Fitness myths are perpetuated in gyms, passed on from misinformed personal trainers to naïve first timers, looking to gain some muscle. That’s why it’s important we bust these misconceptions wide open, pull on those gym clothes and lift weights confident in the knowledge we’re doing the right thing. Here are 5 myths, debunked… just be sure to pass on your newfound wisdom to your mates:
Myth 1: Static stretching is necessary
Nope. In fact, stretching before a workout can hinder your workout and is not the most effective way of warming up, according to personal trainer Eric Allen. So forget about the 80s style bending and lunging, instead do dynamic stretching featuring some light exercise to get the blood pumping and the muscles ready for the workout ahead. For most people 5-15 minutes of jogging on the spot is fine or if you’re planning on weight training you should carry out 1-2 sets, at a lighter weight, of the exercise you intend on doing.
Myth 2: Shocking your muscles encourages those ‘gains’
Shocking your muscles isn’t the best way of safely building them up, in fact if you do it wrong you can seriously injure yourself. It’s fine to switch up your exercise routine, changing sets and reps as and when needed to push yourself further, with slightly heavier weights, but don’t overload your muscles for quicker gains.
Myth 3: Just doing crunches will get you a six pack
They’re never fun to incorporate into your ab day, but what if we said you could cut them out altogether? After all, they’re actually bad for your spine and pretty dull to do. Instead, squats, deadlifts and chin ups can help you get a six pack as well as focusing on other areas of your body. Crunches alone won’t get you the look you’re looking to achieve – switch things up and get there quicker by replacing this exercise with something else.
Myth 4: You should do cardio first, then weights
Try again! Most people like to get their cardio out of the way first when paying the gym a visit, but really it should be the other way around. This is because of your glycogen levels – glycogen is essentially that stored energy you use when exercising to burn calories – which are reduced when you do cardio. This can hinder your ability to perform a workout as well as usual. Doing weights first will give your cortisol – the steroid hormone – and testosterone a boost, which may just improve your cardio session if you do the cardio afterwards.
Myth 5: Cutting carbs is the best way to get lean
Guys, carbs are not the enemy. If you’re looking to lean up, you’re still going to need that energy in your diet in order to complete those fat busting workouts. Plus, no carbs and working out can significantly increase your risk of injuring your muscles. Instead, focus on eating smaller meals several times throughout the day and upping your protein intake. Eat sufficient carbs alongside to ensure your body isn’t deprived. Balance is key.