There are many myths floating around the health and fitness industry. If you've been following this blog this year, you will realise how many references to exercise myths I have published - everything from spot reduction to high repetition crunches to lose belly fat.
So let's discuss three more common exercise myths that you may or may not be aware of.
Exercise Myth #1: Weight loss during a workout is primarily fat loss
Have you ever weighed your body prior to and after a strenuous workout? If you have, you may have noticed a significant body mass decrease. You may lose 1kg in the space of one hour. It is important to note that the vast majority of this weight loss is not fat, but rather fluids.
This brings me to a good tip when focusing on your level of hydration. If you lose weight after a workout, this will most likely mean that your hydration levels have decreased. It is therefore important to drink more during your workout to ensure that your hydration remains at a healthy level.
Conversely, if your weight increases after a workout, you are probably drinking too much.
Exercise Myth #2: Training for a "pump" necessarily maximises muscle development
A pump is when muscles take up blood to enlarge the total muscle volume. If you are performing higher repetitions, you may notice more of a "pump" than when training at lower repetitions. Following your workout, the "pump" will diminish - typically 20 to 30 minutes after completion.
When you train for an increased blood supply to a muscle, you are not necessarily training for maximum muscle growth. The enlargement of the muscle is due to the uptake of blood, not:
- Because the muscle is growing
- Because the muscle is being worked in a way that is necessarily conductive of muscle growth
You can actually get quite a good pump performing cardiovascular work.
It may look great in the mirror, but keep in mind that a pump should not be the focus of your training if you are training for muscle development.
Exercise Myth #3: There is one approach training that is the most effective method
It is really common to hear someone in the health and fitness industry suggest that by following a specific set of training protocols, you will obtain maximum results for your goals. In other words, a "one-size-fits-all" approach to weight loss or muscle gain.
Due to the variance between individuals, this is definitely not the case. Individuals respond differently to varying training approaches. There is no single study out there that has been accepted to be "the one and only way to train". Ironically, it is not uncommon for many naive gym attendees to approach other members and preach a particular way of training is "the only way to train".
This is exactly why the personal training industry is flourishing - because optimal results require individualised attention.