Fitness Myths Busted by Local Fitness Pros
Meredith Nelson, PrimeTime Fitness
As fitness professionals, the staff at PrimeTime Fitness often hears what we consider “fitness myths” that drive us crazy! It often seems that people want to eat that magic food that will rev up their metabolism, do that one exercise that will tone a specific spot, or one-click to purchase the latest internet hot product.
Although there are many more myths that we often hear, these are some of the PrimeTime staff favorites to bust (in no particular order)!
- Myth: “I don’t have time to workout!”
Busted by Meredith Nelson, owner, personal trainer, indoor cycling instructor
Truth: We hear excuses all the time. Everyday. Family responsibilities, phone calls that run over, meetings you can’t miss, repairmen coming to fix something ….. anything can interfere with your workout.
You set aside time for important appointments, and you make time with family and friends. Granted, some things cannot be avoided. Kids get sick and meetings can run late. But make an appointment with yourself or with your trainer, and try not to break it (you wouldn’t cancel an appointment with your boss or client, would you?). Don’t be afraid to take care of yourself first – then you’ll be at your best to take care of everyone else!
No, it’s not selfish – it’s smart. Successful entrepreneurs, good parents, and high-powered CEO’s often realize that putting themselves first for an hour or so a day is good not only for themselves but contributes to the happiness of their families and success of their businesses as well.
- Myth: “Lifting weights will make me big and bulky.”
Busted by John Sistare, personal trainer
Truth: Lifting weights builds muscle mass. And yes, you DO want your muscle mass to increase. Muscle has a higher metabolic rate than fat, so the more muscle you have, the more of an advantage you have in your weight loss efforts. Yes, some people do appear “bulky” when they lift weights regularly. This usually happens when one takes in more calories than they burn, in which case the big and beautiful muscles remain hidden by layers of fat. It’s absolutely imperative to burn the fat as well as increase muscle mass (and watch your calorie count!), otherwise those muscles stay covered up where no one can see them.
- Myth: “All those yoga twists will detox my body.”
Busted by Rachel Glowacki, yoga instructor
Truth: Not exactly! There is actually no scientific evidence to support that yoga twists detox your body. Your body is an amazing piece of equipment that can usually get rid of the toxins you take in on its own. Your liver and lymphatic system have the job of cleansing your body of toxins; however, deep breathing during the twists may stimulate the detoxification process. But if you want to truly detox your body, drink lots and lots of water to flush your system. When in doubt, just check the color of your urine, if it’s clear, then you are in the clear. Of course, you can also decrease the toxic load on your body by reducing the amount of toxins you put into it! Try to replace packaged foods with nutrient-dense whole and unprocessed foods like nuts, fruits, vegetables, ancient grains, and seeds.
- Myth: Muscle weighs more than fat.
Busted by Julie Nestler, indoor cycling instructor
Truth: This one is easy to explain… the truth is, a pound of muscle weighs just as much as a pound of fat. The kicker, however, is that a pound of muscle takes up less space than a pound of fat. So if you lose a pound of fat, and replace it with a pound of muscle, your measurements will be smaller. Therefore it’s very possible, with proper diet and exercise, to weigh the same but look trimmer.
Then there’s the hype about cardio…..
- Myth: There is no better cardio than running for weight loss.
Busted by Sean Highsmith, personal trainer
Truth: While this may be true if you are a runner, for many people, running is just unenjoyable. Whether they find it boring, hard, or painful, some people just plain prefer not to run. Never fear, if you fall into the category of those who don’t want to, can’t, or wouldn’t be found running unless begin chased, there ARE other ways to get the benefits of cardio exercise.
Full body exercises such as rowing, burpees, dual-action bikes (bikes that you pedal with your legs and also push/pull with your arms), and cross-country skiing are all great ways to reap cardio benefits that can even surpass those of running. PrimeTime Fitness trainer Sean is a fan of the kettlebell swing, which, when done properly, works the large muscle groups of glutes and quadriceps, taking your heart and lungs into overdrive.
- Myth: “Working out in the ‘fat burning zone’ is the best way to lose weight.”
Busted by Karien Harwell, personal trainer, indoor cycling instructor
Truth: This one is a matter of simple math. When you work within your “fat-burning zone” of 65 – 75% of your maximum heart rate (or those flashing red lights indicating “fat-burn” on the cardio equipment in the gym), you are burning a greater percentage – up to 50% – of calories from fat. At a higher intensity, your body may burn only 35% of calories needed from fat. BUT . . . the total calories burned at higher intensity is more – WAY more – than that burned within the “fat-burning” range. So not only do you burn more total calories by working harder, but also more of those calories are from fat. An added benefit of working beyond the “fat-burning” zone . . . you burn more calories in less time!
- Myth: “Cardio exercise is the best way to lose weight”
Busted by Susan Cox and John Sistare, personal trainers
Truth: If you are trying to lose weight, you just cannot neglect resistance training. Period. Cardio exercises like running, cycling, and the elliptical do burn calories (and the more intense the exercise, the more calories you burn – go back and read #6 again!) However, more muscle mass makes your body a more efficient fat-burning machine. The more muscle you have, the more chances you have in winning the weight loss battle. Workouts like PrimeTime’s Boot Camp and Total Body Circuit combine high intensity cardio exercise with resistance training in one session – now THAT will burn calories and continue to ramp up your metabolism even after the workout is over!
Meredith Nelson, M.Ed, is the owner of PrimeTime Fitness, Inc, in Mt. Pleasant. Certified through AFAA in Group Fitness, ACE as a Personal Trainer and Medical Exercise Specialist, and TPI as a golf fitness professional, Meredith has been bringing fitness to the East Cooper area for over twenty years. Since 2000, PrimeTime Fitness has catered to the mature exerciser and offers personal and small group training, indoor cycling, yoga, golf fitness training, monthly gym membership, and more. Meredith and her staff can be reached with your fitness questions at 843-883-0101, or Meredith@primetimefit.net.