For some inexplicable reason, myths in the fitness and weight loss world die harder than those anywhere else. If, for example, you mention getting in shape, especially weight loss and fat loss, people invariably begin chattering away about cardio and aerobics. A whole lot of people still think that extended aerobic activity, or cardio, is the best way to boost their metabolism and burn fat. But it's not.
let's do a little myth busting . . .
Are Safer than Free Weights
probably heard this from lots of people at the gym and from a good
number of trainers as well. Yes, machines have their place and their
uses (often for rehab purposes). But, generally, free weights can be
much safer than machines – if you concentrate on and strive to
maintain good form with every movement and exercise.
weight machines, you are locked into a fixed movement path. And
this fixed path is often unnatural, which puts extra stress on your
joints because your body can't follow the path it naturally wants to
take. Smith machine squats, for example, are notoriously bad for your
knees. "[T]he very fact that the machine allows less freedom of
movement can also set you up for injury: If you don't lean far enough
forward during a squat, you can strain your back and knees"
more though . . .
because you don't have to steady the weight, as you would with free
weights, the smaller stabilizer muscles surrounding your joints never
get any work. What this means, then, is that using machines
exclusively could lead to injury in the long run. "Shawn
Arent, Ph.D., an exercise scientist at Rutgers University,
recommends free-weight squats because you'll activate more
stabilizing muscles than you would with a Smith machine."
Before a Workout Prevents
You've seen runners especially – at the park, on TV, and everywhere else – doing all those stretches before taking off on their run.
Actually, though, they may be courting injury rather than preventing it.
wisdom (the accepted myth) says that you should always stretch before
a workout. In reality, though, pre-stretching doesn't increase range
of motion and can make your joints unstable, which may lead to
injury. So be sure to warm up before a workout, but save the
stretching for afterward, when it can have some limited benefits.
scientific jury is still out, but consensus is leaning toward no real
injury-prevention benefit with stretching before physical activity.
Consider this . . .
is generally accepted that increasing the flexibility of a
muscle-tendon unit promotes better performances and decreases the
number of injuries. Stretching exercises are regularly included in
warm-up and cooling-down exercises; however, contradictory findings
have been reported in the literature. Several authors have suggested
that stretching has a beneficial effect on injury prevention. In
contrast, clinical evidence suggesting that stretching before
exercise does not prevent injuries has also been reported.
Apparently, no scientifically based prescription for stretching
exercises exists and no conclusive statements can be made about the
relationship of stretching and athletic injuries" (NCBI).
You Stop Working Out, Muscle
Will Turn Into Fat
a myth that refuses to give up the ghost among the general population
and people new to exercising and fitness. Probably because of faulty
post hoc anecdotal reasoning. It works like this . . .
know someone who used to work out religiously. And the person who
worked out got in great shape, lost weight, and added a significant
amount of muscle mass. But then the fitness fanatic quit working out.
And when the people who know him see him months later, they see a
wobbly overweight person who can barely climb the steps to his house.
Therefore, when you stop working out, muscle turns to fat.
that is a post hoc fallacy. Just because one event follows
another, that doesn't necessarily mean the former event caused the
is impossible, first of all, for muscle to turn into fat because they
are two very different kinds of tissue. What happens is that when
people stop working out, they inevitably lose muscle mass. And very
often they keep eating just the same as when they were working out,
when they needed more calories and had a bigger appetite. So they do
indeed lose muscle and gain fat. It just appears that the muscle has
turned into fat.
and Aerobics Are the Best Way to Burn Fat and Lose Weight
here's another myth that has had a long and tenacious life. Mostly
because it has been and still is propounded by many so-called fitness
gurus. But it's just flat wrong.
aerobic activity for metabolic enhancement and fat loss seems, on the
surface, to make sense. Jogging is physical activity that takes place
over an extended time period; that kind of activity burns a lot of
calories; and burning calories is the way to lose fat. Well . . . not
kind of activity matters, as well what is burned for fuel during that
activity. Jogging is a low-intensity activity that never gets your
heart rate very high. Because of that, jogging first burns available
carbs for fuel, then protein, and then fat last. And where do you
think your body gets the protein to burn for fuel? Some of it comes
from muscle. So, ultimately, jogging can cause you to lose muscle
mass while still retaining a good portion of your fat.
do in fact lose weight. But the problem is that you don't lose much
fat. The mirror, not your bathroom scales, should be the measure of
your fitness progress.
the Aerobics Myth
should you do, then, to lose the right kind of weight, look better,
and supercharge your metabolism. Just take a look at world-class
sprinters. There's your answer.
burst training, weight training in particular, can help you retain or
increase muscle mass while burning fat. An added benefit is that this
kind of exercise can keep your metabolism operating in high gear long
after the workout or training session is over. You can keep on
burning calories at a higher rate for up to 48 hours. When aerobic
activity ends, however, your body continues to burn only a few
calories and only for a short while.
here's something else to think about . . .
The caloric expenditure required to maintain one pound of fat is only two calories per day. But one pound of muscle expends 50
day. That means that increasing your muscle mass turns your body into
a calorie- and fat-burning machine. Aerobic activity, on the other
hand, because it causes you to lose muscle mass, results in a slower
metabolism that burns fewer calories – which makes it that much
harder to lose fat.
forget the aerobics, and engage in weight training and burst training
Ya Gotta Eat Right and Supplement
right kind of exercise, though, is only part of the equation for
fitness and weight loss. You have to eat right and supplement wisely.
nutrition is good idea, but even when you eat right, you could still
be poisoning yourself and retarding your fat loss. Like most of us
with busy, urban lives, you probably have no choice but to eat the
commercially produced foods sold in your local supermarket. Most of
these foods have been grown with the use of pesticides, hormones, and
antibiotics. There just no escaping it.
is a solution, but that's for another article . . .