By: Janet Hunt
In this time of “fake news,” I am going to review a few myths that are out there regarding exercise and fitness.
Abdominal crunches will give you a six-pack. Core work, including abdominal crunches, is an effective method for increasing muscular endurance, strength, spine stabilization, and posture. However, abdominal crunches will not necessarily reveal the “six-pack” look. To flatten the stomach, you must work to achieve a favorable change in body composition (reduce fat and build muscle). This is accomplished through a combination of cardiovascular activity, resistance and core training, which are all supported by healthy and balanced eating habits.
Women who weightlift, get “bulky.” One of the fundamental ingredients for muscle growth is testosterone, which is a hormone found in high concentrations in men, but not so much in women (women do have testosterone, but not in the levels present in men). Women should lift heavy weights.
When resistance training stops, muscle will turn to fat. Lean tissue (muscle) and non-lean tissue (fat) are entirely separate materials with different biochemical structures, metabolic rates, and functions. If an individual (both men and women) stops lifting weights and adopts a sedentary lifestyle, lean tissue will atrophy (weaken) and reduce in size. Muscle will not and cannot turn to fat.
Working out in the “fat-burning zone” helps you lose weight. Yes, a “fat-burning zone” does exist—it’s the point at which fats are being used as the primary source of fuel. Fats are generally utilized at rest (including sleep) and during very low-intensity activities, but the number of calories burned in this “zone” is too low to initiate (or maintain) weight loss. If the goal is weight loss, a higher-intensity activity is best.
Stretching before a workout is beneficial. Rather than stretching before a workout, a warm-up is recommended to prepare your body for your workout. A warm-up increases muscle temperature and heart rate releasing specific hormones, getting you mentally “fired up,” and improving range of motion. Static stretching is recommended at the end of the workout during the cool-down portion.
Fitness myths and “fake news” will continue. Some things change with research over time. As with all news, if you question the validity, check the author’s credentials and the scientific evidence to back it up.
By: Janet Hunt
For more information and answers regarding fitness myths, call Janet Hunt, ACE certified personal trainer at 256-614-3530.