Whether you’ve set your sights on achieving a certain fitness goal or on sculpting the body of your dreams, you might be hearing advice that could be getting in the way of your workouts.
Widespread, though well-intentioned, fitness myths could hinder your performance, cause injury, or decrease the effectiveness of your fitness program. We’ve taken a look at three of the most common misconceptions to help you get the most out of your workout.
MYTH: I can reduce fat in certain areas of my body by targeting specific muscle groups.
TRUTH: A common example of this “spot reduction” theory is the belief that performing hundreds of sit-ups and other abdominal exercises will lead to a decrease in belly fat. Though not completely wrong, as performing abdominal exercises will lead to an increased caloric expenditure and potential weight loss, it is misleading. Your body’s fat storage is predetermined, and so losing fat follows the same idea. A recent study analyzed this theory by having subjects exercise only their right leg. Over time, their full body fat percentage had decreased, but their right leg had not changed. To simplify this; one may do abdominal exercises every day only to find that their arm circumference has reduced and their waist circumference hasn’t changed. The bottom line? You need to reduce your overall fat percentage to get that waistline to where you want it. Ask your Copeman Kinesiologist for guidance on where to begin.
MYTH: I don’t strength train because I don’t want to get “bulky” or gain too much muscle mass.
TRUTH: Strength training is an important part of fitness. It is associated with numerous health benefits such as lower risk of mortality, lower risk of developing physical limitations, increased muscular strength, and improvements in body composition, blood pressure, and blood glucose control. It isn’t uncommon for individuals – especially women – to avoid strength training because they believe they will gain too much muscle mass. What these individuals do not understand is that the muscle growth that they are avoiding requires specific training performed at a higher frequency than what general guidelines suggest. Those who desire an increase in muscle size plan their repetitions, sets, and rest periods to cater towards their goals. Their dietary intake is strategic in order to support their muscular gains. General strength training recommendations are designed to increase muscle strength, endurance, and power. While muscle growth will occur when an individual adds weight training to their exercise program, this will not occur to an extent that is commonly perceived.
MYTH: If I get the recommended 30-60 minutes of exercise five times per week, I can be lazy for the rest of my time.
TRUTH: Recommendations for aerobic exercise are as follows: 3-5 moderate intensity exercise sessions per week that last 30-60 minutes. Following these recommendations leads to health benefits such as lowered blood pressure, blood glucose control, decreased cholesterol and an increased fitness level. However, it is important to consider what else you are doing with your time. “Activities of daily living” are generally less intense, short bouts of physical activity that still affect your health and fitness. It is important to maintain these daily levels, even when you add vigorous exercise to your routine. Examples include taking the stairs, household chores, and choosing to walk instead of drive.
Get on the right path to a healthier, safer and more enjoyable workout. Contact your Copeman Healthcare Kinesiologist today to answer any questions you may have or to help you make the most of your fitness plan.