shouldn’t take it seriously. Instead of counting calories on the cardio machines, focus on intensity and length of the session.

You Have to Spend Time on Exercise Machines to Burn the Most Calories

The more you work out, the more calories you burn, right? Not exactly. The amount of calories you burn per session depends on the intensity of the exercise as well. A highly intensive session for 15 minutes may be able to burn the same number of calories as a low-intensity workout for an hour.

You Can Check Your Heart Rate on the Exercise Machine Display

Once more, don’t trust the fitness numbers you see on exercise machine screens. The heart rate you see on machines is a generic estimate based on averages for your age. You should never depend on this number because it’s not accurate. If you want to monitor your heart rate during exercise, you should wear a fitness band or a device specifically intended to monitor your heart rate. Fitness experts also recommend relying on your own senses. You are better at reading how your body is exerting itself than the exercise machine, according to scientific research. See how well you can talk when you work out on a particular machine. It will indicate how much you are exerting yourself.

The “Fat Burning” Program Actually Burns Fat

Most aerobic exercise machines come pre-programmed with a fat burning feature. The idea is to keep your workout in the aerobic range so your body burns fat as fuel and not smooth muscle. However, your body doesn’t necessarily burn more calories with pre-programmed workouts like this. If you want to burn more calories, you need to engage in interval training. That is, you work out in the aerobic range with cardio “bursts,” that suddenly increase the heart rate. Then you slow down a bit to let the heart rate recover. So use the interval training program on machines, rather than the fat burning programs, to lose weight faster.

Next time you are at the gym, keep the above in mind. Learn more about the proper way of exercising to make sure you are not building your workout routine on baseless claims.

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