Time To Bust Open Some Exercise Myths

How many of you have found yourselves confused when it comes to exercise?

Whether it’s how many reps you need to do to build muscle or how long you need to run for to burn fat.

I admit it is confusing!

In the world we live in today information is everywhere if you want to know what is the best way to lose weight you can read it in a magazine, buy a book, ask a personal trainer, ask your mate, look on the internet, ask another personal trainer, ask a herbalife ‘expert’ go to weight watchers there is never ending information, but I guarantee there will be a difference in opinion.

With all this info surely everyone can’t be right and often the people in the position they are in don’t know enough about it to be there.

So what I wanted to do today was set the record straight, dispel a few exercise myths which have been floating around for a while and wasting people’s time and effort.

People shouldn’t just take the first thing they hear as gospel, if you see someone who’s in good shape doing an exercise a certain way it doesn’t mean he’s right.

So I’ve selected 5 of my top exercise myths which I see day in day out in the gym and give you an alternative.

Ex Myth 1: Sit Ups Give You Abs

Sorry to say but this doesn’t work. I read (I guess it may not be right bearing in mind what I’m talking about today) you’ve got to do 250,000 crunches to burn a pound of fat, which makes sit ups for abs pointless pretty much.

Spot reduction doesn’t work, you can’t just pick an area, work the muscle there and expect the fat to melt away, it’s not that simple. The amount of people that say to me I need an exercise to get rid of this and then point to their stomach is unbelievable. You don’t need A exercise you need a lot of regular exercise and you need to eat well, that’s all there is to it really.

Don’t waste your time doing sit ups and crunches to try and burn stomach fat and get a six pack this may build the abdominal muscles but it doesn’t change the fact you have a big layer of fat covering them, perform full body strength training with big movements not isolation exercises, high intensity cardio and eat clean healthy natural foods. I’m not saying core training isn’t important but for weight loss it is ineffective.

Ex Myth 2: Weights Make Females Bulky

Working in a gym when taking new females through an induction I’d say at least 50% of the ladies say to me they don’t want to do weights as they don’t want big muscles. If you don’t perform resistance training you miss out on so much. You will not be able to build the body you want plus you will further down the line struggle with everyday tasks as you won’t have the strength to do things as simple as get something out of a top cupboard.

Females please don’t worry, you don’t have the required testosterone in your body to build any real muscle, so try some weights to help improve your body shape, boost your metabolism, burn fat and make your life much easier.

Ex Myth 3: Long Cardio Is Better For Fat Loss

I can’t believe that people still think that the best way to lose fat is to spend 45 mins + on an exercise machine, I’ve written many an article about the big benefits of high intensity interval training vs long steady boring cardio. Fitness wise long cardio is important and it is good for beginners to build up their fitness but as far as for fat loss it doesn’t come close to interval training. Working in a gym I’d say there is still 80% of the people who use the cardio machine still do continuous training and no offence to many hard working people but they aren’t in the best shape yet they do this 4-5 times a week.

Interval training isn’t just for young people who can sprint. If you are used to walking then try jogging for a little bit and then go back to walking and keep this up 10-12 times, your workout can be done in half the time with as close to twice the benefits if you do it right. You need to have a reasonable level of fitness first to try interval training but once you have you will see some great results no matter how old/fast/fit you are.

Ex Myth 4 – The Elusive Fat Burning Zone

Moving on from ex myth 3 many people perform this cardio as they are looking for the fat burning zone. The period when your heart rate is between 60-70% maximum heart rate where the body is most efficient at burning fat, sadly it takes you about 30 mins to get to this zone where if you had been doing high intensity interval training you would have got twice the benefit and be on the way home by then!

HIIT burns calories for 24-48 hours after training as it has such a big metabolic effect, long cardio doesn’t burn hardly any after you step off the machine.

Ex Myth 5 – Supplements

This one is slightly nutritional rather than just exercise. Just a quick one to say that you don’t need to buy protein powder in order to gain muscle. I see so many people especially young males aged 16-early 20s just hammer down the protein shakes and lift weights. I use protein shakes but I’ve seen people take 3-4 a day and often replace meals with them in a bid to get their protein intake as high as they can to build muscle.

It’s true that proteins provide the building blocks of muscle growth but if you consume too much protein and your body doesn’t need it then it’s going to be stored as fat which is not what you want.

For people starting out I would recommend get used to strength training first, eat healthy and if there is a gap in your nutrition and you feel like you aren’t getting enough protein in then that is the time to have a post workout shake. Don’t just buy protein powder because you do weights.

SO there we have 5 myths which I’ve hopefully shed some light on.

There were a few more I could have picked but we’ll maybe keep that for another time.

Any ones you’d like to share? Comment below.

Take care and do it right,

Jamie Stedman

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