It’s difficult to get through a day without being bombarded with adverts and messages about our health. It’s exhausting; what is the truth and what is a clever branding strategy. Some of the messages are just appalling – take Fit4Less and their ‘Fat & Ugly’ campaign – there is NOTHING about this campaign that is helpful or motivational in the slightest. In order to be the fittest, healthiest versions of ourselves, we need to rid the world of the exercise myths and focus our efforts on being proud of the workouts we complete. Below I address some of the work out myths muddying the workout waters.
1. You Should Be Working Out Every Day
You want me to work out EVERYDAY? Nope Nope Nope. I just, I can’t – I’m dedicated but I can’t.
Matt Plowman from Cardiff Sports Nutrition is here to soothe our anxiety attack, “Working out causes the fibres in your muscles to break down. As they recover and rebuild, they become stronger – but they need rest days to recover properly.”
Set aside 1 or 2 rest days each week to give your body time to recoup and recover while you restore yourself mentally. That said, you can still keep active with some low impact exercise such as swimming, walking or some stretches to limber up.
2. You Can Focus On Losing Fat from Specific Areas
Forget ‘spot training’ – it doesn’t exist, it’s not a thing. Plank away, it’s not going to give you abs if you aren’t taking a comprehensive view to your fat loss. When you lose fat, you will lose it from everywhere on your body not from a specific part.
If losing fat (not weight) is your main objective, consider HIIT training; when you undertake intensive exercise, the body works overtime taking in oxygen to return the body to its resting state. As it works harder during this process, it burns more calories. You should also incorporate strength training, which bring me onto my next point….
3. Strength Training Makes You Bulky
Women don’t possess the same volume of testosterone as men!
‘That’s great, but what has that got to do with anything?’ I hear you say! Testosterone is the hormone responsible for enabling men to bulk up quickly. You have got to be PRETTY committed to bulk up as a woman.
Strength training will help you burn fat as well as build lean, toned muscles; it also means you can increase your calorie intake (tiny ‘yay!’) because the more lean muscle mass, the more calories you burn in your resting state.
4. If You Don’t Feel Sore You Didn’t Work Hard Enough
Do you love to hate the soreness and pain the next day? Me too. In fact, there have been times that I felt disappointed if I wasn’t pain the next day.
Apparently #nopainnogain can move on because muscle soreness is not an indicator of a good workout, it’s a sign that the muscle experienced a significant level of stress.
“Its possible to have an awesome workout and not experience any soreness or pain the next day” Matt adds, “It might just be that you are doing the right things in order for your body to recover. Getting enough sleep, staying properly hydrated during your workouts and throughout the day and refuelling your body post workout will all reduce the soreness you feel the next day”.
5. To Strength Train You Have To Go Heavy
Let’s swap the word ‘strength’ for ‘resistance’. Resistance training means that you are using a counter force to work your muscles, the force doesn’t have to come from heavy weights or machines that look incredibly difficult to get to grips with…
You can use your body weight effectively and yield some great results or you can opt for resistance bands, kettle bells or medicine balls. If you build up to using heavy weights, kudos to you – but don’t pressure yourself or you’ll risk becoming overwhelmed.
6. Sweating Means You’ve Worked REALLY Hard
“Fat is sweat crying” – No. No it isn’t.
“It’s true that your muscles create heat throughout your workout and your core temperature will increase, but the amount that you sweat doesn’t determine the effort you are putting into your workout”, Robert Bull at Rob’s Boxing Studio explains.
The air temperature is a factor, the body process of homeostasis means that the hotter you are, the more you will sweat to regulate your temperature. If you are working out in 30 degree heat, you can expect to sweat more than you would in 15 degrees. Not worked up a sweat? Don’t beat yourself up.
There you have it, 6 myths that may have been making you question your work out efforts…vanished! Now after all that HIIT and resistance training, why not treat yourself to some clean banana and date ice cream and catch up on Stranger Things on Netflix? Al in the name of recovery of course.