it's no secret that everyone, and I mean EVERYONE has an opinion about working out. "just do it" or... don't, lift heavy or... don't - add more reps or... it's exhausting! and while I'm not going to claim to tell you the very best way to workout, I am going to educate you about a few very BIG misconceptions surrounding physical activity and exercise.
1. heavy weights bulk you up.
I hear this 24-7. girls, those 3lb. dumbbells aren't going to do you any favors any time soon. think about it - that never-ending-Marry-Poppins bag you lug around all day weighs at least 5 lbs. and doesn't everyone try to load four grocery bags on each arm so you only have to make one trip from the car to the house!? that right there is 10+ pounds. grab heavier weights. 10, 12 or even 15# dumbbells will do you a world of good. you won't turn into a muscle head. most often the "bulk" everyone is afraid of refers to extra adipose tissue on top of muscle (i.e. FAT). muscle is lean tissue. so continue to lift, but forego the grandma weights for something a little more effective and clean up your diet to shed that extra layer on top.
2. I don't need to lose weight (therefore I don't need to exercise).
oh man. this just hurts my heart. somewhere along the line, our expectations for physical activity and exercise got really screwed up. we should exercise first and foremost to keep our bodies healthy. let's forget weight loss for a second. in the perfect world, we're all trim...but do we sit around on our bums all day!? NO! working out to shed pounds and working out to get/stay healthy and fit are two very different things. the latter is much more important. working out to acquire and maintain health means taxing the systems of your body in order to strengthen them, resulting in more efficient living each and every day for as long as possible. those 80 year old marathon runners - yep, they've got it in the bag! physical activity does aid in weight loss but let's not forget it also strengthens your bones, improves your mood and quality of life and even prevents debilitating diseases and certain kinds of cancer! quick! grab your sneakers. the secret's out!!
3. a resistance band cannot change my body.
I confess, at one point in my life, this was me. I would look at a resistance band and couldn't fathom how a little piece of rubber could possibly change my body structure. but, alas, I am now a believer. resistance bands offer tension in so many different directions, requiring a great deal of balance and stability, resulting in the strengthening of many different muscle groups. next time we're at the gym, bring me one of those big rubber bands and I'll show you just exactly what you can do with it.
4. the gym is so boring.
sure, sitting on a stationary bike, reading your newspaper or flipping through channels on the TV does sound a little boring. but that is not the perfect picture of fitness. find what you love, be creative, and stick with it! the fitness industry is BOOMING right now. if you can't find a niche that interests you something is terribly wrong. grab a bike and go riding outside, hit the track, find a local hip hop class or go flip tires if that's what gets you feeling like a bad ass and excited about burning calories! the opportunities are endless. you DON'T need special equipment, or even a gym membership to be healthy and fit. that being said, I work at a private training studio as well as a local gym and there are many benefits to having and USING said membership.
5. I don't have a six pack.
unless something went wrong genetically, that's very far from the truth. everyone has a six pack. we've come to associate a six pack with the bellies of the men on the front of our romance novels or the shirtless lifeguards at the beach, but I promise you, abdominal muscles are not reserved only for them. yours might just be hiding under a few layers of fat. abdominal visibility has a great deal to do with genetic body type and body fat. the lower your body fat percentage, the more defined your abs will be. let me fill you in on another little secret - doing 100 crunches before bed each night will not magically get rid of that belly fat and give you a 6 pack. sorry, it's true. you need to be doing cardiovascular exercise (the kind that gets your heart rate up), strength training AND eating a clean diet. wah wah wah. you were looking for a quick solution? no luck Chuck. it's hard work and dedication. but don't let that stop you from doing those crunches. core strength is arguably the most important component of physical ability. the stronger your core, the better your posture, and the more efficient you become at other activities (whether it be taking out the trash or running a 5k).
there are many many more myths and misconceptions we could discuss, but I'll save that for another post on another day. if there's something in particular you've heard and are curious about leave a comment and I'll use it in the next edition of 'BIG workout myths'!
Eat well. Live well. Be well.