As a trainer, I've had to answer a number of questions about the many fitness preconceptions. Here's my top five list of those myths that always seem to exist on the gym floor:
1) "I don't want to look too big and bulky, so I'm just going to run for 45 minutes on the treadmill everyday."
- This is one of those fitness perceptions I see and hear everyday. Most people doing this not only want to lose weight but also want to look toned. In order for a person to tone their body and look slim, they need a good amount of cardiovascular exercise (e.g. running on a treadmill), AND ALSO a weight-lifting routine. I tell my females clients who wince at this thought that their bodies possess less testosterone than men, so they would have to lift VERY HEAVY weights EVERYDAY to look big and bulky.
2) "As long as I do a good workout, I can treat myself to a tasty pizza and some ice cream. It balances out."
- Sadly false. As much as it sucks, a large percentage of our fitness adventure comes down to eating right. We can absolutely kill it in the gym and really push our bodies to the limit, but it's all a waste if we don't eat right. Our bodies constantly need good sources of protein to rebuild muscle fibers, good carbs for energy and good fats to protect vital organs.
3) "Yoga is not really exercise, but just some way to de-stress and relax the body."
- Can you guess which part is false? Yep, Yoga is actually another great form of exercise. It helps stretch out the overactive muscles in our bodies and helps with muscle time under tension, which can improve balance and co-ordination.
4) "I want to put on muscle mass, so I'm just going to do some bicep curls."
- Sure...if you want huge arms, small shoulders and tiny legs. Those people wanting to build muscle should look at performing the 'Compound Movements' i.e. the exercises that target multiple muscle groups. Examples of these include the Squat, Deadlift, Bench Press and the Bent-Over Row. Hitting the larger muscle groups first is going to give you more 'bang for your buck'. As I tell a lot of my clients, you have to build the house before you can decorate it.
5) "Stretching is just a waste of time. I can still do my exercises and feel no different either way."
- What a rookie! Stretching is incredibly important for keeping the muscles loose and the joints limber. For those who jump into a workout without any kind of warm-up or stretching protocol and just asking for trouble. For those who ignore it completely...well, get ready for a number of corrective surgeries in your near future!
Curious about other fitness myths? Check out our episode, "Debunking those Fitness Myths" where we breakdown their mis-truths!