Raphael Calzadilla, BA, CPT, ACE is a certified personal trainer and has been for almost 20 years. He is also a natural competitive bodybuilder, 2001 Mr. Connecticut, and winner of the prestigious WNBF (World Natural Bodybuilding Federation) Pro Card, earning him status as a drug-free professional bodybuilder. You can learn more about Raphael at his website www.fitbyraphael.com.
When you don’t know a lot about health and fitness and you start a fitness or nutrition program given to you by a person who lacks experience in the industry, it’s a lot like going to buy a new car, but not knowing how the car is built. You just have to trust whose doing the selling. Never a good idea.
So, let’s take a look at six myths that tend to trip people up in their quest to lose weight and get fit.
1. The healthiest method to gauge your progress is weighing yourself every day.
You think I’m about to say that the answer is to get frequent body fat tests, don’t you? Nope! The healthiest way to gauge your progress is to make sure your strength levels increase when performing resistance exercise, make sure your endurance improves through cardiovascular exercise and make sure that your clothes fit exactly the way you want them to. When did we stop trusting ourselves to the extent that everything has to be successful by a measurement?
2. To get a flat abdominal area, perform a lot of ab exercises often and with intensity.
This is my all-time favorite. In order to get a six-pack (physiologically it’s actually an eight-pack), or simply a flat ab area, body fat levels must be reduced. This is achieved through a calorie deficit combined with exercise. In fact, unless you’re competing in an event or genetically predisposed, maintaining visible abdominals is a most difficult endeavor. A few extra pounds and they disappear. Hold onto a little excess water and they vanish.
The bottom line is abdominal exercises don’t give you a flat mid-section. Abdominal exercises build the muscles, while reduced body fat through nutrition, weight training and cardiovascular exercise help reduce overall body fat, which leads to that flat and tight look you desire.
3. Women will get humongous muscles if they strength train.
A woman has approximately one-third the testosterone of a man, so putting on a ton of muscle is not going to happen. You’ll look bulky if you’re carrying excessive body fat, but if you’re reducing body fat, you’ll eventually be able to see those lean, defined muscles.
4. Lifting weights very slowly is the best way to weight train.
Lifting super slowly produces super long and super boring workouts and that’s about it. University of Alabama researchers studied two groups of lifters doing a 29-minute workout. One group performed exercises using a five-second up phase and a 10-second down phase, the other a traditional approach of one second up and one second down. The faster group burned 71 percent more calories and lifted 250 percent more weight than the super slow lifters.
“The best increases in strength are achieved by doing the up phase as rapidly as possible,” says Gary Hunter, Ph.D., C.S.C.S., the lead study author. “Lower the weight more slowly and under control.” When you lower with control, there’s less chance of injury.
5. It’s important to work out for two hours a day for great results.
Long workouts can be counterproductive. People get too caught up in how long the workout is and not how effective the workout is. Workout with intensity, make every rep, set and cardio sweat-infused workout count. The workout time is not the time to read a newspaper on a recumbent bike while pedaling at a mile an hour for two hours.
6. There is a “best workout” routine.
There isn’t a best and only way to workout. The body will adapt to any exercise routine in approximately four to six weeks. Vary volume of sets, time between sets, reps, exercises, cardiovascular exercises, etc. Manipulate your routine every three to four weeks and view change as one of your keys to efficiency and results. Don’t let the body adapt or allow the mind to get bored. Change it up.
There are lots of fitness and diet myths out there, so please keep spreading the word about what’s true and what’s not.
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