The case can be made that when individuals workout, more mistakes are committed than correct elements of training are performed. Sometimes this is accidental and inadvertent, but other times it’s very often deliberately committed, because they hold onto incorrect information and misbeliefs in their heads. This month’s Did You Know? department takes a look at some of the most widespread fitness fallacies and how the real truth shatters them:
“Resistance bands will never require as much effort as free weights.”
Many people look at resistance bands and think they are simply too easy, that they’re designed exclusively for women or that they’re limited to just a few exercises. Did you know that all of these are misconceptions? Bands happen to come in a variety of tensions, meaning you can easily adjust the resistance to where you’ll need to exert a lot of effort – and yes, grow muscle! Even more, if you should find that the most tension a band provides is still not enough, you can either: (1) fold it in half to produce substantially more tension or (2) simply use two bands at once. Where there’s a will, there’s a way.
Because bands are not simply a “firming” or “toning” piece of exercise equipment, they can assuredly be used by men as well. They’re not just for sculpting, either; they can actually increase your strength and grow muscle – in the same way that free weights and machines can. Finally, the fallacy that bands are reserved for a handful of simple moves needs to be dispelled as well. You can literally perform dozens upon dozens of exercises using bands that you may never have even considered – so the next time you want to add to your simple push-up routine, loop the band under your hands, across your back, and then try it – you’ll find the difference noticeable, and may be surprised to observe how substantial your gains can be.
“Everyone must stick to the plan – it’s the only way to get results.”
When was the last time you were stoked to get to the gym (or go for a run), slammed back your pre-workout, and could just taste an excellent kick-ass workout coming up – only to hit a traffic jam, face an episode of inclement weather, or arrive at the gym to find out that all the equipment you need is in use? It’s called life. Advanced fitness athletes (plus personal trainers worldwide) are well aware that such things happen. The quicker you overcome these obstacles, the better off you’ll be.
When it comes to fitness, improvisation is an art. If you can’t work out outdoors, do something as similar as you can indoors. If your goal is performance, this can sometimes require a little imagination but if your goals are simply weight or fat loss, the main thing is calorie burn. All you have to do is another form of cardio exercise. Should it happen that you have a set workout routine in mind of say six or seven exercises, but the first three equipment stations are unavailable, then don’t throw the baby out with the bath water and think you can’t get a good workout in! Move on to the fourth exercise and carry on. For one thing, any form of exercise is better than nothing and secondly, performing a refining or isolation move first and then moving on to the heavier compound moves is actually the exact premise for the specialty principle of pre-exhaust training. You’ll definitely stimulate your muscles very effectively, especially if your body is not used to an improvised order of movements.
“Carbs are the enemy for weight and fat loss.”
Did you know that despite the fashion of the times asserting that for quick weight loss you have to drastically reduce all carbs (e.g. the so-called “paleo” diet), the truth of the matter more readily lies in caloric deficit? Your instant takeaway should be that carbs are not the enemy; excessive carbs, particularly late in the day, post-dinner can be the enemy, but you don’t have to resort to a diet exclusively comprised of protein and fat to lose weight. In fact, many times an individual will lose 20 pounds over a short period like six weeks and chalk it all up to a paleo diet. God help that person when they inevitably begin to consume carbs again; the weight will come back on sharply, and there will also be a lot of water retention, since carb molecules hang on to water molecules like crazy.
Furthermore, if you’re an athlete who’s serious about their training – whether for sports performance or fitness competition – carbs are in fact your best friend. Carbs are what fuel you and allow you to lift heavier. They also provide runners, bikers and swimmers the endurance they need to succeed. Remember that old technique of “carb loading” from the ‘70s and ‘80s? It’s still hugely in use by elite athletes, helping them win their events and set personal records. The problem in attitude lies within us, since we’re just not as interested in sports anymore!