Wednesday, September 3, 2008

Workout Myth Busters

When it comes to working out, we are bombarded with opposing information and beliefs. It can get pretty confusing to sort through all the opposing advice. Here are a few of our favorite myths...

Myth: No Pain, No Gain
Fact: Come on people, if your muscles don't hurt, it doesn't mean you're not getting a good workout! While resistance training can be pretty intense, it doesn't have to be painful to qualify as a good workout! Listen to your body...there's a difference between the "pain" when you've reached failure (when you physically can't do any more!), and the "pain" of a torn ligament.

Myth: It's best to workout in the morning.
Fact: Workout WHENEVER it's convenient for you! I definitely prefer working out early in the morning, but since the birth of my second baby, waking up at 5:00 am feels like the middle of the night to me! I hope to get back to that early morning routine, but for now I'm fitting it in during nap time, or occasionally in the evening. It's more important to focus on getting that workout in than worrying about what time you're able to do it.

Myth: Pre-workout stretching will reduce risk of injury.
Fact: Post-workout stretching is much more important. Do a pre-workout warm-up, and a post-workout cool-down, followed by stretching. (And feel free to leave a comment if your opinion differs on this one...)

Myth: Lots of crunches will create a flat tummy!
Fact: There is really no such thing as spot-reducing! If you want to get rid of belly fat, bulging thighs, double chins, etc., it won't be achieved by working that specific area of the body over and over! (I'm picturing one of my mom's old workout videos where you held your hands on your neck, stretched your chin up, and let out a HUGE breath of air...workin' the double chin, baby!) Anyway, ab exercises define muscle, cardio exercises burn fat. If you have more muscle, you'll naturally burn more fat, but the real way to get that flat tummy, etc. is by what you eat, and the calories you burn! Also, when you lose fat, it comes off ALL OVER the body...not just one place at a time. So be patient, and it will come off! Just stop doing all those crunches! I usually skip the crunches, personally (although a good plank is always good).

Myth: Running is the best way to get in shape.
Fact: Running is actually pretty hard on your joints. You may get a great heart workout by running, but you'll actually burn about the same amount of calories walking a mile as you will running a mile. I personally LOVE running, but occasionally burn out and need a change of pace. Do whatever form of cardio exercise you enjoy (be it cycling, swimming, speed walking, the elliptical, jump roping, etc.) and whatever will keep you motivated for the long in for the rest of your life!

Myth: If you stop working out, muscle will turn to fat.
Fact: Seriously, people? They are COMPLETELY different, so no...they won't turn magically into each other. When you lose weight, muscle mass increases and fat decreases, so it may appear that the fat has turned to muscle. And vice versa. When your muscle atrophies (gets smaller), and fat increases, it may appear that the muscle has turned to fat. It doesn't work that way. Wouldn't it be nice, though, if we could wave the magic wand and turn the fat to muscle? If any of you figure out how that works...let us know!

Are any of you women afraid of resistance training for the fear of "bulking up"? Yet another myth. What other myths have you heard? (Workout related or not...we're dying for some comments here!)


Melissa said...

My physical therapist is the one that told me that stretching before a workout can actually hurt you. Always do your most stretching after you've worked out.

Christie said...

I've been working out with a trainer for almost a year now. Strength training really has made a difference for me. And no, women can't bulk up unless they do steroids. You're right on!

TamiAbbyKevin said...

Watch out for doing crunches and sit ups. Not the best way to work the ABS! The abs are postural muscles and we definitely don't walk around in a hunches position all day, so why would you do this to work out. Besides that, it can creat or worsen a diastasis ( a separation of the rectus abdominus muscle that comes from being pregnant or doing sit-ups and ab work wrong). Do work the abs by holding them in on all the work you do.
Planks are great, heel slides are great, holding the abs in as you do bicep or tricep curls or holding them every time you stand up from a chair has you working them all day long.

For more info check out the book "Lose your Mommy Tummy" by Julie Tupler

Kimberly said...

I try to remember to hold my abs in while I workout. Whether I'm running, dancing, or doing pilates. Might as well workout my abs too, right?

Erin said...

What's the rule on working out twice a day? Can it really help you lose fat faster? And I heard way back in a college aerobics class that if you work out after 8 or 9pm, then you could have a hard time getting to sleep at a good time. Is that true?

P.S. Christie...yes, women can bulk up and do without the use of steroids...I'm a living example!!