Exercise science has grown over the years. As we learn more, we use more effective ways to reach our goals. What used to be common knowledge, might now be learned to be ineffective. Here are 3 classic fitness myths and what you can do to learn from them!
Myth #1: Training abs gets you a six-pack.
If you want bigger or more-defined arms, work on your arms. Stronger legs means work your legs. I want to lose some belly fat, so work on abs. It makes sense right?
But it doesn't work that way! Training to build muscle doesn't do anything to reduce body fat underneath it. So when you're training your abs, any body fat stored will stay where it is. This is called the spot-reduction myth. You can't target a specific area to remove body fat. While you can choose where we build muscle, your body can't decide where to burn fat.
If you have a goal of getting abs, or reducing body fat in the general ab region, try this. Instead of doing ab exercises, focus on a getting into calorie deficit. This means eating less calories than you consume. It's not the "sexy" answer, but to reduce body fat in a target area, you need to reduce body fat overall.
Myth #2: You get fitter when you work out.
Working out makes you fit, so you need to do more of it right? Train "every day", maybe even "twice a day" But how much is too much? Is more always better?
You don't get fitter when you workout. You get fitter when you recover from working out.
When you train, you actually get weaker. If you were to do 5 sets of 10 pushups, the last set will feel way more difficult than the first. Run a mile for time, and you'll see that it gets tough at the end.
You train to give yourself the opportunity to recover. When you recover, your body adapts and grows stronger. So if you were to do the 5 sets of 10 pushups every week, eventually you'd be able to do it no problem over time.
Instead of going all-in on training and not worrying about recovery, try this. Keep your training at a 6-7 in difficulty, and prioritize nutrition & sleep. That means eating enough protein & veggies, and sleeping 7-8 hours. (not counting laying in bed) That way you train to give yourself a stimulus to grow from, but then you recover to create an environment for your body to grow more effectively.
Myth #3: Motivation is the key to fitness.
Motivation is great at helping people start their fitness journey. But it doesn't last. The fittest people in the world don't have the most motivation. They don't have more willpower than you. The fittest people create habits and do things whether or not they feel like it. If you wait until you're motivated to train you'd be waiting a long time.
When you find yourself hesitating to train, count out loud, 5, 4, 3, 2, 1...
Then at the sound of 1, physically do something that moves you toward training. Physically get up, grab your keys, or change into workout clothes.
I learned this from listening to "The 5-second rule", by Mel Robbins, and it's been a game-changer for me. It becomes easier to move towards your goals, and makes it less about motivation and more about making decisions.
Until next week,