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12 Days of Fitness 2014: Day 9 – 10 Fitness Lies You Tell Yourself

December 18, 2014 0 Comments

(This is Part 9 of a 12 part series to provide you with some helpful health and fitness tips over the holiday season)

mariahdolan_image_mariah01Some people like to think that they can talk themselves out of corner when in reality most times they talk themselves right into a corner. It happens in numerous scenarios in life but none could be a greater an example of when it comes to health and fitness. There are those who think they know it all or better than everyone else and then there are those that no matter what the laws of physics or thermodynamics say they are exempt. Here is my list of the top 10 fitness lies people tell themselves that either make them feel good about what they’re doing or keep them from ever reaching their goals.

  1. I know how hard I’m working by how much I sweat. Sweat will never be a valid indicator of exercise intensity. Sweat is a healthy and normal response to physical activity as it’s the body’s way of keeping cooled off from rising body temperatures. But everyone has different sweat rates and while no sweat is bad, more isn’t necessarily better.
  2. The more I work out, the faster I’ll see results. Exercise quality will always trump exercise quantity. The notion of “if little is good, more must be better” regarding exercise often gets more people injured, burned out, and blaming exercise for their lack of results rather than accepting that consistent and gradual progress will win out in the end.
  3. I’ll start working out as soon as I lose this weight. Huh? It should be seen the other way around – ‘I’ll start losing some of this weight once I start working out.” While weight loss shouldn’t always be the goal of exercise, it is a very nice side effect. Exercise (physical movement) has a seemingly endless benefit to us in so many ways that there’s really no reason to not do it.
  4. I can eat whatever I want because I exercise. You might have a need for more fuel depending on the intensity of your workouts, but just because you exercise is never a license to eat whatever you want. It’s a destructive mentality that in the long run will bite back.
  5. If I’m not sore the day after my workout, I didn’t train hard enough. Muscle soreness isn’t and should never be the goal of any exercise program. Day after or second day soreness is usually the result of a new exercise, new movement pattern, new muscle fiber type recruitment, heavier resistance, new mechanical stress, etc. that manifests itself as micro-tears in the muscle at the cellular level. Healthy? Yes, and quite normal. But success of a previous day’s workout should never be based upon it.
  6. Even though I’m still hurting from yesterday’s workout, I’ll work through the pain. Pain is the body’s way of letting you know that something’s not quite right. It might be miniscule; it might be a bigger deal, but never think you’re weak or gutless because you need to skip a day. It’s important to know the difference between pain and muscle soreness/tenderness.
  7. I’m going to work my abs incessantly to flatten my abs. Abdominal work is great and just one of many muscle groups to develop but training them will never, NEVER, flatten your stomach until you change the diet that deposits the fat on top of them. It is very possible to have very strong abs but a flabby belly. Work on your diet incessantly.
  8. I am going to pick up right where I left off with my workout. Missing a day or two is one thing. Missing a few weeks, months, or even years is a recipe for disaster. Put your ego and high school athlete mentality away and gradually work yourself back into a routine.
  9. I stick with machines to avoid injury. Injury is an assumed risk with every exercise and just because it’s a machine doesn’t make it exempt from injury potential. In fact, machine use could have a more detrimental effect on muscular coordination and development simply because most work in isolatory movements whereas the body works in multi-planar movements, but that’s a discussion for another day.
  10. I only need to do cardio because I want to burn fat. True, you can burn some serious calories doing cardio correctly but it is not the most optimal way to do it. As previously discussed, fat loss is a wonderful side effect from doing regular, consistent exercise. But cardio has benefits beyond that trump fat loss. True fat loss success come from overall systemic body fat loss through some regular, moderate to high intensity cardio exercise, resistance training, and nutritious diet.

See you tomorrow for Day 10 of the 12 Days of Fitness

Til next time, train smart, eat well, and be better

About the Author:

Jeff Harrison is a fitness coach based in Pottstown, PA. He received a BS in Exercise and Sport Science from Penn State University and is an NSCA Certified Strength and Conditioning Specialist (CSCS), NSCA Certified Personal Trainer (NSCA-CPT) and ACE Advanced Health and Fitness Specialist (ACE-AHFS). Jeff's articles have been published in peer-reviewed journals as well as consumer oriented websites and magazines.

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