3 myths that need to be put to sleep
My god. You mean these myths are still going around?! Yes. I still get here these in the gym. It doesn't help when there are still magazines and celebrities endorsing these. So I want to put 3 of the main ANNOYING myths that are still being perpetuated today!
Myth #1: WOMEN SHOULDN'T LIFT WEIGHTS!!!!
OH MY GOD, YES YOU SHOULD, LIFT THEM AND LOSE FAT AND GET STRRRRRONG!!! This is OLD, OLD, OLD NEWS! You are not going to look like Arnie if you pick up a heavy weight. Your veins aren't going to pop out and you're not going to get a gruff voice and barely fit through doors. The benefits of lifting weights are unreal, and these benefits apply to both men and women. If your goal is to compete in bodybuilding, then of course, you'll have to lift some weights. If it's not and your concern is looking like one by lifting weights, trust me, you won't accidentally appear like a bodybuilder. It takes serious dedication, knowledge and application of said knowledge before you can even be concerned about gaining any serious mass. Massive calorie consumption, masses of volume, certain 'vitamins', good genes and getting to the extreme is required for body building. You won't get there with just simply picking up heavy weights, trust me.
Check out this picture of Jennifer Thompson. She's the strongest bench presser in the world. Yep, strongest. Stronger than any woman and MAN! Powerlifters use an equation called 'Wilks', which evens the playing field, allowing a comparison of strength across the board. She lifts the heaviest weights for her bodyweight. I shall say no more.
Why this myth needs to go to sleep: Lifting weights increases your metabolism by building muscle. Muscle is active tissue. Every pound of muscle the body has, 50 calories are burnt in a day to keep that pound of muscle. Add that up and you'll be keeping fat off you by accident, just by retaining that muscle. Another huge reason is; resistance training is one of the best, if not THE best way of preventing osteoporosis (brittle bones). Osteoporosis is a seriously common condition among women over 50. Resistance training follows the principles laid out by Wolfe's Law; bones will adapt to the loads under which it is placed.
Myth #2: I'm not hurting the next day! THAT WORKOUT MUST HAVE BEEN RUBBISH!
Nope! Well, maybe your workout WAS rubbish, but not hurting the next day is not necessarily an indicator of that. Don't get me wrong, here and there you need to experience delayed onset of muscle soreness (DOMS), but to experience that all the time and consider that a good indicator of a well executed programme is ill-advised. When a new lifter has completed their first programme, chances are they are going to go through some serious DOMS. Give it maybe 3-4 weeks and after a workout that lifter will barely feel DOMS afterwards. This is the body adapting. This is normal. Now, that lifter will want to change their weights routine at some point. Upon changing the routine, there is a different stress being placed on the body, chances are pretty high that DOMS will set back in, but probably not for as long, as this individual isn't starting from zero. A highly trained athlete may not experience DOMS for a very long time, maybe until they enter back into a high volume phase after going from a low volume phase.
Why this myth needs to go to sleep: You're going to hurt yourself if you believe this one. If you are barely walking after every single workout you need to either dial back the intensity a bit, make sure your form is correct, or follow a bit more of a structure, rather than changing your workout so frequently. Changing a workout is great, it keeps your mind fresh and it keeps your body guessing, but changing a workout routine all the time doesn't allow your body to adapt very effectively. Have patience with a programme and let your body adapt.
Myth #3: I need to lose some fat. Guess it's cardio all the way!
This one can get really complicated, so I am going to keep it simple. I'm comparing slow-steady cardio vs high intensity interval training/resistance training.
What I'm saying is; there are more optimal methods for fat loss out there. But, these methods are not the be-all and end-all of fat loss methods. There can be good reason that someone uses slow-steady cardio to burn fat. For example; if they are relatively unfit, coming back from injury or on a very restrictive diet, then this approach is fine. But, it's not as effective as lifting weights, or using something like the Tabata protocol. That's right, lifting weights will burn more fat than slow-steady cardio. As mentioned previously, the more muscle you have, the higher your metabolism. Resistance exercise also increases the post-exercise oxygen consumption, which basically means you are burning more calories even after your workout. This can last anywhere from 2 to 15 hours. That's a long time for fat to be getting burnt.
Tabata is also very effective at burning fat, and is way less time consuming. Find yourself a good spin bike (if you can't, you can use the same method and apply it to a rower, burpees, or even front squats or KB front squats... Just approach those last 2 with caution, only use those if you are an intermediate/advanced lifter) and make sure you have warmed up correctly. Once ready you will complete 8 bouts of 20 seconds 100% maximal effort sprint, followed by 10 seconds of very little effort, allowing for some recovery. This is a great way of finishing a workout after your weight lifting regime. It is also extremely taxing, so if you find you are not quite fit enough, drop the intensity until you are ready to go all-out on those sprints.
Why this myth needs to go to sleep: My issue with this one is that most gym-goers think that slow-steady cardio is the only method to lose fat. It's not the case. And it's not very effective. Use it initially to bring up your cardiovascular markers, but after that, if you want to garner better results, find yourself a more intense method where possible.