Fitness myths get started because we all react to exercise and diet a little different than anyone else. So what might work for you, may not work for your friend, relative, etc… Even if you both have the same goal. This is why it is important to consult with a professional before starting a program. One should also obtain clearance from their physician
1. To protect my knees I should run on a treadmill.
Running is a great form of cardiovascular exercise and while running on a treadmill is easier on one’s knees than pavement (the treadmill has some “give” to it where the ground doesn’t). Running in general due to the force placed on your body is high impact and will stress the knees. Crosstrainers, stationary and rode bikes, elipitilitcals, etc… are great alternatives to running that are lower impact.
2. Doing abdominal exercises will get rid of your belly.
While doing abdominal movements are important to strengthen the muscle, they WILL NOT get rid of the excess fat on your stomach. The only way to see your abdominal muscles is to lower your body fat %. Since you burn fat from within and not outside in (the areas you have the most fat will be the last place you see changes). Incorporating cardiovascular training, resistance training, and a healthy diet are THE ONLY WAY to lower your body fat % and possibly see the “six pack” you’ve been hiding.
3. If I don’t sweat, I’m not working hard enough.
Sweating is a way for your body to cool itself. Some individuals are prone to sweat more than others. The foods you eat may also play a role in water retention.
4. Machines are always safer than free weights.
While machines are a great tool and tend to be easier and safer to use than free weights, if you are not properly aligned you can get hurt just as easy. Take advantage of the personal trainers at your facility and/or read the diagram on the machines to see what muscles you are working and where you should be placed.
5. If I am not sore the following day, I should work harder.
DOMS (Delayed Onset Muscle Soreness) is not a good indicator of a workout. One should focus on acute muscle fatigue. That is either fail or come close to failing once you are at your desired rep range (i.e. if you are trying for 10 reps you should not be able to perform 15). The more rest you get, the more you stretch, and a proper diet will all contribute to you recovering quicker and not being as sore.
6. It’s ok to train abs every day.
Your abdominal muscles are just that; a muscle. That being said just like any other muscle they need to time to recover. If you’re doing just a few reps here and there then it is ok to do daily. If however, you are training them intensely. That is doing multiple sets and reps for 10 minute or longer then you should allow at least a day to recover.
7. If I want to tone up I should do high reps and low weight.
This is not necessarily true. You’re diet and cardio will play larger roles in the definition of your muscles. Lifting will shape what you have, but it is the diet and cardio that will burn the fat and allow for more definition to be seen. Again, remember we burn from within, so the places you store the most will be the last places to see. High reps will typically burn more calories than doing heavier weight and lower reps, but will not do much for building muscle. This is why it is important to manipulate your reps and sets and determine which body parts are stimulated with light weights and which body parts need to have heavier weight.
8. In order to lose weight, I need to do hours of cardio and cut calories. This is not necessarily true. You may be burning the candle at both ends. If you restrict your calories to an amount that is below your BMR (Basal Metabolic Rate) your metabolism can slow down and force your body to want to store fat. If you’re just doing cardio, you will not be building muscle which burns more calories than fat (1lb of muscle burns 20-100 kcal per day, and 1lb of fat burns only 8 calories per day). Most women should not eat less than 1200-1300 calories and most men should be around 1700-1800 calories a day. Contact either myself or another certified trainer and/or dietician to help you determine your daily caloric needs.
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