There’s a lot of misinformation out there about how to get in shape and weight loss that gets perpetuated as facts. From quick fix solutions for burning fat, how much you should exercise in a given week to see results or that cardio is the only way to lose weight.
As a Personal Trainer, you’re likely to have clients who believe in a couple of exercise myths! So what are some of these misconceptions about getting into shape that are so common, pervasive and never seem to get fully debunked in public perception?
We’ve narrowed down a couple of myths that will crop up within your Personal Trainer career. Here’s what to watch out for, just so you know. Let the debunking begin!
Lifting weights regularly will bulk you up
One prominent myth is that if you embrace weight lifting, you’ll automatically become bigger over time. This is a common thought that deserved to be dispelled.
“This has got to be one of the worst fitness fallacies on the planet and it's not just because of the misinformation it presents but the fact that it steers so many people away from one of the most beneficial things you can do for yourself; lifting weights.”
In order to gain noticeable muscle mass, you’d have to combine a diet of excess calories plus heavy weight lifting into your exercise routine. By incorporating resistance training into your workouts, you’ll actually be burning more calories. This is because it raises your metabolism by increasing your lean body mass. That means even when you’re not exercising, your body will be able to burn more calories.
Early morning is the best time to work out? Yes and no
Ever heard that getting an early morning workout in before breakfast is the best time for achieving your weight loss goals? That’s not necessarily the case. It depends on the person and what time is more natural for them to get going. The best time to exercise is when you’re able to do it most consistently. It’s a matter of working exercise into times that work best for you so you’ll be able to establish a routine.
"If you exercise first thing in the morning before you eat, you mobilise a greater level of fatty acids. Basically you burn more fat. Now that can be useful. But then on the other side of the coin, there's some suggestion that in the afternoon or in the evening, we tend to be able to push ourselves a bit more." states Kym Guelfi, an exercise physiologist at the University of Western Australia.
If your client is a bit of a night-owl, encourage them to stick with evening runs or trips to the gym rather than force themselves to get up at the crack of dawn. But if their morning workouts are their favourite let them keep at it!
Muscle turns to fat if you stop working out
This is one of the stranger misconceptions that’s still believed by many. Fat and muscle are two completely different tissues that absolutely cannot not transform from one to another.
However, there’s a reason why this idea is still circulating. When looking to gain muscles, extra calories like carbohydrates, fats and proteins are required to see results. But, when you stop working out your muscles (and still on a diet that facilitates muscle growth) your body isn’t able to burn off the calories with reduced muscle mass.
So yes, this is an absolute falsehood! But it goes to show that monitoring diet and exercise regime together and making adjustments is important for your clients’ overall fitness goals.
Sit-ups are a quick fix for burning belly fat
This is probably one of the more common, wide-spread myths when it comes to health and fitness. Abdominal toning exercises in general are focusing more on working to strengthen the tissue underneath and toning, not burn fat around your midsection.
Plus, there’s no such thing as burning fat from one specific body part alone. Weight loss comes altogether from a nutritious diet, cardio and resistance training too.
So if your clientele is wanting to reduce their belly fat, get them to stick to full-body exercises, for example: Squats, deadlifts, rows, lunges, bench presses and pull-ups.
But don’t ditch the sit-ups altogether as they’re great for strengthening your core and preventing injury.
If you’re not sore, you’re not doing it right
Exercise should be fun - challenging at times - but not exhaust or take a toll on your body to the extreme. The motto ‘no pain, no gain’ shouldn’t be taken too literally. If you apply this mentality to how you workout, overtraining, injury and misery are bound to kick in.
Moderate discomfort and heavy breathing are normal but if your client is experiencing symptoms like joint pain or any other kind of pain within your body, tell them to take it easy. Also it could mean that something isn't right and that they should make a trip to the GP.
Here are some words of wisdom from exercise physiologist and trainer, Peter McCall: “Being sore doesn't necessarily mean it was a great workout—it just means that a significant amount of stress was applied to the tissue. You can have a great workout and not be sore the next day. Refuel within the first 30 to 45 minutes post-exercise, stay hydrated, and get enough sleep—all of these things can help boost recovery and minimize soreness."
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