Anyone serious about fitness has understandably sought out professional advice on the subject. Some of what you’d find is great advice that will help your fitness routine become more honed and productive. And others, like what this article is talking about today, are phony myths that need to die from the fitness community’s collective unconscious effective immediately.
These myths, rather than help your workout, can actually prove to be a detriment to any improvement you otherwise would have seen. So what can be done? Simple, you can be aware. Being aware of these myths is the only step you really need in not implementing them. Once you know they don’t work, it makes sense that you should stop doing them. So, if you’re a man over 25 looking to improve their fitness routine, be sure to avoid these fitness myths.
#1. You can monitor and regulate what and how much you eat via a food diary
When you want to get in shape, a good first step as any is to come down on your sweet tooth and regulate how much you eat. Food diaries, in that case, seem like a great solution. However, this fails to take into account certain things. For one, this assumes you can remember every meal you have, how much calories it contained, and how much of it you ate, and not everyone has that kind of memory. Second, you’d have to carry it with you everywhere, and you’d have to dedicate yourself to filling it out every time. Finally, and this is the crucial part, this assumes what you’re putting down is accurate information.
Humans have a very nasty tendency to overestimate ourselves, including our physical activity verses how much food we eat. More often than not, when you use this, you’re giving yourself much more credit than you deserve. Using a food diary, unless you are very good at running numbers and keeping yourself in check, is only guaranteeing yourself misinformation.
#2. You can go two weeks without exercise before you start getting “out of shape”
This is simply not true. It’s actually much faster than that! In fact, if you suddenly stop all physical training, it takes as little as a week before your muscle tissue starts breaking down to where it was before (this is known as de-conditioning). Muscle tissue requires a constant state of activity in order to build up to the bulkiness you see on professional wrestlers or movie stars. They aren’t allowed to slow down, because they figured this out long ago. Use it, or lose it, essentially.
If you want to not only get in shape, but stay in shape, then you will have to shift the way you go through your entire daily routine, pretty much forever. At the very least, you shouldn’t immediately go back to how you lived when you started this.
#3. Games and puzzles are the best workout for your brain
It makes sense, right? You want to work out your mind as well as your body? Break out those brain teasers! However, while it will have an effect, it won’t do nearly as well as other forms of exercise. In general, your best bet for mental exercise is aerobic exercise, which refers to any activity that raises your heart rate and has you moving and sweating for long stretches of time. This exercise actually has a significantly beneficial effect on your brain. So next time you feel the need to get your brain in shape, go for a long, sweaty jog by the beach. It’ll do you far better than a few brain teasers.
#4. Work out once or twice a week to stay in shape
Any fitness instructor will get this misconception out of your head nice and fast, but let’s go over it here anyway. Once or twice a week is not enough for an effective training regimen, not even close in fact. Especially if you not only want to get in shape, but actually want the sustained health benefits that come from getting in shape.
It varies from person to person, but generally speaking, 3 days per week at minimum is the best for a well-structured exercise program. And even then, you should always do something physical every day. It doesn’t necessarily have to be a specific fitness routine, but simply taking your dog on a long walk through the park can suffice.
#5. The morning is the best time to exercise
It’s not that the morning isn’t a good time to exercise. In truth, there is no bad time to exercise. Unless it’s the time of day that doesn’t work for you. The best time of day to exercise is the time where you can exercise for the longest time and most consistently. If that time is in the morning, then by all means exercise in the morning. But if you get the best and most consistent exercise via late-night gym trips, then there’s no reason for you to stop, because that works just fine as well. The best part about physical fitness is that you get to set your own hours. You just have to keep them.
#6. Lifting weights turns fat into muscle
Easily one of the most ridiculous myths about fitness and its relationship to the human body out there. Let this be made achingly clear: fat and muscle are not interchangeable with each other. They are completely different tissues which serve completely different purposes. Weight lifting is a great way to get into shape, but this is not how it’s done.
Weight lifting builds up muscle tissue in and around fat tissue. If you want to cut down on your fat tissue, then you need to cut back on your sugar intake, and stick to vegetables, lean proteins, whole grains, and yes, fats such as olive oil and fish. That is how you reduce your fat tissue and increase your muscle tissue.