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Debunking 10 Fitness Myths

After tackling 10 popular Nutrition myths last week, it's on to the exercises this week for debunking 10 popular fitness myths

Myth 1 - Make sure your knees are not over your toes for Squats
The first myth in this blog is one I believed for quite a while and still see posted up online. The knees must not be over the toes for a squat. The last time I posted on Squat technique, the online trolls went to work on instagram so I’ll make sure this one is in depth. One of the reasons, I assume, that this myth was so popular was that having the knees over the toes would lead to knee pain. The main problem with not having your knees over your toes is that by leaning back, you are going to have more load on your lower back due to an un even weight distribution (assuming you are performing a squat with weight) and this can cause lower back pain. So the next time you perform a squat, make sure your heels are on the ground as the knees bend forward (not excessively) as you sit back into the squat. 

 Knees are clearly over the toes here but the form is just about perfect. If the knees are not above the toes here (lets say her ankle mobility is not great), there's a chance she's falling back with that weight. 

Knees are clearly over the toes here but the form is just about perfect. If the knees are not above the toes here (lets say her ankle mobility is not great), there's a chance she's falling back with that weight. 

Myth 2: Cardio for weight loss
I have a friend in the gym (mainly doing resistance training) that was getting frustrated that he wasn’t losing weight quick enough. “I just need to do more cardio, go for a run,” he would say. This simply wasn’t true and it is possible to lose weight while feeling and looking better by doing resistance training… along with getting your nutrition in order. Lets just say my friend’s nutrition plan isn’t always on point. It’s not that cardio is bad for weight loss. But if your primary goal is weight loss, resistance training is more taxing on the body and will therefore burn more calories in a quick amount of time than jogging.

Myth 3: Sweat is Burning Fat
Sweating during exercise has nothing to do with the amount of fat you’re burning. It’s the body’s way of cooling you down. Sweat is water loss which is why we need to drink water and stay hydrated when training. Just because someone is sweating more than the person beside them, it doesn't necessarily mean they are working harder or will get greater results.

 Great instagram post and quote... just not technically true. So when you're sweating in that job interview or presentation, you're not punching fat in the face

Great instagram post and quote... just not technically true. So when you're sweating in that job interview or presentation, you're not punching fat in the face

Myth 4: A certain duration of time for doing exercise for it to be effective
Time is not as much of a factor in exercise but what you do in that time that counts. An hour of training can be great but it depends on how you spend that hour training. You can get as much as you need in 20 minutes of high intensity training that would actually be less beneficial to you if you kept up the training intensity at such a high rate for a full hour. It depends on your plan along with your goals.

Myth 5: Pain after the workout is the only sign that you had a good workout
Most people associate pain and stiffness with a great workout. It’s more to do with a type of workout you haven’t done in a while (or your first session in a while). That pain is called Delayed Onset of Muscle Soreness (DOMS). A great workout should be judged by how much it pushed you and if you see improvements on the reps or weight from a previous workout. One of the principles of training is adaptation. For your workouts to be good, you have to work on bettering yourself in each workout. 

Myth 6: Heavy Weights for bulking/Light Weights for toning
This one seems to make sense on the surface but is not true at all. I have already discussed in a previous blog that weights will not make women big and bulky. So this myth is really more for guys. 

Heavy weights for a 1-6 reps will work on a person’s strength and power. Lighter weights (10-12 reps) and more time under tension will work more for hypertrophy. Probably the most famous bodybuilder in the world, Arnold Schwarzenegger, rarely did under 8 reps which means he wasn’t lifting as heavy as he could.

arnold schwarzenegger workout plan bodybuilder exercise weights

This program alone won’t make you big and bulky. Nutrition also comes into it. The Rock reportedly eats over 5000 calories a day to maintain his physique. So don’t be afraid of the heavy weights for fear of becoming big and bulky. 

Myth 7: Reduce Fat in Certain Areas
Abs exercises are the perfect example of this. You can strengthen your abs muscles but they won’t reduce the layer of fat in that area alone. This doesn’t mean abs exercises are bad for you. But they should be incorporated into your program along with other body exercises that should probably take priority.

Myth 8: Stretching before you run
In a lot of road races, you tend to see people stretching before they run. It is never a good idea to stretch cold muscles. Think of your muscle as an elastic band. If you just pull on it before gently warming it up, you’ll rip it. That can happen to your muscles as well. You’re better off light logging on the spot, getting the arms moving, doing exercises such as light high knees and butt kicks before starting your run. 

 Doing this before warming up? Definitely not!

Doing this before warming up? Definitely not!



Myth 9: Running is bad for your knees
I have a few goals that I want to accomplish in 2017. One of them involves a fair bit of running to say the least so I was worried that this myth could be true. Thankfully, it’s not. Running is not bad for your knees as the load on your knees is not that much higher to jogging. However, if you are playing long distance running, you are best to have a gait analysis so you are wearing to the correct runners and insoles for your feet. Walking is not bad for you either, but you walk for long periods of time in high heels and… well, I assume it will hurt.

Myth 10: Converting Fat into Muscle
The last one on the list is something that has been around as far as I can remember. You simply can not turn fat into muscle. Going back to the reducing fat in certain areas. If this was true, you could in theory just work on one body part until the fat in that area had transformed into muscle. Unfortunately, it’s not. You burn fat, you increase muscle. They are too separate process. For more of the technical jargon to the myth check out HERE