Avoid These Top 5 Workout Myths
By Jim O'Connor
Do you know the health and fitness industry is plagued by an over abundance of workout myths? A myth is a fiction or half truth, especially one that forms part of an ideology. Rob tells Jen about a new fitness program that is suppose to deliver amazing results; Jen tells Ted, and Ted then tells Pam, but only half of what Rob said. Confused? Just image how confusing Rob's "cutting edge" theory has become. And the funny thing is, Rob made this up by telling people they will lose 3 inches from their bellies, and hips by holding their breath for 30 seconds. Rob, without any scientific backing, dreamed this all up.
The sad thing is most people believe what they hear from so-called uninformed myth spreaders. After consulting with thousands of people, I have heard every possible workout myth known to man, and continue to de-bunk myths daily. Listed below are my all time 5 favorite workout myths. Always look for the science and logic behind what people claim. Don't automatically assume it is true unless studies back it, or specific quantitative results are shown.
After reading my 5 workout myths, you will be able to finally protect your own workout results, and share the fitness truth with others.
Myth 1 - Doing crunches, or abdominal work will decrease fat in the stomach area (If you do thousands of crunches, then you will have a flat stomach.)
This is what some infomercials preach. They state you can obtain a flat, beautiful, stomach by using their simple ab machine. All you need to do is exercise 2 minutes per day, and voila!
Please note, dear reader, you can't SPOT REDUCE! By doing a specific exercise for a certain muscle does not make fat suddenly vanish. Fat is lost over time by burning more calories than the body consumes on a regular basis. Fat will then disappear throughout your entire body, and you don't have control of where it comes off. Doing a certain exercise for a specific muscle will only guarantee a stronger, more fit muscle.
The SECRET keys to fat loss are decreasing caloric intake, increasing activity for an extended period of time, and incorporating a workout of strength, cardio, and flexibility.
Myth 2 - Lifting heavy weight for 8-12 reps will build big muscles (especially women.) You should lift very light weights and do a lot of reps, 20 +.
This is one that NEVER seems to go away. It keeps coming back to haunt me again, and again, and again. Ladies, doing heavier weights WILL NOT suddenly turn you into the Incredible Hulk. Your objective should be to maintain, or slightly increase your fat burning lean tissue. In order to do this you must increase the intensity of the exercise by elevating weight, number of reps, or decreasing rest time between sets.
If you increase intensity regularily, you will see good results. If you do not, you will get the same results you have been getting. Increase the intensity until you are happy with the progress you have made, and then maintain the same intensity level.
Women, generally, don't have the physiological make-up to develop big muscles unless they use steroids, and train with gut busting intensity. Most men workout a lifetime, and won't build big muscles. Ladies, please don't worry; challenge yourself in the gym.
Here is a valuable free resource to help you stay informed of the health, and fitness trends by letting you know what works, and what doesn't.
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Myth 3 - For resistance training, you need to do 3 sets of 10-15 reps, 3 exercises per body part, and a frequency of 3 days per week.
Where the heck did 3 come from? 3 X 3 X 3? I think someone, many years ago, decided 3 was a good number to use, and people started to believe in this myth.
How many sets are really needed? According to scientific studies, the exact number of sets needed to stimulate lean tissue development is one, if preformed at 100% momentary muscle failure. A single all out set is the ideal stimulus to trigger lean tissue development. All other sets only hinder the recovery process when lean tissue develops.
Rest- people generally don't get enough rest between workouts. Please be aware that the higher the intensity, the more rest is required between workouts to allow lean tissue development. If you workout (strength train) too soon, before you are fully recovered, you will short circuit your results.
It is better to wait longer between workouts, then to workout not fully recovered.You WON'T lose your muscle tissue if you don't workout for 2 weeks.
Ideal rest times (depending upon intensity) are anywhere from 3 - 10 + days between strength training workouts.
You will need to track your progress to determine when your gains cease. When progress stops, increase your rest time even further.
If your strength keeps increasing during each workout, you are assured of getting optimal rest between sessions.
Myth 4 - All I need to do is cardiovascular training to be in shape.
Wrong! Please don't make this mistake! Cardiovascular exercise is only one piece of the workout puzzle. To design an optimal fitness program, incorporate cardiovascular exercise, strength training, and flexibility into an efficient, results producing program.
Cardiovascular exercise will do very little to increase your flexibility, and maintain or increase your lean tissue. If you avoid any of these three components, you are decreasing your results by one third.
As a result of the aging process, on average, 5-7 pounds of muscle is lost each decade, that is, if you don't strength train.
Myth 5 - All fitness equipment is good if you use it.
All fitness equipment is not created equal, especially home fitness equipment advertised in infomercials. Some pieces of fitness equipment are not well built, and can cause injury to specific individuals resulting from medical limitations.
My advice is to clear your exercise program with a physician prior to exercising or buying home gym equipment.
Another tip I recommend is never plan an exercise program without input from an Exercise Physiologist, Certified Personal Trainer, or Physical Therapist.
For additional health and fitness tips visit Wellness Word "Multimedia" Newsletter at http://www.WellnessWord.com
Jim O'Connor - Exercise Physiologist / The Fitness Promoter
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About The Author
Jim O'Connor, Beverly Hills celebrity fitness consultant, has conducted thousands of personal fitness consultations with celebrites, business executives, and highly motivated individuals throughout Los Angeles. He is the Chief Exercise Physiologist for Wellness WORD, LLC, a health, fitness, and nutrition promotion company. Jim is the author of a well known, world wide multimedia newsletter called Wellness WORD, published online every other week promoting the health and fitness truth. He also is the author of a popularebook called Home Gym Shopping Secrets.