Fitness Myths Debunked

Discussion in 'Health and Fitness' started by FortuneFaded, Jul 3, 2007.

  1. FortuneFaded

    FortuneFaded Feel my Squirrely wrath!

    Found this on aol, quite interesting. I am curious to hear what other people think about the following!

    Stretching is essential:

    Research shows that stretching before exercise actually increases your chance of getting injured and may decrease your workout performance. According to Wyche, the best way to prepare your body for physical activity is with a three to five minute warm-up of easy walking, light cycling or gentle movement.

    Muscle turns into fat:

    "Fat and muscle are two totally separate types of tissue. They aren't interchangeable," says Wyche. People get fat when they stop working out because they continue to eat the same amount but burn off fewer calories. As a result, their unused muscles grow soft while they simultaneously gain excess body fat.

    Stay skinny by dieting alone:

    You can lose weight simply by cutting back on calories. But combining exercise with diet will help you lose weight more quickly. More importantly, it will help you keep the pounds off permanently. The majority of participants in the National Weight Control Registry (a survey of thousands of people who have lost a significant amount of weight and kept it off for years) report that a consistent exercise program is one of their key weight maintenance strategies.

    Long and slow to burn fat:

    Wyche claims that the so-called "fat burning zone" is about as real as 'The Twilight Zone.' "The workout that burns as many calories as possible, whether it's long and slow or fast and furious, is the best workout for fat burning and weight loss," she advises.

    Lose before lifting:

    Actually, if you're truly serious about losing weight, lifting weights two to three times a week is a must. "Building muscle helps maintain your metabolism even while you're resting and will help you slim down," Wyche notes. When you combine diet with cardio exercise only, you tend to lose a lot of muscle mass; weight training helps preserve muscle so more of your weight loss is truly from fat.

    High reps rule:

    Choose a weight you can lift at least eight times keeping good form but no more than 15 times without your muscle feeling the challenge. If you can do more reps than that, the weight you're using isn't heavy enough to give you results. And, as Wyche points out, decreasing body fat will help you see the shape of the muscles underneath.

    Crunch away ab flab:

    There's no such thing as spot reducing -- that is, you can't magically zap the fat from an area by exercising it. Wyche says that you could do 5,000 crunches a day and still not see any improvements until you burn the layer of fat over your ab muscles, which is done by trimming your diet and burning more calories through cardio exercise.

    Beef up to gain muscle:

    "The body uses protein, carbs and fat to build muscle," Wyche notes. Any excess protein you eat beyond what your body needs will simply be expelled through your urine or stored as body fat. Your best bet is to eat a balanced diet that includes a variety of vitamins and minerals and enough calories to build strong, shapely muscles.
  2. Tom@Foresight

    Tom@Foresight Valued Member

    Think that is a great list! Very useful for all those new to exercise!

  3. Prophet

    Prophet ♥ H&F ♥

    Nice, a few more that I can think of on the top of my head.

    -Abdominal training should not be done more frequently then other muscle groups!

    -Females need to lift like males.

    -Lifting does not make you less flexible, done right it makes you more flexible.

    -Lifting right makes you faster!
  4. Incredible Bulk

    Incredible Bulk Eat-Lift-Eat-Sleep-Grow

    - females who lift like their arms will snap if using anything over 2kg

    what is it with women, the fear of being 'bulky' is valid if your eating like a grazing heffer and training like an olympic shot putter... doing lat pull downs with one plate and tricep kickbacks with the 1kg is pointless, fruitless and down right humouring every time i see it.

    -"i just want to tone"

    people are often misguided as its the bodyfat they need to lose, the muscles are already 'toned' per se, its just the layers of fat covering them.

    - heavy weights limits flexabilty

    nuff said - ronnie coleman
  5. axelb

    axelb Master of Office Chair Fu

    I agree with most of these, those I don't are:
    Fact is, if you don't stretch you are more likely to injure yourself. Your warm up should include a walk/gentle jog and stretching.

    Increases your chance? If I try and kick someone in the head without stretching, I am more likely to injure myself if I haven't stretched!

    Doing millions of crunches isn't going to give you a six pack of steel.
    but your muscles that are being exercised are going to use more of the fat closest to it, but not substational enough to do 1000s of crunches to get rid of your belly fat - running and a controlled diet will have a better effect.
  6. Scarlet Mist

    Scarlet Mist Banned Banned

    I've never heard this before. I do not think it's accurate, I usually feel my performance increase after I stretch. Stretching without warming up will increase your risk of injury.
  7. axelb

    axelb Master of Office Chair Fu

    I always thought that increasing your muscle size increases you flexibility.
    the only reason people aren't so flexible when lifting weights is because they don't stretch accordingly.
    Last edited: Jul 17, 2007
  8. Tartovski

    Tartovski Valued Member

    The “stretching doesn’t reduce your chance of getting injured” thing is from studies done talking about regular exerice regimes such as running, bodyweight stuff etc – one of the most famous case studies used the Australian military. IIRC They found that it had no benefit at all to either a)reducing injury or b)reducing muscle soreness after exercise.

    However if your “exercise” is high kicks, then dynamic stretching is probably a good idea, yes.

    As for the body burning fat nearest the muscles – I simply don’t think that is true at all.
    Spot reduction myth is mentioned here:
  9. Incredible Bulk

    Incredible Bulk Eat-Lift-Eat-Sleep-Grow

    I dont stretch before a workout, i warm up with light weights on the movement/exercise i'm doing first.

    warm muscles/tendons are happier than going for a PB cold
  10. RandomTriangle

    RandomTriangle Valued Member

    i've heard this as well... but can anyone help me find more information on it?

  11. spirez

    spirez Valued Member

    Stretching is very important before exercise but it should be the correct type. Static stretching should not be carried out before exercise as it puts the muscles into a relaxed state and can diminish the 'stretch reflex'. This is basically an automatic response from the muscle spindles that contracts the affected muscle if it is stretched too far.

    As said, static stretching before exercise can kill this reflex and so you are more prone to injury. This is why a lot of footballers suffer hamstring injuries!

    Dynamic stretching should be used throughout the whole body before exercise. Even if you are just practicing kicks you should still dynamically stretch the upper body as the muscles will still be in use as they form part of the kinetic chain. Place more emphasis on the muscles you will be using and only do as many reps until the point that you feel the muscles becoming even slightly fatigued. I tend to do around 10-15 reps per exercise.

    The high reps thing is nonsense too. There are different rep ranges depending on the type of training you are working towards. If you are training max strength you'd be doing no more than 5 reps really, but if doing endurance you may well want to do more than 15.
    Last edited: Jul 17, 2007
  12. Socrastein

    Socrastein The Boxing Philosopher

    If you want to train muscular endurance, you shouldn't be plugging away at high reps. The best way to increase your endurance is to increase your max strength. Who do you think can rep out more 200lb deadlifts, a guy who can pull 300 or a guy who can pull 500? Why waste time struggling with just endurance when you can focus on max strength and increase both your strength & endurance? Seems like a waste of time to me.
  13. Prophet

    Prophet ♥ H&F ♥


    ...And also, I agree with moderate dynamic stretching before a workout in your light warmup, but keep the isometric ones for about 1-2 hours after your done.
  14. CosmicFish

    CosmicFish Aleprechaunist

    I largely agree with you. AFAIK, training for maximal strength has a far greater trickle down effect into endurance than training for endurance has into maximal strength.

    However, (and I'll admit I'm going on intuition here, rather than science, so please feel free to refute) surely directly training for endurance by doing high reps will give better results than training for strength with low reps and relying on the trickle down effect?

    One classic example of the above being the competition between Fred Hatfield (Dr Squat) and Tom Platz, where Hatfield had the highest total squat, but Platz got far more reps when they both went for reps with a lower weight?
  15. Socrastein

    Socrastein The Boxing Philosopher

    If you're aiming for extreme endurance, like for competitions or getting into Guiness, then it's best to focus on endurance. My point was simply that you can get strength & endurance by focusing on max strength, so why focus only on endurance? I'd say "don't" in every situation I can think of except for the sake of extreme endurance. For the average person not looking to do, say 200 pushups in a row, they'll get plenty of endurance along the way to higher totals.
  16. spirez

    spirez Valued Member

    I've benefited a lot from working high reps for my MA training. I used to find my upper body getting burnt out in BJJ and MT sparring but since i've been hitting an endurance weights programme i've been a lot better.

    Obviously there is a trickle down effect from max strength but if you have two guys that can both deadlift 500lbs, yet one also does an endurance phase of around 70% 1RM for 15-20 reps, who do you think could go the longest in a submaximal strength test?

    Not to mention the fact that a proper endurance phase should have very low rest periods. The other day i did squats, deadlifts, lunges and hamstring curls on a stability ball (like bridging in BJJ) for 3x15 reps @ circa 70% of my 1RM with only 30 seconds rest between sets. This builds up a a shed load of lactate/hydrogen ions in the muscles and the short rest periods force your body to adapt and remove the waste products better. I'd say that's pretty important for an MAist as we are going to be throwing a lot of kicks and punches in 3 rounds as opposed to focusing on a single KO strike.

    If you are training for maximal strength properly you should be having circa 3-5 minutes rest to gain the most benefit. This is a lot different to 30 seconds after high reps. Like i said there will be a trickle down effect but it's going to be different.

    I'd never focus purely on endurance, but not sure if that comment was directed at me? I cycle between endurance, hypertrophy, strength and power every 3-6 weeks depending on which phase i'm at.
  17. Brad Ellin

    Brad Ellin Baba


    I read the same report a while back and what was left out in the OP was that stretching was recommended after working out, when the muscles are warmed up.

    It works for me a lot better than my old way of stretching before working out.
  18. spirez

    spirez Valued Member

    I've read that it's best to stretch 1-2 hours after the workout if possible. It was in the Thomas Kurz book but i can't locate the statement at the moment.
  19. Prophet

    Prophet ♥ H&F ♥

    Yeah, that is the general accepted way. I cant remember where I saw the studies and science backing that up, but I do know it is out there!
  20. Prophet

    Prophet ♥ H&F ♥

    Dont you think 3-6 weeks is too short for a cycle to have reached its maximum benifit? I would think 8 weeks minimum.

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