The world of health and fitness is full of myths and misconceptions. From effective workout programs and training services to diet tips and nutrition, there is a ton of factually incorrect information available online or spread through word of mouth. While some of these false claims may be harmless, in the worst-case scenario, you could suffer a serious injury.
To help you avoid any negative outcome and ensure you get a healthy and safe workout, KOOP Strength & Wellness has debunked three of the most widely believed myths about fitness.
Myth 1: Spot reduction still exists
It would be convenient for us to have an exercise that targets specific problem areas in the body. While there are a few exercises that are effective, they are not as straightforward as a crunch for our belly fat. Unfortunately, spot reduction is a large myth in the fitness industry. It may be the focus of many TV fitness infomercials, but in reality, it does not produce actual results. Each of our bodies is different and distributes fat in different ways.
This largely depends on our genetics. Fat (stored energy) finds its way and settles into different parts of our bodies, and as we exercise, it is taken off typically at the last place it was put on (or stored). Therefore, we need to aim for overall weight loss with full-body exercises, working the main muscle groups for optimal caloric expenditure. All previous principles of weight loss still apply here, aim for 3-4 days of resistance training, 2-3 days of cardio (you can combine resistance training and cardio into 1 hour via circuit-style programming), and one rest day.
Each day focus on your full-body (compound movements) where your lower and upper body are working simultaneously. Aim to add resistance to these exercises to maintain and increase your muscle mass leading to an increase in metabolism and overall fat loss (low body fat composition). Other factors include reducing and managing stress, getting 7-8 hours of sleep, eating a well-balanced diet, and drinking the recommended amount of water. These tested and accurate methods will lead to a sustainable amount of fat loss of 1-2 lbs a week and the ability to maintain your weight once at target for years to come.
Myth 2: No pain, no gain
There is a certain amount of stress we need to provide the body for it to adapt. This is called our stimulus. However, each time you workout, it does not need to be at a maximal level or high intensity. The word we look for is “get uncomfortable” but be able to maintain control with proper form.
When you do it right and give yourself the proper reps, sets, rest interval, load, and speed of movement repetitively, and at the right interval of days, you should be more than able to avoid pain during your exercise day (acutely) and over time (chronically). When programmed correctly, your personal training should be progressive and allow for proper recovery to ensure optimal results for what your specific goals are.
This means not being overly sore past the first two weeks of any new program you are working on. Being sore for more than three days initially may be a sign of an under-conditioned muscle group or potentially overtraining. An experienced personal trainer will allow you to challenge yourself while not being overly sore. However, if you are slightly sore heading into a workout, it’s not necessarily a no-go decision. Working out will help increase circulation, bring blood flow to the area, aid in recovery and after being warmed, it provides the ability for mobility training under optimal conditions to increase range of motion.
Myth 3: Stretching is great prior to a workout
Let’s close our eyes and imagine a rubber band on a February, particularly windy day in NYC, say it is 18 degrees F outside. (yikes!) Okay, so try to stretch the rubber band out. How far does it move? Does it break? Now compare this to a rubber band warmed in a microwave for 1 minute or so. Same questions as before. Our muscles work in a somewhat similar way. We want to warm the muscle groups up, providing blood flow, heat, and activation progressively overtime before stretching.
We also know stretching prior to an activity actually inhibits (or shuts off) muscle activation. This decreases performance and can lead to injury. However, we do want to aim to be able to move through the proper range of motion prior to activity to prepare our bodies for activity. This is where the dynamic warm-up comes in.
This particular set of warm-up exercises are customized to the activity you are about to embark on, which mimics the types of movements you will be performing. Only after completing your activity, should we begin to stretch and hold (static stretching) to improve the range of motion of specific muscle groups.
If you’re looking for a SOMA trainer, a fitness performance coach, or a chiropractic doctor in NY, reach out to KOOP Strength & Wellness. As a team of highly trained professionals, we can help you achieve your fitness, strength, and wellness goals in the quickest possible manner.
We offer a thorough understanding of human anatomy, physiology, and kinetics in a highly personalized space for maximum comfort, privacy, attention, and results. With each workout, the goal is to gradually improve function, muscular balance and remove stress from the body.