In honor of my “Start Your November Off Right” workout and playlist post yesterday, I’d also like to share another interesting article I found online on some popular fitness myths. I tell a lot of misinformed people these things all the time, especially numbers 5 and 10. Those are my favorite misconceptions, but also the most frustrating to me when people don’t believe the truth!
Keep reading to get the REAL facts on how to make the most of your workouts (and start your months off right!)
Ten Fitness Myths
1. Stretching decreases injury risk.
Static stretching, which involves reaching forward to a point of tension and holding the stretch (i.e., a hamstring stretch), can do more harm than good – decreasing performance and increasing injury risk. Instead, focus on dynamic warm-ups that emphasize joint mobility and muscle activation to improve range of motion and promote muscular control.
2. Getting in shape is good for fat loss.
Most people equate losing weight with getting in shape. By definition, getting in shape means than any given exercise will be easier to perform in terms of energy, because your body gets efficient in performing one form of exercise. To increase your “metabolic disturbance,” experts suggest alternating different kinds of exercise on different days, i.e., biking, running, swimming, resistance training circuits, etc.
3. Pasta is the ultimate pre-workout meal.
Endurance athletes may need to load up on carbs before their workout, but a better option for most people is a balance of lean protein, whole grain products and vegetables. This provides a wider range of nutrients to perform optimally.
4. A quick jog and a few stretches are a sufficient warm-up.
This type of warm-up does increase your circulatory rate and body temperature, which helps improve your muscle elasticity. But a better warm-up will also include taking the working joints through a full range of motion, increasing the neural drive to the working muscles, increases a locked-up muscle’s ability to extend, increasing the circulatory rate and the internal body temperature.
5. Long-distance cardio is good for fat loss.
The myth is that people working on cardio machines at a specified target heart rate will burn the largest proportion of energy from fat. What few people realize is that you actually burn the highest proportion of fat while at rest (around 70 percent of your energy comes from fat). A growing body of evidence supports the use of high-intensity interval training for fat loss. Not only does it takes about half the time of traditional long-distance cardio (typically 12 to 20 minutes), but it will lead to better results.
6. More is better.
While many people add volume to their workout in an effort to get stronger, faster or more “athletic,” they often do so at the expense of recovery time. While brief planned periods of volume increases can be beneficial in increasing your capacity, continually adding volume will eventually impede your performance. Stress is necessary to stimulate improvement, while recovery is necessary to realize adaptation.
7. Strength isn’t important for distance running.
Every distance runner should be doing some form of resistance training, designed to increase strength – not low weights, high-reps, but heavy weights and low-reps to the point you can’t do another single rep. While strength is not the only component of being a successful distance runner, it’s one of the most overlooked.
8. Basketball shoes protect against injury.
High-top shoes may minimize the risk of rolling an ankle as a result of landing on someone’s foot, but they do cause excessive range of motion at the knee, which over time, may lead to a number of knee problems. Plus, restricted ankle motion from these shoes cause a decrease in sensory and reflexive ability of lower-leg musculature, which consequently will impair balance. Basketball shoes can actually be viewed as both injury inflicting and performance inhibiting.
9. Squatting is bad for your knees.
This myth comes from several sources, mainly doctors who see people come into their office in pain from squatting. However, most people with squatting-related knee pain have poor technique – in an effort to keep their torso vertical, they drive their knees excessively forward. In a good squat, the angle of the shin matches the angle of the torso. This ensures loading of the glutes and hamstrings and minimizes the anterior shearing forces across the knee. People with a history of knee pain should maintain a vertical shin angle throughout the motion.
10. Crunches are the best way to get a six-pack.
Crunches and sit-up are not the best way to build up your abdominals – it’s almost entirely a function of body fat and minimally a function of ab development. Contrary to popular belief, training a muscle group will not burn fat locally. The best way to get a six-pack involves better dietary choices and high-intensity interval training.
Question of the Day: Did you think any of the above were true before reading this?