I hope 2013 started out with a bang and everyone is feeling encouraged to embark on the New Year with a clean slate and healthy decisions. I know a lot of people make resolutions about their health that include starting some sort of fitness routine. Whether it be going to the gym with your best friend, getting a personal trainer, or vowing to go to Zumba twice a week, you need to make sure you are equipped with accurate information so you can reap all the benefits from your exercise routine.
I am debunking some common fitness myths we have all heard and believed at some point.
1. You can spot reduce your weight loss– When you lose weight you cannot choose what body part gets the reduction. You can do strength training to work the muscles, but it takes a combination of burning fat and strengthening muscles to see definition. This means that you need to do a combination of cardio and resistance training to get a sleek, toned body.
2. Lifting weights will make you too bulky– This is one of the biggest myths that keep women from reaching their full potential. Testosterone is a key factor in increasing muscle size. Men produce over 20 times more than women. Strength training will actually help you lose weight because building muscle burns fat. More muscle also means a higher metabolism, thus burning more fat over time.
3. Lifting light weights is the only way to tone your muscles– Now that I have convinced you to start lifting weights, don’t be afraid to push yourself. You know that you will not bulk up like Arnold Schwarzenegger, so don’t be afraid to test your limits. You are going to gain lean muscle, not Popeye arms. Try to incorporate heavy lifting to the point of fatigue by the 8th to 12th rep in your workout at least once a week. Always remember to be smart about lifting. Use correct form and gradually work your way up to more challenging weights.
4. If you can’t exercise for at least an hour than there is no point– I can tell from experience this is NOT true. Before having Joseph I would exercise for about an hour, but now an average workout is about 30 minutes. There are even times when I only have about 15 or 20 minutes. If you are short on time give it your all with the few minutes you do have. The harder you work the more calories you will burn. You will also reap the benefits of decreased risk of heart disease and stroke.
5. Always stretch before doing any kind of exercise- Stretching before a workout does not increase your range of motion. Some studies have shown that static stretching actually weakens the muscles. It is best to do a warm- up before working out to increase your range of motion and loosen muscles. Light aerobic activity such as jogging or jumping jacks usually does the trick.
I hope I have helped clear up any confusion you may have had about any of these myths. Now that you know the truth you can start the New Year off right with all your fitness goals.