Fact, Fiction or Fickle: Fitness Myths
We ask local fitness experts if these myths are fact, fiction or fickle.
This week, we tackle myths surrounding fitness. Check back next week when we wrap up our myth-busting guide with mental wellness myths.
Experts: Aaron Day, ACSM Certified Personal Trainer and Yoga Instructor
Denise Chakoian, Owner and fitness professional at Core Studios, Providence and Pawtucket.
Myth: Women should avoid lifting weights if they don’t want to “bulk up.”
There is only one way you will ever bulk up, and that is by consuming more calories than you exert during the day (try keeping track of your daily intake with a phone app). Whether it is to lose body fat, increase strength, or achieve a more toned physique, weightlifting will only bring you closer to your goals. Strength training also increases your metabolism, which helps burn more fat compared to if you did not lift weights at all.
F A C T
It is important that you know how and when to stretch. Before working out, a five to ten minute dynamic warm up will help physical performance, increase mobility and can help prevent injury. This type of “stretching” takes the muscles through a full range of motion at an extremely fast rate. For example, jumping jacks, butt kicks, or power skips would be great exercises to do before your workout. After working out is a more effective time to incorporate static stretching, where the goal is to lengthen your muscles, typically done for thirty seconds each. It’s important to stretch whatever muscle group was trained that day. For example, if you did a core workout, an Upward Facing Dog position would be a phenomenal stretch for your abdominals. You do not want to statically stretch a muscle before working out, as this will decrease your power output. You will not be as strong or explosive because this type of stretching relaxes the muscle.
Myth: Spinning is a better workout than running.
These are two completely different modalities of exercise. Spinning (or cycling classes), typically creates less impact on the joints and can be a great form of cardiovascular exercise for all levels. Many people that can no longer run use cycling as a form of exercise, as it can be just as intense but with less pounding on the joints. Running is a great form of exercise if done properly and not done excessively. Some body types struggle with running more than others, so this is truly based on the body’s makeup and movement pattern. Strength training with both of these modalities is very important.
Myth: Running indoors on a treadmill is easier on your joints than running outside on a trail or around the neighborhood.
Myth: Crunches should be your go-to exercise if you want a flat stomach.
Crunches should not be your go-to. To achieve a flat stomach, certain things need to be taken into account; 1. Diet, 2. Core exercises that target the entire abdomen such as transverse movements and isolated plank type exercises, and 3. Any previous surgeries or injuries that may affect this goal.