1. No Pain, No Gain
Everyone has heard someone shouting “You can do it! Come on! Two more reps!” While these “encouraging words” may help as a test of your willpower, it is a bad strategy for lifelong exercise. Unless you’re an elite athlete, there is no need for pain. Individuals who exercise simply for the health benefits including better heart health, weight regulation, mood improvement, increased energy or better sleep can attain these goals pain free.
The truth is, moderate exercise for 40 minutes just four or five times a week is all that is required to gain the health benefits of exercise. Walking or jogging, swimming and even some common household chores qualify as “moderate exercise” and provide minimal discomfort. There is a great list of example activities at http://www.nhlbi.nih.gov/health/public/heart/obesity/lose_wt/phy_act.htm
2. You Can Build Long, Lean Muscles
There has long been a common misconception that weight lifting and resistance training will make a person bulky and big. What no one takes the time to think about is, from a purely anatomical view, the idea of making muscles longer and impossible; the joint distance never changes. While this is a simple concept, people still think some exercises can give you longer lean muscles. There are millions of advertisements out there offering to sell people sleek long muscles if they do this exercise, or buy this machine. Almost everyone thinks low weight and high reps will give you lean muscles and keep you from getting big.
The truth: Muscle adaptation does not change if you’re doing Pilates or bench press. Bulky muscles are created from intense workouts and high protein intake and for really bulky muscles, usually steroids are involved. This is not to say you can’t get a lean looking body. A mix of resistance exercise, fast paced circuit training with reps in the 8 to 20 range will help you build and maintain a lean physique.
3. Working Out In The Morning/Night is Best
There are tons of people out there that will insist working out in the morning is better, making claims it will boost your metabolism all day long. Conversely there are plenty of people who will tell you that working out at night is best, because you can burn off the calories you ate that day, and be tired and ready for sleep later on.
In terms of fat-loss, there’s no benefit either way. You can debate when you should work out, and what is the optimal time to take your whey protein all day long. Ultimately though, there isn’t a big enough difference to matter. The events of the entire 24 hour period are what matter most. People constantly see great results going against the latest “break-troughs” in weight loss, and the truth is there is no plan that is perfect for everyone. Don’t lose sight of the bigger picture, a healthy lifestyle, because you are lost in the details.
The truth: The real “best” time you can exercise, is whenever you feel most like working out, or can fit it in your schedule. There are a couple of guidelines that you can use to help make your decision though.
- Avoid HIIT (High Intensity Interval Training) later in the evening as it causes your body to produce chemicals in the brain that may make it harder to fall alseep.
- Weight training is best performed when you can exert your maximum effort
- Avoid exercising too soon after a meal. Try to keep digestion to a minimum while working out.
4. You Have to Exercise If You Want To Lose Weight
This is the kind of statement that is used to sell exercise programs and equipment. If you are really looking to drop the pounds, your diet needs to be in order. While the many benefits of exercise are not up for debate, losing weight is all about eating fewer calories. Injuries, medical conditions and a lack of time can all prevent you from exercising. Those who cannot exercise are not doomed to be overweight, and plenty of people who don’t exercise at all can and do lose weight all the time.
The truth: If you are looking to lose weight, eating healthier foods and reducing your caloric intake is vital. You can give yourself an edge by finding a weight loss buddy. According to a study in the journal Obesity; people who attempt to lose weight with a partner/friend/buddy can significantly influence each others results. There are a few tips that can help you to lose weight without exercising:
- Log your food – Logging what you eat creates awareness of the energy that food provides in relation to the energy your body needs
- Eat nutrient dense foods and balanced meals – get as much nutrition from the calories you eat as possible. Eating more whole grains, nuts, seeds, fruits and veggies as well as lean meat will provide your body with protein, fiber, healthy fats and vitamins that it needs to thrive. These foods generally leave you feeling fuller longer as well!
- Plan meals ahead of time – get an idea of what you are going to eat during the day ahead of time. prepare meals for the week ahead of time so you just have to reheat them, reducing the chances you will go for take out or eat something not so healthy.
- Get any activity you can – simply walking, taking the stairs or parking farther away at the store can add up. Take advantage of these extra few calories burned where you can.