Tuesday, 10 February 2009

Exercise myths

Number 1:
“The Fat Burning Zone”

This is the one that really drives me crazy, especially when fitness trainers perpetuate it. The myth is born out of fact, but let me explain: When you exercise at a low-intensity, the body burns mostly fat. As the exercise intensity increases, the body will burn a greater percentage of stored carbohydrates and a lesser percentage of fat. This is all true. BUT if you look at the total amount of fat/calories burned during exercise, as your intensity increases, so does the total amount of fat that you are burning – therefore the greater your exercise intensity, the more fat you will burn. Low intensity equals low results, remember that next time you are reading a magazine whilst training!
ANSWER: Increasing the exercise intensity will increase the amount of fat burned.

Number 2:
“Sit ups will give you awesome abs”

Everybody already has abs (If you didn’t, you would have serious problems), they are just hidden underneath a layer of fat. The models on the covers of magazines follow very strict diets in order to reveal the abs they already have. So if want a six-pack, you need to really focus on your diet firstly. Once you have stripped away the fat the abs will be revealed. If you desire more prominent abs or better separation/definition, then hammer the ab exercises!
ANSWER: Focus on your dietary intake to reveal your abs.

Number 3:
“Using resistance machines to lose weight”
Every day I see people following the same, mundane gym programs, moving from one machine to another, in a vain attempt to lose weight. They spend 10 minutes on CV equipment (usually with very little effort), then they hit the resistance equipment, because some instructor has written them this mindless program. Please people, 2 sets of 10 bicep curls will NOT help you lose weight. Exercising muscles in isolation, for a (usually) pitiful 2 or 3 sets of 8 or 10 reps will NOT help. There is nothing wrong with the exercise itself; it is just the wrong exercise prescription for fat loss. Of course, focusing on your diet is the most effective method to alter body dimensions.
ANSWER: Focus more on CV equipment. Get your heart rate up and keep it up. Sweat and get out of breath, and burn some calories!

Number 4:
“Lifting weights will make me bulky”
I have lost count of the number of times I have heard the phrase: "I don't want to get TOO big..." - - - If only it was that easy! Firstly for women – you do not have the levels of testosterone in your body to build the sort of muscle you are worried about, so unless you take artificial enhancers, you needn’t worry. For men – if you do not want to be the next Arnold, don’t worry, unless you are training and eating like he did (very few people can honestly say they are!). Bodybuilding is a serious science that requires so much attention, that the only people who will be successful at it are those who fully intend on bodybuilding from the start. You won’t be Mr Universe by accident…
ANSWER: Bulking up muscle is very difficult, especially for women. Lifting weights will NOT turn you into Arnold. Stop worrying and start training!

Number 5:
“Bigger equals stronger”
Most people think the bigger you are, the stronger you are. Most myths are born out of some level of truth, and this is no different. Bigger people are often stronger, but bigger muscles do not mean more strength. The best example is to look at bodybuilders and Olympic powerlifters. Bodybuilders have huge muscles, but they train for size and symmetry, not strength. The powerlifters are way stronger.
ANSWER: Looks are deceiving. Size does not equal strength.
Remember - Challenge everything! Especially yourself.