Monday, 29 July 2013

Fitness Myths Exposed

One of the most common things we see in the Fitness Industry is a proliferation of myths. These seems to come from a misquoted magazine article and get propogated on a global scale. In this article I try to dispel some of the most common fitness myths:

Long Periods of Cardio is Great For Fat Burning
This just isn't true. Yes you will burn some calories, but you'll be surprised how few. You need to be focusing on high intensity interval training if you want to really start changing your metabolism and burning fat. These intervals should include both cardio-based exercises and resistance training.

Doing Lots of Sit-Ups is Key To Getting a Flat Stomach
False. You can do all the sit-ups in the world, but if you have abdominal (belly) fat you won't lose it by doing sit-ups! Instead follow the recommendations above.

Lifting Weights Will Make Me Big
No it won't. In order to get big you will need to have the right hormonal environment, be eating thousands of calories a day and hitting incredibly heavy weights. In fact, many men who wish to get bigger find that they cannot achieve much growth despite heavy weight training. Even professional body builders find they have to supplement their diet with testosterone boosting support to create the correct hormonal environment for real growth.

If you stop exercising, muscle will turn to fat
No it won't. Fat and muscle are two different things. What happens when you stop exercising is that you may lose muscle mass and you will likely put on weight (fat) if you become inactive. Hence many people wrongly assume that their muscle has turned to fat - it hasn't.

Keeping heartrate in the fat burning zone will help me burn more calories
Ever seen those cardio machines in the gym that talk about fat burning zones? This low level intensity exercise would actually burn less calories than shorter bursts of much higher intensity exercise where your heart rate vastly exceeds the fat burning zone. Most exercise scientists now believe the fat buring zone is an outdated concept and one that's best to ignore if you're serious about burning fat.

Wednesday, 24 July 2013

Are Reality Fitness Shows Putting People's Health At Risk?

I must confess to having watched both last years Biggest Loser UK and then the US version. I guess the programs are designed to be interesting and to engage us. But half way through these programs I began to feel saddened by the way these participants are treated and more importantly what others watching the show are learning from it. 

There is a real danger that many reality fitness and weight loss shows are too concerned with creating dramatic television rather than portraying a sensible and attentive approach to health and fitness. In fact from watching these shows most people who may be looking to lose weight and get fit themselves may be led to assume that fitness is nothing less than tortuous and that unless you're in excruciating pain, it just won't work. So are these shows simply putting people off exercise altogether?

A report in the American Journal of Health found that subjects who watched the show Biggest Loser were not only less inclined to exercise after watching but also reported enjoying exercise less too. There are many similar shows that focus on rapid weight loss in extreme conditions and this format seems to have taken over leading most people to assume that this is the accepted and indeed normal way of losing weight and getting in shape.

The idea that exercise must be tortuous to be worthwhile is enough to put anyone off. It seems that these shows revel in maximum weight loss in the shortest possible time - something that most experts know is not the best way to lose weight. The competition between the trainers seems to fuel the desire for their team to be beasted into submission. How can this be a healthy portrayal of getting fit and losing weight. We all know that the best way to lose weight and keep it off is slower weight loss of a few pounds a week and not pushing so hard that we injure ourselves or make ourselves sick.

But of course a program about a group of people getting in shape sensibly and lose a few punds a week simply doesn't make good television, so we are left with shows that seem to sell, regardless of the message they are giving out to their audience.