Categorized | Building Muscle

Fitness and Health Tip Myths

If you’ve just begun a new exercise programme or are considering losing weight then it is highly likely that you will be bombarded with advice and tips from friends or media sources such as the internet. However, a significant amount of the information you will receive may be inaccurate or may even increase the risk that you will be injured. This article looks at some of the common myths that surround exercise and weight loss.

No-pain, No-gain

No-pain, no gain is a mantra that we all have heard at some stage or another. However, it is extremely dangerous advice and should be ignored. Pain after exercise is normal, pain whilst exercising is an indication that you may have an injury or you are exercising incorrectly. If you become aware of pain or discomfort during exercise then you should listen to your body and back-off. Do not try to work through the pain (or mask any pain with medications).

If you have a pain that is stabbing, sharp or causes numbness then stop and consult your health care professional, be it doctor, physiotherapist, remedial massage therapist or chiropractor for example. Similarly if you have a pain that does not go away within a couple of days of the activity then again you should talk to a health care professional.

Ab machines will help get rid of that belly

Do you really believe those late-night informercials that using an ab-machine will get rid of your spare tyre?

In order to see those well-developed abdominal muscles then you must reduce overall levels of body fat (if you have a layer of fat over your stomach). An abdominal machine may help develop the abdominal muscles but the body stores fat in specific places. Abdominal exercises tone and tighten the underlying muscles but they don’t burn the fat around your stomach. It is not possible to pick and chose where the body will burn fat.

If you wish to reduce your waist size then you have to raise your metabolism by doing fat-burning exercises and combine with a sensible diet. A good balance of cardiovascular and strength training with low-fat diet will provide the life-style balance to get rid of that belly.

Your results will get better the longer you exercise

It seems logical that the longer you exercise for then the more weight you will lose. However this may not be the case. It is correct that the more you exercise then the more fat your body will burn (which is obviously good). However, there is a corresponding increase in the production of cortisol, a hormone that results in your body storing more fat to use as fuel for the next time you exercise.

It appears as though exercising for 3/4 of an hours is about the right amount and if you enjoy exercising more than this time during the day then to maximise weight loss you should only exercise for around 45 minutes at any one time.

Level of post exercise soreness is not an indication of an effective workout

A lot us of use muscle soreness as a measure of how effective a workout has been. Whilst a little soreness is to be expected if you are getting back into exercise (or are changing your exercise routine), if you are still sore a few days after a workout then it is likely that you have overdone it. In addition, if you are sore after every session then you are never giving your body time to recover.

An effective warm up and stretching post exercise are the best ways to avoid delayed onset muscle soreness. If you do feel sore then take it easy for a day or two, have a remedial massage and then return to doing your exercise, albeit with a reduced intensity.

Eating more protein will bulk up your muscles

If you want to bulk up, then many bodybuilders claim that you must have a high protein diet. However, adding muscle bulk depends upon two things, firstly using sufficient weight to stress the muscles beyond normal resistance levels and secondly, eating more calories than you burn.

Whilst it may seem clear that protein is the better source for building muscles, according to some Dietitians, muscles rely on calories so you need all of the food groups, carbohydrates, proteins and fats, in balance. If you diet is too high in protein then there are risks of strain on the kidneys and/or dehydration.

Yoga helps for all back pain

Yoga is a great exercise for the body and mind. However, it may not be suitable for all sufferers of back pain. If your back pain is purely related to muscle tightness then the yoga stretches will help. Core strength may also improved from performing good yoga postures.

However, if the back pain is related to the joints and discs then yoga (or any exercise for that matter) should only be attempted with the approval of your doctor or physiotherapist.

These are just some of the exercise myths that abound. One reason why they may begin is that we all respond slightly differently to exercise, what is valid for one person may not be correct for another. Exercise should not be complicated, use common sense and keep it fun. Eating a balance diet and working up a sweat when you exercise will keep you moving in the right direction. If you have any concerns or questions then just discuss them with your doctor, physiotherapist or massage therapist to ensure that any exercise is appropriate for you.

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