New Year fitness: Training myths

Advice
11 Dec 2009
Training myths

We debunk some of the worst training myths.

‘Weight training makes you bulky’
No one has ever woken up to discover that they’ve turned into the Hulk overnight thanks to weight training. In reality, it will increase muscle size and help burn fat, making you look leaner and stronger.
 
‘You can reshape your muscles with specific exercises’
The shape of your muscles is determined by your genes. You can make your muscles bigger or allow them to waste away, but that’s it.
 
‘To get fit you need to train for over an hour every day’
Not true. More than 45 minutes of training can start to eat away at your muscles as your body raids them for fuel. And training every day means that your body doesn’t get time to recover and repair muscle between sessions. Three or four sessions a week of 40 minutes is enough for most people.
 
‘You can turn fat into muscle’
Muscle and fat are two different tissues. One cannot become the other.
 
‘Super-slow builds super-big muscles’
The theory behind ‘super-slow’ training is that the slower you do an exercise the more effective it is, but the reality is that you just get super-bored super-quick.
 
‘More protein = more muscle’
It’s true that you need protein to help muscles recover from the effects of your workouts, but any more than 1.5g of protein per kilo of bodyweight per day is largely useless.
 
‘No pain, no gain’
Pain is your body’s way of telling your brain to stop doing whatever it is you’re doing. Working through this sensation doesn’t make you tough, it makes you crippled and poor. Unheeded pain leads to chronic injuries and massive medical bills.
 
‘You can lose fat from a specific part of your body’
Spot reduction, as it’s known, is a myth. For example, crunches won't strip fat from your belly because you can’t target one particular area of your body to lose fat. You can only lose fat generally.

Next New Year fitness guide: Ways not to look like a beginner in the gym

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