Hyped up fitness myths are everywhere – from your favorite health columnist, to your health nut of a best friend who swears by the latest circuit training workout. The problem is, with so much information about how to squat, how far to run and how often you should spin, what’s fact from fiction, and how can you really turn your flabby mid-section into fabulous abs, once and for all?

Forget the hype.

Instead, keep reading to learn what’s real, and how to make your body look the way you really want it to – instead of feeling like a hamster on the proverbial weight loss wheel. You deserve to feel good in the skin you’re in, and when you refuse to buy into these top five fitness myths, you’ll finally know what body bliss feels – and best of all – looks like!

Forget to Stretch, and Maximize Your Risk for Injury

One of the biggest fitness myths out there is all about your pre-working activity – stretching. Do you really need to stretch beforehand? The myth is that if you don’t stretch before hopping on the elliptical or taking a dance class, you may just tear a muscle or sprain a joint.

Stretching after a workout is always recommended, but when you stretch before your sweat session, it can actually prevent you from protection during your circuit training or cycle session. Instead, consider warming up with a slow or brisk walk before your intense cardio class.

Skip the Weights if You Want to Get Lean and Mean

Many women avoid the weight room altogether for fear that it will bulk them up, instead of allow them to lean down. But consider this – those 5-8 lb. dumbbells, light repetitions of the shoulder press and bicep curls won’t just shape your bod – they’ll increase your daily caloric burn, so that you can lean down, define those abs and make heads turn (no risk of bulking up, either.)

You Should Work Out in the Morning to Burn More Calories During the Day

You’ve seen it, and maybe you’ve done it – you lift weights while getting your hour of cardio in before most people have woken up for the day. That’s great, but a morning workout doesn’t necessarily mean you’ll burn more calories. What does burn more calories throughout your day is staying as active as possible and being mindful about your diet.

Do More Crunches to Lose More Weight

Are you killing yourself with hundreds of sit-ups in an effort to get that six pack? Just remember that no matter how many crunches you do may strengthen your core, but won’t do a thing to shed the fat that lies on top of your abs. Instead, do less frequent, but slow and controlled crunches, and in combination with 30-45 minutes of cardio per session. Then, you’ll have those abs to die over!

Your Sweat Session is the Best Indicator You’re Making Progress

Don’t kill yourself over sweating buckets in the weight room as it’s not the only indication of weight loss progress. This is because some people naturally sweat more than others. Instead of paying attention to how hot you get, keep track of your heart rate. Rev that up, and you’ll lose inches and pounds, while getting back to your skinny jeans in a shorter period of time.

You don’t have to bulk up just to reap the benefits of resistant training; nor do you have to sweat through your clothes to lose weight. Stop buying into the fitness myths that so many others do, and achieve body bliss inside and out!