By John Alas Generation Iron
Let’s squash these common bodybuilding myths right now.
Working out and the reasons for working out are well known, but with those facts come a lot of misconceptions. We tend to get caught in a ‘more is better’ attitude, and sometimes, just sometimes, we are not getting the most for our time and energy. This post explores a few of the common misconceptions about working out.
1. Exercising first thing in the morning will burn more fat.
It is always important not to deprive your body of nutrients, especially after fasting all night. Starting exercise on an empty stomach will limit the amount of energy you have to finish your workout, let alone perform high intensity exercise; which is essential for the ability to for post workout fat burn. Just like you would not drive a car without fuel, our bodies work in the same manner.
The best meal routine on workout days is to eat first thing in the morning and wait at least 30 minutes to begin exercising. Ideally, the breakfast consists of a balanced level of protein and carbs, which is roughly 2:1, respectively. Similar types of food should be eaten for post workout meals as well.
2. Sweating more means you got a better workout and/or losing more weight.
The function of sweat is to cool the body down and regulate internal temperature. There are several non-exercise related factors that cause a person to sweat, including, being overweight, outside temperature, and heavy consumption of caffeine and/or alcohol. Any immediate weight loss occurring by sweating is water weight that will promptly be gained back once you rehydrate yourself. While some workouts make you sweat more than others, there are some exercises such as weight training and long distance walking that do not cause a person to sweat as much.
That is not to say that sweating has no benefit beyond cooling. It can temporarily raise metabolism, allow for toxins to be released from the body as well as result in smoother and softer skin with proper cleansing. However, sweat does not directly signify a better workout or result in more weight loss.
3. No Pain, No Gain
“No pain, no gain”, is a phrase that is used so frequently when referring to work out habits, that it has become somewhat of a cliché. This myth does have some truth to it in the form of Delayed Onset Muscle Soreness, (DOMS) a condition that athletes and fitness enthusiasts are proud of. DOMS generally happens 6-8 hours after a person starts a new exercise routine they are not used to. The muscles haven’t gotten used to the new workout and repair themselves, resulting in DOMS. It is most common among people who are just starting to get into strenuous exercise routines, but can occur in experienced athletes as well.
However, excessive pain is not a part of DOMS and is either an indicator that the person has intensified their workout too quickly, they have injured themselves, or they are not giving their body an adequate resting period. In these scenarios, it is advised that the person changes their workout to progress at a slower rate.
Another idea relating to no pain, no gain is that if you are no longer getting DOMS from your workout, then there is no benefit to continuing the same routine. A lack of soreness from a fitness routine is a sign that your body has gotten used to the routine. Continuing the same routine will eventually lead to less gains in athletic performance over time. However, the same exercises are still useful in maintaining the same level of fitness achieved up to that point.
Fitness routines are as varied as the people who are doing them. Tailoring your personal fitness plan to your needs is necessary, but it’s also important to keep these three workout myths in mind. The biggest goal is to find a workout plan that provides everything that you need and is enjoyable in the process.