Faulty fitness tips can acquire the form of believable myths.
In this extract from her new book, a popular city-based trainer digs for the truth In the world of fitness, there are plenty of myths and half truths. Some myths are just harmless half-truths, but others can actually be harmful. They can cause frustration in working out, and sometimes even lead to injury. There’s a lot of fitness information out there -some reliable, some not.
The important thing is to ask questions. If you don’t understand something, ask a qualified fitness professional for advice. One reason myths get started is that we all react to exercise a little differently. So what’s true for one person may not be true for another. That’s why you have to find your own things that are true for you. But there are still some fitness myths that just need busting.
MYTH YOU ONLY NEED TO EXERCISE IF YOU HAVE WEIGHT TO LOSE
FACT: Ever heard the term skinny fat? According to researchers at Mayo Clinic, US, over half of so called normal weight adults fall into this category. It has been defined as having more than 30 per cent body fat for women or 20 per cent for men. Too much body fat puts you at the same disease risk as an obese person -you’re just more likely to suffer from undetected diabetes.
MYTH SIZE ZERO
FACT: Size zero is a dress measurement, not your figure. And this so-called size zero can be attained if you stop eating and exercise to within an inch of your life. Size zero means you are bordering on anorexia, and that is neither healthy nor beautiful.
MYTH LIFTING HEAVY WEIGHTS BULKS YOU UP
FACT: Weight training actually helps women slim down instead of bulk up, since women have much lower testosterone than men. In a study at Central Michigan University, US, researchers had women train one arm doing a just a few reps of a heavy weight and the other doing more reps with a lighter weight (both lifting an equivalent number of pounds).
Surprise: The heavy lifters got stronger, but gained no more size than the arm lifting the lower weights.Ladies, weight training is very good for you. It will lead to increased metabolism and strength, lower risk of osteoporosis, and a smaller waistline!
MYTH AB EXERCISES WILL GIVE YOU A FLAT STOMACH
FACT: The only way to get a flat stomach is to strip away the fat around the midsection. This is accomplished by doing cardio aerobic exercise to burn calorie, weight training to increase metabolism and following a proper diet. Abdominal exercises will help to build muscle in your midsection, but you will never see the muscle definition unless the fat in this area is stripped away.
MYTH NO PAIN, NO GAIN
FACT: Exercise should not be painful. At the height of your workout, you should be sweating and breathing hard. It’s important to distinguish between muscle fatigue -what people at my gym call “the burn” -and muscle pain, which is sharp and uncomfortable when you move.Pain is your body’s way of telling you that you’re doing something wrong. Listen to your body. If it’s painful, stop.
MYTH CARBS ARE BAD
FACT: If you want to gain muscle, you’re going to need carbs. If you take them out completely, you’ll burn more body fat during training perhaps, but you can’t keep it up for long. Carbs are fuel for intense workouts, fats are not. You need a minimum amount of carbs to ensure that your brain functions properly.The brain needs glucose to work.Your body can be
ketonic and use fatty acids to fuel your muscles, but your brain can’t.
MYTH PROTEIN SHAKES ARE GREAT FOR WEIGHT LOSS
FACT: Most shakes are a mix of cheap protein, vitamins, sugar and coloring agents. It’s not that they’re inherently bad for you, but that they won’t keep you full. Whole foods have more fiber and take up more stomach volume, which keeps you feeling satisfied. They also require more digestive work, so use more energy and keep the metabolism up.But if you just have to drink them, look for high-end whey protein and add some fats like nuts or oil to increase satiety.
MYTH EAT ONLY EGG WHITES AND NOT THE YOLKS
FACT: Egg yolks have been having a bad rep for a long time -they are supposedly bad for your cholesterol. A study by the University of Connecticut, US, found that the fat in the yolks helped to reduce LDL, or the bad cholesterol. The yolk contains most of the vitamins and minerals in the egg, plus half the protein. Since an egg white-only breakfast is nearly fat-free, it will cause a significant insulin spike and promote hunger cravings as well as energy swings later in the day.
MYTH SHOULDN’T EXERCISE DURING YOUR PERIOD
FACT: This is absolute rubbish! Menstruation is a normal function. Your period is not a disability; you can do anything during your period that you can do when you’re not menstruating.In fact, exercise releases endorphins -the body’s natural painkiller. This means that light workouts will reduce period cramps and pains.
-Extracted with permission from Total Fitness: The Leena Mogre Way