Fitness Myths – Separating Fact From Fiction
There are some popular fitness myths, that for some reason, just won’t seem to die. These myths and misconceptions are often believed by both regular gym goers and new trainees, who often pass these myths on to friends, family, and co-workers.
1.) Crunches/Sit Ups will make your abs show
No. If you want your abs to show, you need to have a low body fat percentage. This is done by being diligent with your nutrition and recovery. You must be getting enough calories for your activity level and not over eating, focusing on whole foods, avoiding junk and processed foods, getting adequate protein, sleeping well, and getting in enough water …each and everyday. Your abs are “made in the kitchen” – no amount of abdominal work will make your abs show if they’re hidden under a layer of fat. Your abs might burn or feel sore after lots of sit ups, but that doesn’t;t mean they’ll show more if your body fat percentage isn’t low enough. The “crunches make your abs show” is one of those fitness myths that really needs to die already.
2.) Lifting weights, especially heavy weights, will make women bulky and manly
If there’s one of those fitness myths that we hear more than any other fitness myth, it’s this one. Lifting weights, even heavy weight, with proper form will not make women “big and bulky” or “manly”. Getting big and bulky isn’t even easy for men, and men have an easier time getting big and bulky than women do, due to higher testosterone levels.
Those men you see in magazines, or on the internet, who are big and bulky have to work REALLY hard to build and maintain their muscle mass. This means consistent and diligent attention to detail when it comes to their workouts and nutrition. They’re carefully taking in the right about of fats, proteins, and carbs for their activity level, eating multiple times per day (chicken, rice, veggies etc.), taking supplements, and training multiple times per week (or sometimes per day) in order to grow to their physique into the “big and bulky” look you see in the magazines. It’s not easy to look big and bulky as a man, and they’ve got a head start over most women (most of the time) due to their genetics.
So ladies, please don’t worry, heavy weights won’t make you look like Thor. In fact, lifting will provide you with the “toned” and lean physique that you’re most likely interested in attaining. Muscles is “metabolically expensive”, meaning it requires a lot of energy to build and maintain muscle. The more muscle you have, the easier it is to burn body fat because your body will use the extra calories stored in your body fat in order to grow or maintain your muscles mass. So if you want to look lean and “toned” you should be building and maintain your muscle mass.
Further more, strength training will enhance your aesthetic feminine qualities and features, such as hips, glutes (your butt), and legs as well as developing the arms, back, and abdominals that everyone is always after. Female action stars, fitness models, and most athletes did not develop their bodies by avoiding heavy weights and simply doing endless cardio – they lift weights and you should too.
3.) Squatting is bad for your knees
This is one of those fitness myths that has lasted a really long time, and is too complex not to discuss. Squatting is not bad for your knees. If you have a pre-existing knee injury, you need to make sure that you have done the prerequisite rehabilitation before you attempt to squat with weight once again.
But, if your knees are stiff, achy, or just don’t feel great and squats make it worse or don’t feel right- there’s probably some errors going on with your mechanics, approach, technique.
Let’s get this out of the way – the squat is an essential human movement, not an exercise.
You need to be able too squat in order to stand up and sit down. There are hundreds of ways, if not thousands of ways, to perform the squat as an exercise – so there is a VERY good chance that there’s a variation that will suit your needs and feel alright for your individual body. You don’t just need to barbell back squat in order to be “squatting”.
If your knees don’t feel great during your squats, perhaps your technique needs to be assessed. Having a skilled trainer (like any of our Wynn Fitness Personal Trainers) look at your form, and provide you with tips and corrections will go a long way to making sure you’re not putting disadvantageous wear and tear on your knees – or the rest of your joints. There might also be a mobility issue coming from your hips or ankles that could be putting putting too much stress on the knees – something that could be spotted and corrected by a trained professional. It could just take one small difference in your form, or a few small mobility exercises, to make squatting smooth and pain free.
With correct form, regular practice, and attention to detail squatting can actually improve the quality of your knee function and health.
4.) Workouts need to exhaust you or they’re not effective
Any workout, any trainer, can make you tired – it takes real skill to make you better. Out of all the fitness myths, this one is dangerous. You DO NOT need to be crushed and exhausted after each workout in order for it be effective.
You could jump up and down, shaking your arms like snakes, and kicking the air like a ninja for 30 mins and you’ll be exhausted – but it won’t make you better.
Training is about improving your weaknesses and enhancing your quality of life, while working towards specific goals. This means that training isn’t always exciting, or cool and sexy, but it has to be specific and make progress towards your goals each time you perform your program.
An experience trainer will develop a program that actually builds you up, by adding just enough stress on your body that forces it to change in a steady and healthy way. At the same time, they’ll make sure it’s not stressful that you burn out, get discouraged, or become sick and injured. When you’re just doing physically exhausting workouts, day in and day out, you’re just stressing your body out – which can eventually lead to injury, illness, or over training.
If you’re just exhausting yourself during your workouts, with no idea why you’re performing certain movements other than “they feel hard” or “they’re tough and look cool” – you’re not training, you’re just getting tired. You need to train with a purpose and a plan.
What to do now ..
If you don’t know where to start and need some guidance with your training, meet with one of our skilled personal trainers. If you want to avoid fitness myths and train using scientific principals, that get results, come down to your closest Wynn Fitness location and meet with us today. We’re here to help you be look and feel your best.