I have spent years learning and practicing different styles of training. As a trainer and a participant in the fitness lifestyle, I have watched myself evolve. I can recall the days of power lifting (incorrectly) and using sheer will to push through sets. Although my ego was satisfied, my body was not. I recall days where I ran over 5 miles per day, every day for no apparent reason. I wasn’t training for a marathon or on the track team. I wasn’t even playing a competitive sport at that time. Though I saw a change in my body, it wasn’t what I was trying to accomplish.
I will go over 3 fitness myths that I have found to be true through my experiences, whether personally or through a client I’ve trained. I always feel experience trumps experiment. So ill save the scientific data for you to investigate further.
1. Women Shouldn’t Lift Heavy Weights
90% of the time when I train a female client for the first time, they tell me “I don’t want to look like a man” during our session once I mention heavy weights as we go over our goal setting.
I’m always amazed by this because with the age of information that we are in, there are so many women who blast this theory away on social media. Most women (and i’m being very general here) are concerned with their lower body and stomach. From my experience, that’s usually what I get when I ask them what are they trying to accomplish in the gym. When I visit commercial gyms (Golds, Planet Fitness, Fitness Evolution, etc…).
I see tons of ladies with 3 lbs dumbbells, talking to their “workout partners”, and taking selfies. After 2 weeks of this routine, they come to the conclusion that squats don’t work. They followed a “100 squats-a-day” challenge on Instagram and see no improvement. The main reason for this is the body is always responsive to the stress it is placed under. Without getting to scientific, if you don’t place your body under a certain stress it will never prepare itself to react to that stress. So, just doing 100 squats may not be the best way to achieve your desire. You could be better served doing 3 squats at max weight to increase size, strength, and mobility. I’m not programming a workout here, but rather showing you how including heavy weight into your regiment is a great thing.
Ladies have no fear! Lifting heavy weights won’t have you looking like the woman on the 90’s fitness magazine with veins popping out of her arms. Those women are using different hormone stimulants to alter their appearance. What heavy weight will do is motivate you. You will become more inspired to do things you have never done, because you were able to lift something you never thought you could. It will sculpt and tone your body in a way that not many other forms of training can match. Heavy reps and hard work are a hell of a combination. So, do it! Forget what the people are saying, this works!
2. Boot Camps Are The Way To Go As A Beginner
If you are just starting out on your fitness journey, you may be attracted to a boot camp due to the group dynamics presented. It seems fun to workout with a group and not feel judged or pressured to perform at a certain level. Most boot camps are formatted with the “go at your own pace” outline and that makes it attractive to a newbie. The problem with this myth is that you may be cheating yourself and actually decelerating your progress.
Take a look at the picture above. At first glance I can personally point out 5 people doing an incorrect lunge. This is my MAIN problem with most boot camps. There is no screening process to see what level of fitness you are at. It is impossible for a trainer to watch all of those people at once and correct their form. So, if you have no idea how to correctly do a lunge, you will spend years in a boot camp doing an incorrect lunge. This will usually lead to knee problems which will make you think you “cant do a lunge”. Then a trainer who properly assess you will say, no you CAN do a lunge, we just have to teach you to do it properly!
Basically, if you don’t have a solid foundation, I would stay away from boot camps until you do. They seem attractive, but your money would be better spent learning the basics from a trainer, and then going to do your boot camps. Always remember its not just the quantity of work you do here, but a quality and quantity balance.
3. Running Everyday Is Improving My Fitness Level
This particular topic is not in reference to those who are running for a sport/ living. The average gym participant who goes into the gym and spends 1 hour everyday on the treadmill or elliptical machine is doing themselves a disservice. I have a friend who is trying to gain weight and build some muscle. He called me frustrated that he was spending a lot of time lifting heavy and eating often. After asking a few questions about his regiment, I found out that the main cause for his flat line was his consistent running. He was running Every other day for a hour or so. While this could be a great idea for some training plans, most aren’t used that way.
Most people say, “today is cardio, so i’m going running”. Cardiovascular exercises is ANYTHING that gets the heart rate up.There are literally a million other things you could do that could be more effective for you and less harmful on the shins and knees. The wear and tear from the constant impact of your foot and the ground becomes a issue when we look deeper into the disadvantages of consistent running.
Again, I’m not saying running is all bad. But, as a country, we have the wrong impression of it. You could do a kettle bell swing, get the same cardio workout, but a strength element is added. I’m a big fan of ballistic/cardio movements to really get the heart rate going. Jump Squats, Sled Pushes, Wind Sprints, Burpees, and Jumping Jacks are all great cardio supplements when running becomes boring or harmful.
Train smart, Train safe!