Sunday, December 11, 2011

5 Myths Exposed






The fitness industry is flooded with hundreds of myths. No matter where you go, you are bound to run into a self proclaimed fitness expert who tells you the new "magic" exercise for getting a six pack or a special food that you "must" eat. There are just too many myths to get into all of them today but I'm going to go over five in particular which seem to be the most relevant.

Spot Reduction: This refers to the ability to burn fat in a specific area of your body. Perhaps you are going to the beach in a couple of weeks and want your abs to show. Who cares about losing fat on your legs, no one will see them anyway right? Unfortunately, you can't control where your body will burn fat. No matter how many situps you do, you won't be burning anymore belly fat. The situps will burn calories but those calories won't be stripping directly off of your abs. Everybody burns fat differently. You may be lucky and lose all your fat from your abs first. I'm one of those people. Some people may lose fat steadily throughout their bodies. Others will lose fat in their back before their front and some will lose fat in their lower half before their upper half and vice versa. It's highly individual. The only part that applies to everybody is that you can't choose where you lose the fat.

Toning: This refers to making a body part more "toned" or leaner usually through high rep exercises. This myth probably started with the belief that by doing more reps, you are burning more calories and therefore losing more fat. Unfortunately, this logic is flawed. You can't make a body part leaner by doing higher reps. You may be burning slightly more calories by performing an extra couple of reps but those extra calories will make a negligible difference in your fat loss. The only way to lose fat is by changing your diet. Keep doing your high reps if you truly enjoy it but don't expect to get much out of it.

Cardio and Bulking: I can't even count all the times I have heard a person say that they haven't done cardio in months because they are bulking. Bulking is no excuse not to do cardio. Health should be the number one concern before achieving your goal physique. A couple of sessions of cardio per week can go a long way in maintaining a healthy heart. If health is of no concern to you, then do cardio because it will aid in muscle recovery, help utilize nutrients, stimulate your appetite so you can eat more, and burn fat so that you make leaner gains. It will also keep you in cardiovascular shape so that when you decide to cut at a later time, you won't have the stamina of an obese elderly man with bronchitis. Cardio will not hinder your progress whatsoever. It will only help. Three cardio sessions for 20 minutes after your work outs per week or a couple of HIIT sessions on your off days is sufficient.

Soreness and Muscle Growth: I know I'm not the only one who wakes up the day after a solid work out and checks to see if my muscles are sore. It's easy to get caught up in believing that sore muscles means you had a solid work out. However, soreness is not an indicator of growth. Soreness is a result of performing exercises that your body isn't accustomed to doing. That's all it is. Think about it this way. If you change your routine completely one day, you will most likely be more sore than usual the next day. If you do the same routine every week for a month, your soreness the next day will gradually decrease and may even disappear all together in a few weeks. Does this mean you are no longer getting a benefit from your work out? Of course not. You are still getting the benefits. Your body is just more accustomed to the routine so you aren't getting as sore.

Carbohydrates at Night One of the most common pieces of advice you will hear is not to eat carbohydrates after 8:00 pm. It is believed that since you are no longer active at night, the carbohydrates won't be burned as energy and instead will be stored as fat. This is false. You can eat carbohydrates whenever you want to. Carbohydrates eaten at night are no more likely to be stored as fat than carbohydrates eaten for breakfast. The important factor is your overall macro nutrients for the day. As long as your total macro nutrients for the day are the same, eat your carbohydrates whenever you want to. Now, if you are very inactive at night, it might make sense to eat less of your daily carbohydrates then simply because you don't need as much energy. Eating more carbohydrates before and after your work outs may lead to better overall performance so keep that in mind when planning your diet. Just don't be afraid to eat carbohydrates at night.

2 comments:

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