Debunking Exercise Myths
These are some common misconceptions and questions that I have answered over the years.
The cause of post exercise soreness
Contrary to what you may have heard, this is not caused by lactic acid build up from your workout hanging around in your muscles like an unwelcome visitor. Delayed Onset Muscle Soreness (DOMS) is the result of microscopic tears in the muscles. This is actually not a bad thing. It is the healing process of those tears that allows the muscles to build new stronger and healthier tissue. This is why recovery from your workouts are just as important as all the hard time you put in. As well as the importance of increasing weights in strength training and mixing up the routine to continue to cause those tears to be able to build new muscle.
It doesn't have to be all or nothing
Stop using the excuse that you do not have enough time to workout to hold you back. Your workout does not need to be an hour or more. Unless of course you are training for long distance endurance sports. But, for the majority of people looking to get into shape and stay healthy, A 15-30 minute higher intensity interval training may be all you need. Do not have even a 30 minute chunk of time to dedicate to your exercise? Break it up into 10 minutes throughout the day. It is still effective and has the added benefit of setting your day on the right track in the morning and waking up that sleepy brain later in the day. If high intensity is too demanding for your body right now, start with a little lower intensity and aim for 30-45 minutes.
Hydrating is necessary but, with what?
You definitely need to drink water and most people that I work with do not drink nearly enough on a daily basis setting them up for dehydration and causing them to eat more because they think their mind is telling them to refuel when it really is communicating the need for hydration. That aside, We do lose electrolytes when sweating. Whether that is a long gym session, yard work, or another form of much more fun exersertion. That doesn't mean you need extra calories (depending on the duration of exercise) and certainly not the sugar added from most sports drinks. Do yourself a favor and use an electrolyte replacement without a sugar bomb deteriorating your fitness progress or artificial sweeteners deteriorating your health.
Stretching is important NOT before a workout
A dynamic warm up is a movement done to warm the muscles up to prepare them for the higher intensity they are about to endure. This movement should be done before the workout while static stretching should be reserved for afterwards or some other time in the day. The muscles contract when your workout. It does not make any sense to elongate the muscles before your workout which will shorten them.
Muscle does not weigh more than fat
However, it does take up less space than fat so essentially if you lose a pound of fat and build a pound of muscle, you may lose inches on your body while weighing the same. It is always a good idea to gain muscle when trying to lose weight. See next myth to find out why.
Females, you will not bulk up from weight lifting
Even if you have a mesomorphic body type (one that is compact and muscular), unless you regularly lift as heavy of weights as you possibly can as we all see from a popular type of workout that results in bulky legs, you will not get bigger from your strength training. On the contrary, the muscle you have, the more fat you burn at rest so it is assisting your goals to to lose fat and get lean.