Some of you may have already been the brunt of an April Fool’s joke today. Let’s clear up some fitness myths so you are not the brunt of any more jokes, especially in the gym.
1. The gym negates a bad diet- You cannot out exercise a bad diet. Don’t try it; I promise your diet will win every time! Hours and hours can be spent in the gym yielding few results because a person is only changing one piece of the puzzle. They use the excuse that they can eat whatever they want because their exercise offsets the excess calories taken in. The body does not work this way. Most people do not realize the amount of calories they actually consume and the amount of time it would actually take to burn it off at the gym. It takes much, much longer to burn off that cookie than it does to eat it!
2. Spot reduction works- Don’t feel like a complete fool if you have believed this one; it is not completely untrue. You cannot pick which areas from which you want to burn fat, but you can strengthen certain muscles by performing exercises focused on particular muscle groups. By strengthening these muscles, you will tone areas and create shapely muscles. Now comes the second piece of the puzzle; to see these muscles you must burn off the excess layer of energy or “fat” to expose these beautiful muscles you have been working so hard for. Again, the gym does not outweigh your diet.
3. I’ve never been flexible and never will be- You make yourself inflexible by never training yourself to be. Yes, your muscles may have been tight all your life, but this is because you have never worked to train them to be anything but tight.
4. Weight training bulks you up- If you want to change the composition of your body you have to weight lift. Yes, even you, ladies; it’s not just for the guys. Lifting will not make you bulky; things like your diet and the way you train can lead to bulk. Female bodies are lacking enough testosterone to gain as much muscle mass as a male. Lifting weight will change your body composition by increasing the percentage of muscle throughout your body, leading to a higher metabolic rate and a lean, shapely figure.
5. If I’m not sore or in pain, I’m not working hard enough- Don’t seek soreness. It can come from many different factors that have nothing to do with the quality of your workout. Judge your workout by more than how sore you are. How do you feel mentally? Are you smiling? Relaxed? Have more energy? Feel accomplished?
6. Cardio and resistance training are two separate activities- Mixing the two together can be the best combination for fat loss and save you tons of time! While lifting in the gym take fewer breaks between sets or add cardio intervals in between sets. This will allow your heart rate to stay elevated and give you the weight training you set out to do with the added cardio component.
7. I need machines to get a total workout- Why not think of your body as a machine? Machines and free weights serve their purpose and can be an essential part of your routine, but don’t limit yourself. You will get stuck at some point if all you use is machines. There will be a time when these are not available to you. When performing body weight training, you are in full control of the weight (your own body weight). You are recruiting muscles, especially stabilizing muscles that tend to go unused during machine workouts. Body weight training allows you to mimic movements that you will actually perform in real life.
8. Muscle weighs more than fat- Muscle does not weigh more than fat. A pound of muscle weighs the same as a pound of fat. The difference is their density. As we gain muscle and lose fat, our weight may change very little even though our body composition is changing and we are becoming leaner. Don’t become discouraged if the scale is not going in your favor. That being said, don’t assume you are at a healthy weight; the number is just higher on the scale because of your muscle mass. Get tested! A body composition test is the only true measure of what your weight is actually made up of.
9. Recovery time is social time- Don’t let distractions get in your way. Hopefully you came to the gym with a purpose in mind. Do what you came there to do. Turn off your cell phone, put in your headphones, and stick to your plan. You will be amazed at how much you can accomplish in half the time when you are focused, then you will have more time to rest or socialize after your workout.
10. A tired mind is a tired body- Answering emails and phone calls, long meetings and appointments can make you feel drained after a full day at the office. Ditch the tired excuse. You might be tired of the work you have been doing, but your body may be looking to get rid of built up energy from the day. A tired mind does not mean a tired body! A workout can give you the extra energy and clear mind you are searching for.
Don't fall for those old tricks, re-establish your health for a better you!