It is amazing that despite access to so much authentic information, people still harbor misconceptions and myths about working out. Obviously they are being spread by some who are not aware of the facts. This article is an attempt to bust those myths.
So let us look at the top 5 myths that continue to be prevalent when it comes to workouts and which people despite clarifications given before, still believe in.
This is a myth that most women are apprehensive of and maybe rightly so. Men on the contrary would relish this prospect and would not mind shedding their shapeless body for anything. Well, the fact is that this state of muscle hypertrophy or getting bulky muscles is not a possibility for women due to the testosterone hormone that is required for muscle building. Now this is a male hormone or a hormone that is anabolic and cannot be produced in women in high quantity since they do not have testes. Men on the other hand produce more than forty times the quantity that is normally produced in women are therefore able to develop or build muscles through weight lifting. The chances of you as a woman therefore getting bulky muscles through the natural method of weight lifting are remote. Unless you take steroids, you cannot get such muscles. You can only get a toned look and this lean mass of body or muscle tissue helps you increase the body metabolism such that the process of fat burning happens automatically and without much effort. However, by choosing not to lift weights, you stand the chance of becoming skinny-fat and that is a condition where there is fat as well as bone but no muscle tone. You can still have a lean and toned look by sticking to a treadmill and biking routine along with cardio burn exercises if you are particular about not wanting to lift weights.
The reason some bodybuilders, athletes tend to become bulky is the extra calories they tend to consume during off-season. At this time, they eat more in order to maintain their body in the anabolic state and sometimes consume more than necessary, which makes them appear bulky and fat. The only way you will get bulky is when you eat or consume more calories. It is therefore clear that it is not the lifting of weights but inappropriate diet habits that leads to a bulky appearance.
b) Since less calories means reduction in weight, I will eat less and that will help me get the lean and hungry look.
You need to understand clearly the concepts of weight loss and fat loss. Only then you will be able to do the right things to achieve your objective. Otherwise it is possible that in your anxiety and keenness to lose a specific number of kilos or pounds, you might do some inappropriate things that will only serve to harm your body metabolism. So keep away from ‘instant weight reduction diets’ and sudden spurts of hectic aerobic activity. They might help you shed some weight initially but once you are back to your normal routine, you will find that you tend to put on more weight quickly. Similarly, some of the diets which recommend the consumption of only water, lemon or almonds must also be observed carefully as they work by making you starve and use up crucial energy through the process of gluconeogenesis for maintaining normal body functions. This process involves the disintegration of amino acids from your muscles and conversion into energy for your body to carry on its functions normally while reducing the body metabolic rate. However, though you would lose fat, you would also lose muscle and the problem arises when you go back to your normal diet. Now you start putting on fat that is not required, thanks to the much lower metabolic rate and the outcome is you end up with more fat but less muscle. This is obviously not what you want and is not a long term solution though it may be good for the short term.
c) Once I stop working out, all muscles that I have developed will get converted to fat.
This is another popular myth perpetrated by those who have no idea about body metabolism. Muscles cannot be turned to fat. When you stop lifting weights, the muscles would develop atrophy and might lose some size and that is a logical thing to happen. If you do not use something regularly, it is natural that it loses its sharpness and effectiveness. This will bring down the metabolism of your body and at this time if you eat more than you used to or even consume similar calories, the chances are that due to lower body metabolic activity, the calories do not get burned as before and ends up as fat. It is thus clear that you have become fat not because your muscles got converted to fat but because your body could not burn calories as efficiently as before and that coupled with probably extra consumption of calories led to you putting on more weight.
d) If I run a mile, I would burn more calories than I would when I walk the same mile.
Here again, calories are burnt depending on the distance you cover and not how you cover it. The benefits of running a mile are more for the heart as it helps exercise the heart muscles to pump better, but if you want to reduce calories, just running fast and covering the mile will not help you more than walking the same mile.
In fact, the process of burning fat lends itself better to walking than running. That is because walking generally takes longer and for the body to use up the accumulated fat resource, it requires an activity that takes a minimum of 20 minutes. Moreover, fat burn is accomplished better when the heart rates are low as it is during this state that the body uses up energy systems better from the body. The recommended heart rate that needs to be maintained for at least half an hour for optimum fat burn is 60% of the highest heart rate and that is calculated by the formula (220-your age)
e) I have this pouch that is extremely embarrassing on my lower abdomen and I will get rid of it through rigorous abdominal crunches and other such exercises.
You need to understand that merely doing abdominal crunches is not going to help you get rid of that ugly pouch and get a six-pack. What you can get are stronger abdominal muscles and that leads to better core strength, which is very good. However, the only way to get a six-pack is to eliminate the subcutaneous fat or the fat that has become accumulated below the muscles. The only way to do that is to get rid of body fat and for that you need to do a lot of cardio as well as follow a strict diet. There is no way you can do a spot reduction and hence abdominal crunches are not going to help you get that six-pack.
The other aspect you must know is that the concept of lower abdominal workout just does not actually happen. The outer portion of the muscles of the abdomen or the rectus abdominis are referred to by people as the ‘six-pack’. This muscle actually begins with the pubis bone and is attached at the sternum (this is also known as the costal cartilage consisting of 5-7 ribs). It is therefore not at all possible to just contract some parts of the muscle without engaging the entire length of muscle. Hence you getting a six-pack or an eight-pack is often genetically ordained and you on your own cannot convert a six-pack to an eight-pack.