By Alice Harrosh
Here are some of the biggest fitness myths I have heard — and the real truth revealed.
- Walking will change my body.
Sorry to disappoint you, but it will not. While walking is healthy and will burn some calories, it does not target those trouble spots you want to work on. The only thing that will work on those trouble spots is working on those trouble spots. What I mean by that is doing specific exercises for those specific areas. Just walking is simply not enough.
- I have to exercise every day in order to see results.
It’s what you do that counts more. It’s also important to remember that you should never tone the same muscle group two days in a row. The change in the muscle takes place the next day so working that same muscle group again is counterproductive because you are interfering with the change process. It is ideal to aim for 20–30 minutes of cardiovascular exercises (walking, running, swimming) on most days of the week, and do weight training on alternating days (example: upper body on Monday and Wednesday, lower body on Tuesday and Thursday).
- Shouldn’t I lose the weight first before I tone and lift weights?
Besides looking more toned and fit, toning will also speed up your metabolism, helping you shed those pounds even faster. If you have a large amount of weight to lose and you wait until you lose it all to tone up, you will be left with a lot of saggy loose skin, and a lot of hard work ahead of you. The ideal is to tone while you lose.
- Inches and weight come off together.
Weight comes off from decreasing your caloric intake. Inches come off from weight-bearing exercises. For example, I once had a personal-training client who had over 50 pounds to lose. She did not want to diet, only exercise. We worked together 3 times a week for about a month before I re-measured her. In that month, she lost 12 inches (just from exercise) and zero weight. Inches will decrease your dress size and affect how trim and fit you feel. If you want to lose both, do both diet and exercise. However, if you’ve been exercising and not seeing the scale budge, check your inches.
- The heavier the weights, the better.
Holding weights correctly and doing the exercise properly comes first. Many people will hold a heavy weight, which will either make them perform the exercise too fast (they are trying to finish quickly), too slow (because it’s too heavy), or, even worse, arch their back, which can cause injury. So what is the ideal weight that you should be lifting? The weight should be challenging enough that the exercise is not “easy,” but at the same time is safe. It is best to assess that with a personal trainer or other fitness professional.
- If I’m not sore, it didn’t work.
You may be sore because you did not stretch (see next myth) or because you did something that you were not used to. You also may have performed the exercise wrong. Soreness in no way indicates effectiveness of an exercise.
- Warming up and stretching are optional.
Just like you wouldn’t get into your car in the freezing winter, turn on the ignition and just start driving, do not do the same to your body. A proper warmup takes at least five minutes. In these five minutes, try to move around all your major muscle groups. Follow that with a stretch. Even more importantly, make sure to stretch after every workout. This will help prevent injury.
Alice Harrosh is a nutrition counselor and manager at Nutrition by Tanya, which has 11 locations, including one in Five Towns right near Elderd Lane. Alice knows that making healthy choices is not always easy as she has been through the struggle herself. For more information on Nutrition by Tanya or the TAP (Tanya-approved products) food line, please visit nutritionbytanya.com, call 844-Tanya-Diet or follow @nutritionbytanya on Instagram.