Top Fitness Myths Busted from Top Fitness Myths Busted

Top Fitness Myths Busted

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Top Fitness Myths Busted

Sad but true – polls show that people are working out more than ever before but that doesn’t mean they know what they’re doing. It turns out that people on both sides of the Atlantic are getting an F grade when it comes to basic healthnutrition and fitness knowledge. Part of the reason is because of myths that have been around forever. It’s human nature to believe in them. Everybody wants a quick fix.

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You don’t have to feel worked over

“The main issue I have with clients initially is the intensity of training,” Shawn Fears, certified personal trainer and sports performance coach, says. “Because of high intensity programs like CrossFit and tough mud runs, I see a lot of people that think you have to feel worked over at the end of a session.” That's just not true. A training intensity that does not leave you sore the next day is an indication of a successful session, he adds.

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“No pain, no gain” is false

Every trainer disagrees with this popular myth. “Pain is not necessary to get results, and I prefer that my clients don’t feel pain,” Christine Lopez, fitness instructor, says. “I want exercise to be enjoyable for them, and for them to feel inspired and confident.” A little soreness or stiffness will sometimes occur after a tough workout, but too much pain will postpone the next workout due to the need for healing and rest, she adds, sabotaging your long-term goals.

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Lifting weights does not make you 'bulky'

Lifting can increase muscle mass depending on the type of training and how the acute variables are managed. “It takes considerable dedication to add mass and most people just don't put the kind of effort in necessary for a high level of hypertrophy,” Fears says. Women naturally have less testosterone than men, so they will not tend to get as bulky, Lopez adds. “Additionally, most people are lifting heavy, but not heavy enough and often enough to create the bulky frame,” she says.

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More of anything is not necessarily better

“Having approximately 48 hours of rest between workouts, particularly strength training, is crucial,” Nicole Leisen, certified personal trainer, says. “Without adequate rest between sets, the quality of future efforts becomes compromised while greatly increasing the risk of developing delayed onset muscle soreness (DOMS),” she adds. Cardio such as jogging, walking, cycling or swimming are great activities between strength training days. “It is also important to have up to two days of total rest during the week,” Leisen says.

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Don’t go to the gym every day

“The hardest thing for clients to understand is that more of anything is not necessarily better,” Lopez says. They often think more protein in their diet, more days of working out, or working out for more than an hour will get them closer to their goals. “I try to teach them to work smarter, not harder,” she adds.

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Don’t choose between cardio or lifting

Neither is more important for fat loss, Fears says. They are both suitable as long as a body is in caloric deficit. “What matters most is if the client enjoys what they are doing. The higher the level of enjoyment, the more likely a successful outcome is,” he adds.

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But if you have to, go for lifting

“They are both important, but lifting weights is the winner,” Leisen says. You can complete your strength training in a circuit format to keep your heart rate elevated, add in combo exercises (working more than one large muscle group at a time), or increase the weight in addition to speed, and decrease rest time. “This will have similar effects of a cardio workout and you will continue to burn calories after the workout is complete,” she adds.

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You can be overtraining and not feel physical pain

The first indications of overtraining are the inability to get a restful night’s sleep and irritability, Fears says. Other noticeable signs, according to Leisen, include elevated heart rate, especially in the morning, headaches, loss of appetite, feeling less “strong” or tiring easily. “It is important to be aware of what your body is telling you and if more than one of these signs last for more than a few days, scale back your training,” she adds.

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Machines are overrated

“Machines are not my first choice but they aren't as bad as they have been made out to be in the last 10 years of ‘functional’ training trends,” Fears says. Leisen says she does not recommend machines for the most effective workout. “Machines only allow you to work one muscle group and you are typically sitting down, which we do all day long.” A simple way to recruit even your core muscles would be to stand, she adds. Use a bicep curl as an example – grab some dumbbells, stand up, activate your core and you are already experiencing more muscle engagement.

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Don’t work out on empty stomach

The workout will suffer, Fears says. “I would rather see a client be able to push themselves hard if need be, not just physically but mentally. Not starving is a good place to start with that.” Lopez suggests half a protein shake or some BCAAS while working out. “A light snack an hour before is ideal, and a meal post workout to refuel,” she adds. Eat about 30 minutes after exercising and make the snack in 3:1 carbs/protein ratio to help repair muscles (something between 150-250 calories), Leisen says.  

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Exercising when you’re sick

“If it's systemic, stay home,” Fears says. “In other words if it's a fever with body aches, then it's best to see your doctor.” If you have the sniffles and just feel under the weather, then get a low level workout in. The consequences of a challenging program can set you back and make you more ill. “When in doubt, rest, rest, rest,” Leisen adds.

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Don’t start with running

“Starting with running is never a better option in my opinion,” Fears says. Most people need to train to be able to run first to minimize potential injuries. I lean towards strength training as a solid base first,” he adds. If you do cardio at the same workout as lifting weights, Lopez suggests lifting first when you have the most energy and you haven’t fatigued your muscles yet. “If you can, I would split them up. If you want to jog or run 5-10 minutes to warm up your legs for leg day, that would be fine.”

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Sweat does not equal results

Although, increasing your heart rate level near its max and completing challenging strength moves is important, it is also very important to focus on and mix in strengthening the core, working on balance, mobility and flexibility training, Leisen says. “All of these components combined make for a well-rounded workout, where, in my experience, people see the best results based on their goals.” It is all about balance.  

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“Don’t squat past your toes” is misleading

This varies from person to person. “Some people may have limited range of motion and others may have very flexible joints and may need a deeper ROM to properly engage,” Leisen says. “There should never be any pain experienced with squats or any exercise.” It’s more important that your back is not round and your hips are back, Lopez adds. “If you are doing that, most likely your weight is in your heels, and physiologically it diminishes the possibility of the knees past the toes.”

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Running on treadmill is not better than outside

Treadmill running can be a little easier on the knees than on pavement, mostly because of the cushion the belt on the treadmill provides, Lopez says. “I prefer clients to mix it up and sometimes run outside, and try different surfaces like a track, a dirt trail, the asphalt on a road, or the pavement.” The treadmill paces for you, but outside you must learn to pace yourself and navigate the terrain and natural incline on your path, she adds.

Top Fitness Myths Busted