Along with a nutrition plan, exercise is a key player to helping you achieve your health goals. Unfortunately, there are many myths and misconceptions in the fitness world. Luckily, one of our amazing personal trainers, Daniela Mattera, shares her top five misconceptions about exercise.
“Cardio will help me lose weight.”
While cardiovascular exercise is integral to a balanced work out regime, weight training is ultimately what is going to help us maintain our body weight. It is a fact that muscle burns more calories then fat- we need to make our body as efficient as possible at burning calories in order to maintain a healthy body weight. The only way that we accomplish this is through weight training which creates the muscle mass. Cardiovascular exercise is just that- exercise for the heart. You will never be able to build muscle utilizing just cardio equipment. This misconception is one that often leads to frustration and failure because one’s expectations are inevitably let down when they focus solely on cardio and never see the changes they anticipated upon signing up for the gym.
"It’s best to lift light weights and do higher repetitions.”
One of the most common mistakes I see at the gym is people- especially women- lifting too light. Light weights and higher repetitions are great if you are training with the goal of muscular endurance but often this is not the case and is not in line with most people’s goals. If your goal is to be leaner and stronger and you are lifting too light then you may have great difficulty reaching that goal. In order to create muscle mass we need to set a resistance that is challenging enough for our body and that will in turn help convert fat mass into muscle mass. If we are complacent and lift weights that are not stimulating our muscular as well as our nervous system, we will never be able to see that change. Moreover, lifting light weights with high repetitions over extended periods of time can lead to joint pain and overuse injuries.
“Lifting weights will make me bulky. I don’t want to look like a man.”
Females do not have as much testosterone or muscle mass as men. We would have to lift incredibly heavy weights while consuming huge quantities of protein and isolating muscle groups before we would even come close to “bulking up.” On the contrary, it is imperative we choose those aforementioned challenging weight ranges to stimulate muscle growth and counter the many hormonal roadblocks to losing and maintaining weight loss that we encounter as females. Unfortunately women are biologically better fat storers than men and the lesser muscle mass is a detriment we must compensate for by lifting adequately challenging weights.
“As I get older I should be careful not to overdo it at the gym. Lifting weights can be dangerous and I could injure myself.”
On the contrary- as we age we get hit with a negative trifecta of issues that challenge our ability to maintain our overall well being like we effortlessly did when we were younger. From the age of thirty we begin to lose muscle mass, bone density, and flexibility. A balanced, smartly designed workout program can help us combat all of these issues. As discussed above, muscle mass is imperative to maintaining our body weight- muscle mass keeps our metabolic fire burning more rapidly and efficiently. Free weight training can help maintain as well as build bone density- a crucial thing as we get older and are more prone to osteoporosis as well as osteopenia. Flexibility is very important for our overall comfort level- often we may think we have injuries or joint pain and not realize that it’s related to muscle stiffness or muscular imbalance due to tightness.
“Working out hurts!”
We have all heard that expression “No pain no gain!” While this tag phrase can be exciting and inspiring for athletes and seasoned gym goers, it can be incredibly intimidating for others. When people have a specific program designed for them it is tailored to what they as individuals need and enjoy and what inspires them and what motivates them. We all know exercise is a stress reliever. It produces the release of endorphins as well as increases brain sensitivity for serotonin and norepinephrine. If we have a program designed for us with very specific movement patterns that suit our body as well as our fitness goals, we can leave the gym not only pain free but feeling good mentally as well as emotionally. And let’s not forget- more mobile joints, stretchier and stronger muscles!
Daniela Mattera has been in the fitness industry for over 15 years. She is a C.H.E.K. Exercise coach who specializes in postural assessments, correcting muscular imbalances, and relieving muscle and joint pain while encouraging weight loss through comprehensive full body workouts. If you enjoyed the article and are interested in a complimentary assessment please our front desk 631-321-1900!