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Five Fitness Myths You Might Believe

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Which of these 5 fitness myths might you believe?

1. Myth number one, in no particular order, is “no pain no gain.” I’m sure you’ve heard that one before. Many faithful gym-goers believe you can tell if you had a good workout based on the amount of pain you feel the next day. That post workout pain is called DOMS which stands for delayed onset muscle soreness. It was once thought that DOMS was caused by lactic acid build up in the muscle, but we now know lactic acid is gone from your muscles within an hour of your workout. Experts aren’t really sure about the exact cause of DOMS. Most believe it’s related to exercise induced muscle fiber damage to some degree, although there is no direct correlation between soreness and muscle damage. This is supported by MRI imaging showing it’s possible to have severe DOMS with little indication of muscle damage, and for severe damage to occur without DOMS. Another possible stimulus for DOMS is metabolic stress: there is some evidence that the build-up of hydrogen ions and reactive oxygen species may contribute to DOMS, since certain nerve receptors in muscle tissue can also sense chemical stimuli. So as with most things in science we don’t really know or understand completely what causes DOMS. But we know those newer to lifting weights tend to feel it more. And as their body adapts and gets used to weight lifting, DOMS decreases, but that doesn’t mean their workouts are any less effective. DOMS is NOT a reliable indicator of the effectiveness of a workout. So myth #1 “No pain no gain” is BUSTED.

Myth #2. I want to take a look at the idea that “low reps is for building muscle, and higher reps is for muscle *tone* and definition.” Research has demonstrated you can build muscle using low or high reps, as long as you’re progressively overloading the muscle, and your nutrition and recovery is on point. Muscle tone and definition are achieved by reducing subcutaneous fat just below the surface of the skin. In other words, muscle *tone* is achieved by eating less and losing body fat. The danger of switching from lower reps to higher reps in a calorie deficit is you risk needlessly losing strength and muscle mass. So whether you’re building muscle or losing fat, your workouts shouldn’t change that much. You will lose some strength and muscle mass in a deficit but the goal is to lose as little as possible by continuing to challenge your muscles. If you stop challenging your muscles, you remove the stimulus that tells your muscles to grow or stay big. So myth #2, “low reps is for mass and high reps is for muscle tone” is BUSTED.

The 3rd fitness myth I want to examine is this: “Weight training makes women bulky.” Ladies, if you’re afraid you’re going to get bulky looking from weight training or look like Arnold Swartzennegar in his prime, don’t worry, you’re not, you don’t have the right hormones. In fact women who weight train are more likely to lose inches rather than gain them. Many men wish this were true, that (quote) “weight training makes you bulky.” If that were true, every guy at the gym would be huge. This only happens if you are very purposeful and methodical about not only your training but your diet as well. Simply put, no one will ever get bulky by accident. So myth #3 “Weight training makes women bulky” is BUSTED.

Okay the number 4 fitness myth is the myth of “spot reduction,” or the idea that you can target a specific area of your body to lose fat. Most studies that have looked at this phenomenon have dispelled this myth, except for one. In 2017 a very interesting 8 week study was done using 16 physically inactive women, who were divided into two groups. One group resistance trained upper body only followed by 30 minutes of low intensity cycling, the other group resistance trained lower body only followed by 30 minutes of low intensity cycling. Both groups lost the same amount of total weight BUT the lower body group lost more fat from their lower body, and same with the upper body only group. Suggesting that a training program entailing resistance training followed by low intensity cardio MAY in fact target specific fat stores. It actually makes sense: the resistance training increases blood flow to adipose tissue in the target area, then the 30 minutes of lower intensity cardio, which we know uses more fat for energy, will use the fat stores released during the resistance training. Keep in mind you’d have to be in a calorie deficit to lose any fat in the first place. So this myth is NOT BUSTED. Generally speaking, the most stubborn areas of fat are the first to get fat when you gain weight, and the last to go when you lose weight. If you’re substantially overweight, I wouldn’t worry about spot reduction, however this might be a good tool to use at the end of a cut when you really want to target those stubborn areas.

Myth #5, “You can eat anything if you work out” or “exercise can erase or cancel-out bad eating habits.” Some people can actually appear to get away with this, IF their appetites aren’t out of control and they burn enough calories each day. But that doesn’t mean they’ll be healthy or feel their best. Of course the bottom line in weight control is calorie balance. And the bottom line in health is PROPER nutrition, not just eating the right amounts but the right TYPES of food. You hear me preach all the time about eating a balanced diet with plenty of fruits and vegetables, high in protein, low in high glycemic and processed carbs. So I would have to call this one a half-truth at best, and not true at all if health is a concern, so this myth “You can eat anything if you work out” is BUSTED.

You know, Jesus said “we’ll know the truth and the truth will set us free.” In context He was talking about spiritual truth, but the principle still applies: when we know the truth about something, then we are set free from believing lies, half-truths and exaggerations. Sadly the fitness industry is full of lies, half-truths and exaggerations. Consequently part of my job is to call out the BS and tell you the truth. Not always what you want to hear but what you need to hear.

On that note I’ve got good news and bad news: The bad news: there is no short cut or secret potion to make you lose weight or build muscle and get healthy. The good news: you CAN do it with the right tools and determination. If you’re ready to take your health and fitness to the next level, get my free calorie calculator combo. This is a free resource with an online calorie calculator that tells you how many calories you need to eat each day in order to reach your fitness goals. It also comes with a report on the top 5 calorie counting apps, which by-the-way most of those are free too. And it comes with the Spirit and Muscle Glycemic Index Food Guide, with nutritional recommendations and meal planning ideas to help you make healthy food choices. These tools WILL help you succeed. So if you’re ready to take your fitness to the next level, you can get these free resources by visiting the link below.

Okay that’s it for this article. Thank you for spending a little time with me today! If this article has helped you please share it so we can help as many people as possible!

God bless you, and I’ll see you next time…

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