Are you getting an A+ for effort when it comes to your workout routine but still not seeing results? There are so many urban fitness myths out there surrounding fitness commandments, it all gets a little confusing. So, to clear some things up, here are the 4 most common fitness myths… busted!
MYTH ONE: CRUNCHES GIVE YOU A FLAT STOMACH
There are so many infomercials with different pieces of equipment that would lead you to believe that working a particular muscle will help you burn the fat from above. This is totally not the case and is a myth called “Spot Reduction” – essentially it means you can’t pick and choose where your body burns fat! The burning feeling you get from any exercise is from a lactic acid build up as a by-product of exercise NOT because it’s burning fat.
Surprising Truth: Crunches themselves are actually quite an ineffective way of getting a strong abdominal section – Mountain climbers, Planks, Bicycles and even Overhead Squats are a better choice for improving your core strength.
In terms of flattening your stomach – this relates more to ensuring you eat whole foods in nourishing amounts that don’t create an inflammatory response in your body and make you feel puffy and bloated.
MYTH TWO: WEIGHTS MAKE YOU BULKY
Women often say things to me like “I don’t want a crossfitters body” or “ I don’t want to be bulky” . It’s kind of like saying “ I don’t want to drive a car in case I become a professional race car driver!”
Surprising Truth : Firstly, women just don’t have enough testosterone in their bodies to build up a stack of muscle.
Secondly, muscle is really quite hard to build, and quite easy to lose. Most women would expect to build maybe 2 kilos of lean, toned muscle over a 12 week period. – which actually raises your metabolism so you’ll start to see all your hard work on the outside much more easily.
Lastly – for women who do find themselves getting bulky with a weights program it means that there’s something going wrong with their nutrition first – not their exercise program.
MYTH THREE: THE FAT BURNING ZONE
Have you ever noticed the difference in physiques of a marathon runner versus a track sprinter ? If long, slow, steady-state aerobics was the key to fat loss every person who crosses the finish line of a marathon or Ironman would have very low body fat , and every sprinter would have much higher body fat – and this just isn’t the case.
Surprising Truth: The idea that you must keep your heart rate between 140 and 160BPM in the “Fat Burning Zone” is actually a misinterpreted theory.
Yes – your body will depend on a greater portion of fat to fuel the steady state aerobic exercise – however the overall energy expenditure will be lower than workouts at a higher intensity. So somebody working out in the Fat Burning Zone won’t necessarily mean they will get faster results than somebody who uses all different types of workouts.
Exercise isn’t supposed to be about how many calories you’ve burnt – it’s about the cascade of hormonal benefits that occur long after you’ve finished. Ideally it’s best to keep your workouts varied and include both steady state and high intensity workouts – plus it’s way more fun to keep your body guessing !
MYTH FOUR: MORE EXERCISE IS BETTER
Most people do need to workout more regularly, but sometimes people take healthy to an unhealthy extreme. Smart athletes who want a long career always make sure they place as much importance on their recovery as they do with their training. You might be surprised to know that the results actually happen during the rest and recovery time – NOT during the workout itself!
Some fitness myths would have you believe – if you burn 1000 calories in a workout, then it’s okay to eat 1000 calories for a treat night.
Surprising Fact : Actually, the time it takes to burn an excessive number of calories means that you’ll need to exercise for over an hour (or even 2 ) which increases the risk of repetitive strain injury, puts your body into an elevated stress response and starts pumping out the stress hormone Cortisol. Elevated cortisol levels actually makes it MORE difficult to achieve a lean, fit and healthy body AND makes you crave fattier foods and more of them.
A high intensity workout 3 times a week for around 20 minutes or around 45 minutes of low intensity cardio most days of the week is heaps ! Make sure you include some specific core and stretching workouts like Yoga or Pilates and you’ve got yourself a balanced routine.