There are a lot of popular myths out there about exercise. I’ll be going over the most common ones.
Exercise Helps you Lose Weight
I will be the first to admit that exercise CAN play a part in weight loss. Insulin sensitivity is increased during resistance which makes us a little more tolerant to carbs. Same with increased GLUT4 after heavy resistance training. Unfortunately, weight loss benefits from exercise is minor. Those with a shot metabolism probably won’t even see a weight loss benefit. Although exercise can effect weight loss, the primary culprit responsibly for gaining weight is excess sugar and insulin.
Eating too much fast digesting carbs will spike your blood sugar and your body will store extra energy as fat. So why medicate when you can prevent?
Lifting Weights Makes you Lose Flexibility
First off, let me say that not all weight lifting is created equal. Some movements are more beneficial than others. For example, bodybuilders may incorporate limited range movements into their regiment for the sole purpose of aesthetic muscle growth, nothing more.
Olympic lifting and functional training are done with barbells and other free weights. These training methods involve a wide range of motion with use of explosive force that force our muscles to expand and contract. In other words, this is more like dynamic stretching of the muscles. Last I heard, stretching left you a little more flexible, eh?
Weight Lifting isn’t for Women
Women are often times afraid of lifting weights because they feel like weight lifting will make them gain big, manly muscles. This isn’t true. Muscle gain, and loss, just like fat, is regulated by hormones. The dominant male hormone is testosterone and the dominant female hormone is estrogen.
Testosterone is the primary hormone involved in muscle gain. On Average, women have around 1/14th the amount of testosterone men have. So unless women inject themselves with hormones, they will hardly ever be able to build muscle anywhere close to a guy. The most weights will do for women is tone their bodies and make them stronger. Women bodybuilding calls for extreme measures.
Sweating Helps you Lose Weight
This is true. Unfortunately, you’ll gain it right back when you head to the water fountain. You don’t actually lose body fat. Your body releases sweat to protect you from over heating. Sweat is just water. Ever notice that when you sweat, you get thirsty? Yeah, it’s the same concept as working out and getting hungry. When you lose water, your body signals you to replace it.
Free Weights Lead to Injury
This one scares a lot of people from attempting free weights. When it comes to free weights, form is essential. It’s best to practice the motions first with light weight, but not too light. Having some resistance actually forces proper form. Starting out with light weight will minimize the risk of injury.
Most people gravitate towards machines because they are easier to learn and there are no lose weights to fall on you. Unfortunately, machines restrict your movements, most of the time in unnatural ways. Around our major muscles, we have small stabilizing muscles. If these muscles are neglected, it can eventually lead to injuries from muscle imbalance.
Lifting weights Stunts your Growth
This is a popular one. There has been no evidence to support this claim. Exercise strengthens muscles and bone. If anything, it would do the opposite of what the popular myth says. This myth is utter nonsense.
Higher Reps & Less Weight Tones your Body
So lets start by defining “toned”. Is it lowering body fat or is it increasing muscle mass? It’s a clear observation that power lifters do less reps and body builders do more reps. While lifting heavier weights helps build strength, lifting a dumbbell in the same position for 30 reps will just get you tired.
Resistance is needed for hypertrophy (muscle growth). Unfortunately, high or low reps wont result in a “toned” body. The goal should be to preserve lean body mass and lose body fat in the process. A 100 rep squat is NOT the way you go about that………..