You probably have heard some people telling you that you should not do this or that in the gym. While some of the advice may work, but you should not just take everything without digesting. Here are few of the things you probably have heard and what I think about them:
1) Smith Machine Is Bad To Do Squats?
People say that smith machine squat is one of the worst exercises. They may be true, but it is not a black and white rule. It really depends. I agree that smith machine will lock someone into a range of motion which is not always natural. But, I rather recommend a beginner to try on smith machine due to safety reason than doing barbell squat in his first attempt. In fact, even with the smith machine, if the beginner does not know how to properly align himself within the machine, it can still create problem. Once the beginner has learned the basic, he can then proceed with barbell squat.
2) Should Not Work A Muscle When It is Already Big Enough
I used to follow this advice when my friend told me, “Don’t train your biceps too much. They are good enough now.”
The fact is that our genetic potential limits the amount of muscle we can build. Let’s not talk about the use of steroid. The average adult loses muscle mass each year as they age, so you must continue to train just to maintain that muscle mass. If you do not work the muscle, you not only stand to lose mass, but strength as well.
3) We Can Only Burn Fat Within The Target Heart Rate Zone
Cardiovascular exercise uses fat as the primary source of fuel during the activity. The problem is that this does not really matter much. I have mentioned about the target heart rate zone where you burn most of your calories from fat.
I have also clarified that we are always burning fat, just at different rates. In the zone, you might burn 300 calories at a rate of 70% – meaning 70% of those calories come from fat which is 210 calories of fat.
With intense cardio, you might burn 600 calories during the same time frame, but only 40% from fat, which is 240 calories in this case. Guess what? Just because the zone is 70% and the high intensity is 40%, you still burned more calories from fat by working out intensely (240 calories versus 210).
Check out this article – The Truth Of Target Heart Rate For Fat Burning
4) Cardiovascular Exercise is Better Way To Burn Fat Comparing with Weight Training or Diet Plan?
Weight training does not only burns more calories per hour than cardiovascular exercise, it also raises your metabolism more, and also stimulates the growth of muscle mass which burns many times more calories than fat even at rest.
However, given a choice, we should combine weight training, diet plan and cardiovascular exercise to lose fat. I agree that cardio may burn more fat, but in the context of an entire 12-week program that is balanced between cardio and resistance training with healthy nutrition, you can actually burn more fat.
5) Weight-lifting Decreases Flexibility?
I know some of you may hate him, but have you seen Van Damme do his famous split? How about Jackie Chan? These two guys do weight training too and I do not see them being not flexible.
The truth is that gaining muscle without stretching will make you muscle bound. Anyone who incorporates appropriate stretching will successfully lengthen the muscle through the joint and allow their flexibility to increase with their muscle mass.
In fact, flexibility is essential for gaining optimal muscle mass. Without stretching, ligaments and tendons cannot grow to adapt to the size of the muscle, and the result will be issues with your joints.
I heard that even Ronnie Coleman, at 287 pounds, was able to perform almost a full split during 2003 Olympia.
In conclusion, things can be different for different people. The health and fitness industry has its own share of myths. Sometimes it is a distortion of the truth to sell a product or services. The next time you hear someone telling something different, you cane nicely tell him to come down to your level and explain what he is talking about.
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