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With so much information readily available on various websites, social media channels and print magazines, it can be a challenge to decipher who is giving the correct advice when it comes to keeping fit and healthy. Below I explore 4 common fitness myths and suggest a better approach.

1. 'CARDIO IS THE BEST WAY TO LOSE WEIGHT'

Long duration steady state cardio can be a great way to reduce body mass. Going on a long run or a cycle at the weekend can make us feel great, but is it the most effective way of promoting fat loss? It’s important to recognise that without following the correct nutrition protocol, regular long distance cardio (often accompanied by reduced food intake) can contribute to muscle wastage and hamper your weight loss goals in the longer term. Furthermore, in a world where time pressure seems to be one of the biggest barriers to training, high intensity exercise completed in shorter bouts and incorporating resistance exercises can be much more beneficial to supporting weight loss. This is achieved by improving the muscle: fat ratio and increasing the basal metabolic rate, or the number of calories burnt at rest. 


2. 'LIFTING WEIGHTS WILL MAKE ME BULK UP'

True – if that is the goal! Creating a bulky physique requires a lot of training. It also involves consuming slightly more calories than the body needs each day, for a given time period. For women, the risk of gaining large amounts of muscle mass quickly is much lower than men due to significantly lower levels of testosterone and human growth hormone. To achieve the ‘toned’ look, strength training must take place on some level to build the muscles in the first place. Synonymous with muscle building, body fat levels must be monitored closely to ensure that those abs are actually visible when you are on the beach! To avoid bulking up, consider planning a split routine to avoid constantly targeting the same muscle groups each time and follow a diet rich in protein and low in carbohydrate to keep body fat levels at bay. Strength-based workouts should focus on medium intensity weights for 2-3 sets of 12-20 repetitions and a balanced mix of both high and low-intensity cardio. 


3. 'BENCH PRESS WILL HELP ME GET RID OF MY MOOBS '

Man boobs (or ‘moobs’ for short) cannot be fixed solely with countless reps on the bench press. There are typically two causes of moobs; hormone imbalances and high-fat mass. Gynecomastia is the technical name given to moobs resulting from hormone imbalance – essentially a low testosterone: oestrogen ratio, typically in younger and older men. Quality nutrition, sleep and weight training can help to turn things around. The same goes for reducing fat mass. Men typically store excess fatty tissue around the gut and chest area, therefore, a training programme aiming to build lean muscle tissue and expend a large number of calories per session would be favourable.

Top common fitness myths
Photo: Heeaatz

For an example, see the below workout to increase testosterone secretion and build lean muscle tissue. Complete each set as fast as you can, without compromising on form:


ROW 1000m, BENCH PRESS x8 REPS, BACK SQUAT X8 REPS, PLANK X 60s

ROW 750m, BENCH PRESS x10 REPS, BACK SQUAT X10 REPS, PLANK X 60s

ROW 500m, BENCH PRESS x12 REPS, BACK SQUAT X12 REPS, PLANK X 60s

ROW 250m, BENCH PRESS x15 REPS, BACK SQUAT X15 REPS, PLANK X 60s

4. 'I'VE GOT LOWER BACK PAIN, I NEED TO REST'

Lower back pain is one of the biggest causes of lost working days in the UK. In many instances however training can help to relieve the pain. At OPUS, we see many clients who have postural-related lower back pain – and in most cases, the onset of the pain is closely linked to long periods of sedentary office-based work. One of the biggest causes of lower back pain is fundamentally down to weakness in the core muscles and tightness in the legs and hips. There are, of course, many instances where training is not advised as a cure for lower back pain but providing there are no structural problems, getting in to the gym and completing a gentle workout will most likely relieve your symptoms - just avoid exercises involving leaning forward and/or twisting i.e. Deadlifts and Russian Twists.

 

 

About David Kingsbury

As the founder of OPUS, David's passion for inspiring health and wellbeing is at the forefront of his training approach. An accomplished sportsman, David's rugby career was cut short by injury and subsequent surgery on his hips ended his rugby playing days. An intensive post-surgery rehabilitation program educated David about the benefits of adhering to a structured training routine to produce the best outcome. After completing his studies, David worked at one of London's top Reformer Pilates studios clocking up more than 3,500 teaching hours before opening the doors to his own boutique studio in Notting Hill. David now works with a range of clients with varying goals.

 

About OPUS:

Boasting that all too rare mix of youthful energy and experience, OPUS offers its clients a fresh and inspiring approach to health and fitness via their dynamic and science driven personal training sessions. OPUS trainers are not only all educated to degree level but boast over 40 years of diverse training experience between them. They are equally brilliant at assessing movement, restoring function, improving fitness and changing body shape. The team, whilst all fully capable of helping clients reach their varied training goals, are genuine specialists in various fields including Nutrition, Post Injury Post Injury Rehabilitation, Clinical and Dynamic Pilates and Strength and Conditioning.

 

Photo Credit: Matt Hawthorne
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