Five Great Myths About Exercise

October 1, 2012
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Almost everyone who has ever set his foot inside a gym feels that he is knowledgeable enough to advice other people on fitness related issues. This is the main reason behind various myths that surround the subject of fitness and it is due to these myths that majority of the people are not able to reach their fitness goals despite their whole hearted efforts. To add to this sorry state of affairs is the lack of adept trainers, who could help gym goers distinguish facts from fiction and guide them to fashion their fitness strategies.

Almost everyone who has ever set his foot inside a gym feels that he is knowledgeable enough to advice other people on fitness related issues. This is the main reason behind various myths that surround the subject of fitness and it is due to these myths that majority of the people are not able to reach their fitness goals despite their whole hearted efforts. To add to this sorry state of affairs is the lack of adept trainers, who could help gym goers distinguish facts from fiction and guide them to fashion their fitness strategies. In this issue, I’ll try to dispel some of the greatest myths about exercise and weight loss that I have encountered in my career as a fitness trainer.

Myth No. 1: Aerobic exercise is enough to effectively control your weight.

Fact: What most people don’t realize that there is a lot of difference between losing weight and losing fat? They are hardly aware of the fact that losing weight also takes away a lot of lean body mass, which is not always healthy. As lean body mass goes down, your resting metabolic rate also takes a dip and then it becomes exceedingly harder to shed pounds. As a result, it is more likely that you will regain some or all of the weight you lost. On the other hand, if you engage in an exercise program that is designed to enhance your muscular strength and increase your lean body mass, then you are more likely to get leaner quicker. So, the optimal exercise prescription for healthy weight management is one that combines aerobic activity with strength training.

Myth No. 2: The more you sweat while exercising, the more body fat you lose.

Fact: It is the notion amongst many a people that the more one sweats the more fat one loses, which is wrong. One tends to perform his series of exercise clothed in warm attire and in a hot and humid ambience. Any resulting weight loss due to such profuse sweating, however, represents lost water, not lost fat. When you replenish your body’s stores by drinking and eating, these lost kilos return almost as fast as they had gone! So, always keep in mind, that you are not always losing fat if you sweat profusely while working out.

Myth No. 3: You can burn fat from specific regions of the body by exercising those areas.

Fact: This is possibly the most widespread misinformation about losing fat. I have seen many a fitness conscious people trying to lose those extra inches around their midsection by training their abdominals daily and then fail miserably. These people fail to understand that abdominal muscles are like any other muscles of the body and require time to recover. Moreover, training your abdominals will only strengthen your muscles and won’t do anything to lose fat or inches. It is often a pitiable sight to witness a person trying to shed those inches by performing side bends with/without dumbbells or a barbell, hoping to actualize the desired effect. These people fail to achieve anything in their quest of a lean physique because they waste their time in such useless and dangerous exercises instead of indulging in an aerobic activity that will make them lose fat much faster.

Yes, I term these exercises dangerous because they take a heavy toll on your lower back area. So, next time when you pick up a dumbbell or a barbell to do side bends or twists, pause for a moment and think logically and opt for an aerobic activity like running, jogging, cycling, etc.

Myth No. 4: Muscles will turn to fat when you stop exercising regularly.

Fact: Muscles can never turn to fat and the vice versa is also true. Muscle and fat are two entirely different and distinct tissues. Muscles surely adhere to the rule “Use it or lose it”. This means that if you do not regularly use your muscles, they will lose their size and strength. So, regardless of what people say, train with weights in order to keep your muscles strong and enjoy all the great benefits of weight training.

Myth No. 5: Training legs and shoulders will not allow a teenaged trainee to reach his full height potential.

Fact: This is one of the greatest myths that encapsulate most of the gyms and health clubs. The following of this myth has resulted to many a disproportionate physiques, weak lower back muscles and weak knees which all tend to make the trainee prone to injuries. Training legs and shoulders have no adverse effects on a trainee’s height. On the contrary, training legs can help a trainee grow in height. Puzzled? Here’s why, leg training requires use of some of the biggest and strongest muscles of the human body— the secretion of growth hormones is more in the leg compared to other areas. Growth hormone is the principal factor affecting growth. So, always train legs and reap the benefits. In all probability, this myth was circulated by people who were too afraid of intense workouts and opted for an easier route without understanding the perils.

So, friends, next time you step into a gym or a fitness centre, remember all these facts and train accordingly. In the next issue, we shall cover some common myths about nutrition, so till then, train regularly, eat right and stay strong.

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