Gym myths II

Fitness & Spa

For those who remember, just over a year ago we wrote an article on the biggest falsehoods and myths our team had encountered on the gym floor. Since then there seems to have been even more rumours and hearsay spread around, so let’s address the top 5 myths of 2019.

1. “You need to do cardio to lose weight”

Paula Radcliffe and Mo Farah look like the fittest people you’ve ever seen… so therefore, all that running and cardio must mean you lose weight, right? Not quite. All the cardiovascular training does is strengthen your heart and improve your ability to process oxygen and carbon dioxide. The impact cardio has on weight loss is no more significant than weight training’s impact.

Studies have shown that while you may burn more calories during a cardio workout, the calories burned over time after a weight training session amounts to the same number of calories burned in total. After all is said and done, the only thing that will have any significant impact on weight loss is, as we’ve mentioned in previous articles, a calorie-controlled diet.

2. “I’m looking to tone up”

If there is one word that sends a trainer’s blood pressure sky rocketing, it’s the word “tone”. You cannot “tone” a muscle, you can only define it by reducing the body fat over the top of it. By doing isolation exercises like tricep extensions or abdominal crunches, you are strengthening or building that muscle. There is an argument that says the heavier the weight you lift, the more of the muscle you activate and so the firmer the muscle becomes, but that firmness does not last and will not help show the muscle off if there’s still fat on top of the muscle. Again, your best option is to engage in a calorie controlled diet to reduce the fat over the top of the muscle to show the muscle shape hidden beneath.

3. “You have to do squats to build your bum”

We’ve all seen the social media stars doing tonnes of squats, not to mention the viral posts about 30 day squat challenges and the like, but in actual fact, squats are one of the least efficient exercises for building your glutes. A study conducted by Bret Contreras showed that the best form of squat to activate the glutes (the heavy zercher squat) ranked only 28th on the list of best glute exercises. The test used electrodes that measured how much your gluteal muscles activated during the exercise. The top 3 exercises, according to the study were feet elevated banded hip thrusters, high step ups, and cable pull throughs.

4. “Fasted cardio burns fat”

When accounting for total calories consumed within the 24 hour period, fasted cardio actually makes little to no difference to your overall fat burn. You could do your fasted cardio, burning 300 calories, but if you then went home and had a 300 calorie meal, it won’t make a difference. From a performance perspective, you may as well have the food before your workout and improve your energy levels to make you last longer and improve your muscular and cardiovascular adaptations.

5. “I need to go vegan to lose weight”

If you want to go vegan, that’s perfectly fine, but it doesn’t give any additional benefit to weight loss.  Like the previous point, when you account for total calories consumed within a caloric deficit, the type of food you consume makes no difference. So whether it’s vegan, paleo or the next big thing, it doesn’t really matter.

So now we’ve addressed the top 5 rumours of 2019, we look forward to what crops up next year! If you are interested in discussing any of the points raised or want to change your lifestyle, please come and see one of the fitness team.

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