5 Fitness Myths That Won’t Die
- Spot Reduction/Localized Fat Burning
Nope. Sorry. No matter how many thousands of crunches you do, you don’t get to pick where the fat is burned. You could be burning fat on your ankles for all you know. (And btw, crunches recruit relatively little muscle tissue and provide very little resistance, so they’re not going to burn many calories or do hardly anything to strengthen your core. Stop doing crunches.) Before you collapse into discouraged little pile of hopeless self-loathing though, consider that this is actually good news. Why? Because you can burn fat doing pretty much anything. For example, you might burn belly fat by walking, jogging, boxing, lifting weights, flipping tires, whatever. Also, imagine if you had to work out your face in order to burn fat there. You’d be in the gym chewing on a ball of rubber bands trying to burn cheek fat. (Which definitely works. Try it.) Granted, some things work better than others in terms of how many calories you’ll burn, which brings me to the next myth that just won’t die:
- Low Intensity Cardio is Best for Weight Loss
I don’t know how this one came about, but I’m guessing it stemmed from the fact that low intensity cardio, like jogging, burns a higher percentage of calories from fat than high intensity exercise like interval training. Fun fact: you actually burn the highest percentage of calories from fat while sitting on your ass. The catch though is that the percentage doesn’t matter. If you burn 100% of your calories from fat but only burn 10 calories, you’re still fucked. The only thing that matters for weight loss is the total caloric deficit you’ve achieved for the day. That means if you took in 2000 calories and burned 2500, you achieved a 500 calorie deficit. You can do that with low intensity cardio if you want, but high intensity cardio is going to do it a lot faster and has been shown to be better for maintaining lean muscle mass as well. Now, go forth and do burpees.
- Short Cuts!
Everyone wants a magic solution. Since when did anything in life work like that? Even steroids still require you to put the work in. Expensive surgeries will be an enormous waste of money without a severe lifestyle change. Bernie Sanders can’t make up for your lifetime of bad decisions with free college tuition. So ditch the fat burners and Saranwrap and try to enjoy the process a little. Impressive results still require hard work.
- Girls Who Lift will get Super Buff
We’ve all met that chick who weighs like 110lbs and is scared to touch weights because she “doesn’t want to get too buff.” Not to worry ladies, it’s not gonna happen. One of the key components for building size is testosterone, and guys tend to have around ten times more testosterone than girls do. That’s not to say girls can’t build any muscle, but even a girl on a well written body building program with adequate sleep and nutrition is going to have very different results than a guy on a similar program. The girl will likely achieve something more akin to “toning” rather than looking like Wolverine after 6 months of throwing giant robots around and eating nothing but bull testicles. (Also works really well, try it!)
- All Lifting Yields Results
Prior to the invention of weights, there was actually no shortage of heavy shit to move around. The whole point of having weights with the poundage written on them is so you can know precisely how much you lifted and then increase the weight incrementally as needed. It needs to be understood that strength is a biological adaptation to new stress. As soon as your body has adapted to that level of stress it’s going to quit getting stronger and will require new, increased stress to be applied in order to continue making progress. So if you’re that person that has been doing the same workouts with the same 8lb dumbbells in your basement for six years, well… that really sucks lol. Find yourself a program (not a workout from Men’s Health, not a routine, but a program) that increases the demand of your workouts over time. But before you do that, here’s a bonus myth for you to keep in mind:
- (Bonus Myth) You should copy the greats
This definitely is not to say you can’t learn from the best, but there’s a difference between learning and copying. The body is going to respond differently to different kinds of training depending on how advanced the athlete is. Someone new to lifting may achieve the best results from training three or four days a week, lifting in the 70-80% range of their one rep max, while a very advanced lifter may find the best results lifting practically every day at 90-100% percent of their one rep max. The former program would not provide sufficient stress for the advanced lifter to improve, and the latter program would be dangerous for the novice lifter and wouldn’t provide the necessary volume for optimal strength gains. A novice should use a novice program because that is what will work best for him or her.
Hope this was helpful! Comment below with questions or requests or whatever. Share with a bro who needs to hear it.