When I first started bodybuilding in High School, it was hard to get factual information and advice. It was easy to be misguided by the biggest gym rat impressively racking up plates at every machine. After all, he’s big for a reason. He must be doing something right…right? After years of training, I now have the experience and the wisdom to realize the things I did wrong and the misinformation I was given. Here are the top five fitness myths that plague your gym.
Fitness Myth #1: NO PAIN, NO GAIN
Anyone serious about lifting has heard this mantra before. It is true up to a point. After a good workout it is normal to feel a little muscle soreness (DOMS). However, if the soreness is so great that you feel impaired, you are over-training. Unfortunately, this is how people get hurt and thrown out of commission with sometimes permanent injury to themselves.
Quality Not Quantity!
When you are over-training, you do more damage to your muscles fibers faster than your body can recover from. You can actually lose gains or even tear a muscle/tendon because of this. To prevent over-training, keep your workouts to 60 minutes or less and monitor the volume of your workouts. Smaller muscles like biceps and triceps don’t require more than 12 sets to effectively train. Remember, its quality not quantity. You need to gauge yourself and see what works best for you.
Fitness Myth #2: Spot Reducing
Got a muffin top? Many people seem to think that doing more abdominal related exercises will trim the fat off their midsection revealing that awesome six pack underneath. WRONG! This is known as spot reducing. It is not possible to reduce fat in one particular area simply by doing more exercises for that body region. In order to trim the fat in one place, you must lose fat everywhere overall. These trouble areas exist because your body is genetically predisposed to store fat in these specific areas. The most effective way to lose fat is a combination of both exercise and diet to create a caloric deficit.
Fitness Myth #3: Light Weight and High Reps for Definition
If you’re leaning out, there is no reason to change the amount of weight/reps you use to increase definition. Using a lighter weight with higher reps does in fact burn more calories but there are more effective ways to do this. Use aerobic exercises to burn calories instead. This includes running, elliptical, rowing machine, calisthenics etc. Any exercise that gets your heart rate up to your target heart rate is going to burn more calories and help you lean out. You can calculate your target heart rate by using the formula
(220- Your Age) * Intensity = Target Heart Rate
Intensity can range anywhere from .5 to .85 (50% to85%). Choosing the right intensity will largely depend on your Age and you physical fitness condition.
|Age||Target HR 50-85%||Maximum Heart Rate, 100%|
|20 years||100-170 bpm||200 bpm|
|30 years||95-162 bpm||190 bpm|
|35 years||93-157 bpm||185 bpm|
|40 years||90-153 bpm||180 bpm|
|45 years||88-149 bpm||175 bpm|
|50 years||85-145 bpm||170 bpm|
|55 years||83-140 bpm||165 bpm|
|60 years||80-136 bpm||160 bpm|
|65 years||78-132 bpm||155 bpm|
|70 years||75-128 bpm||150 bpm|
Fitness Myth #4: Women should not lift weights
It’s surprising that even today many women still believe that lifting weights is going to make them less feminine and turn into some bulky female bodybuilder. Nothing could be further from the truth. Many of these female bodybuilders in this sort of shape take performance enhancing drugs that induce changes in their body that are more masculine. Naturally, this wouldn’t be possible. The truth is, weightlifting allows women to accentuate their natural curves even more. Squatting, for example can help build and tone your glutes to give you more “junk in the trunk”. Don’t believe me? Do a google search for BSN Athlete Amanda Latona.
Fitness Myth #5: Protein Does Not Turn Into Fat
False! Protein has 4 calories per gram. Although this isn’t as much as fat (9 calories per gram), calories are calories. If you are eating more calories than you are burning, you’re going to be putting on some fat. That’s just plain simple. Aim to eat you required daily intake. Generally, 1 gram of protein per pound of body weight is sufficient. More is not always better.