I love the questions that come from a new client about exercise that start with “I heard from a friend…” My first response is to find out exactly who the friend is. Usually the friend is someone who is not remotely in the exercise/fitness/wellness field, possibly an insurance agent or car salesman. Now I’m not saying that every insurance agent and car salesman doesn’t know a thing about exercise but my experience has been that the advice given is typically off the mark. I will say this again that I don’t think what I do is rocket science. Now that I think about it there is no job out there that is rocket science except, of course, that of a rocket scientist, so that makes me feel a little better. I will try to clear up a few of the myths out there to the best of my ability and I encourage you to send me some that I don’t cover that I may be able to help with. Hopefully, this will help you to streamline your workout and be able to get more from what you are doing. Here we go.
If I am trying to lose weight I should work on cardio for a while then incorporate weight training. MYTH. Lets take a 30 minute session of cardio vs a 30 minute strength session. You most likely burn more calories during the cardio, so that is good. However muscle uses more energy when you aren’t exercising. Making the muscles stronger from the start can actually kick up the weight loss, and more importantly, fat loss. It is important to do both for a complete workout.
I shouldn’t eat before I exercise because then I will burn fat. MYTH. The more important part of this is the fact that you need energy to exercise and get the most from the exercise session. You definitely should not eat a full meal before exercising but I can’t tell you the number of times that I have trained someone late in the day and they get light headed. The first thing I ask is when is the last time they ate and usually they will say breakfast. You need energy, i.e. food, to exercise. The key is what are you going to choose. An apple or banana before working out is ideal.
I have a belly that I want to lose so I need to do a lot of crunches. MYTH. I know you have heard this before but it always needs repeating. You cannot spot reduce. Going back to question 1, making muscles stronger will use more energy. While the abdominals are a key muscle group and one that should not be avoided, you will get more bang for your buck by working your entire body to lose that gut. The big 5 for me are:
1. Chest press for chest, front of shoulders and tricep.
2. Row for the back, bicep and back of shoulder.
3. Leg press or squat for legs.
4. Ab crunches on the stability ball.
5. Lower back on the stability ball.
These are obviously just a few things that come to me. As I said at the beginning I encourage you to ask me your own questions and I will answer to the best of my knowledge. I am a proponent of something is better than nothing so if you are out there moving that is the biggest part. If you want to make what you are doing more efficient, thats what I’m here for.
Until next time…