Conditioning Myths & Half-Truths.

There are a lot of myths floating around the world of sports medicine. Here is a quick overview of some of the more popular myths and why you shouldn't believe everything you hear.
While we are getting better at spotting the fitness scams and junk science, there are still a lot of myths floating around the world of sports medicine. Here is a quick overview of some of the more popular myths and why you shouldn't believe everything you hear.

Conditioning Myth 1:

    No Pain, No Gain
    Exercise does not need to hurt to be good for you. In fact, if it does hurt you're probably doing something wrong. Some soreness is common for a first time exerciser, but if that continues, you are pushing way too hard, Delayed Onset Muscle Soreness, in which pain occurs up to 48 hours after exercise, results from inflammation and microscopic tears in the elastic tissues that surround muscle fibers. To give muscles time to adapt, don't do much too soon, or you will risk injury.

Conditioning Myth 2:

    Excessive Sweating While Exercising Means You're Not Fit
    In fact, it's just the opposite. Sweating during exercise is a sign of an efficient cooler. An athlete who has adapted to keep the body core cool during exercise will shunt blood to the skin's surface more quickly and release heat from the body. At the same time, the sweat glands increase their output and thus cool the body during sweat evaporation. While fit people produce more sweat than sedentary folks, they lose less sodium, because more of it is reabsorbed by the body. The result is a more efficient cooler.

Conditioning Myth 3:

    To Build Muscles, Eat High-Protein Foods
    There is no scientific evidence supporting the popular belief that athletes require massive amounts of protein. According to Dr. Suzanne Nelson Steen, head of the University of Washington Huskies Sports Nutrition Program, strength athletes require high carbohydrate and adequate glycogen stored in the muscle.

    She points out that all high intensity, powerful muscle contractions (such as weight lifting) are fueled with carbohydrate. "Neither fat nor protein can be oxidized rapidly enough to meet the demands of high-intensity exercise. Adequate dietary carbohydrate must be consumed on a daily basis to restore glycogen levels." To build more muscles, you simply have to follow a good weight training program and eat a well-balanced diet consistently.

Conditioning Myth 4:

    If You Stop Exercising, Your Muscles Will Turn to Fat
    Fat and muscles are two different tissue types. One can not convert to the other. The truth is that muscles atrophy when not used. Therefore, if you continue to eat as you always have, but stop exercising, you will see an increase in body fat and a loss of muscle mass. Of course, the real question is "why are you stopping exercise in the first place?"

Conditioning Myth 5:

    You Can Increase Fat Burning By Exercising Longer at a Lower Intensity
    It really isn't important what percentage of energy during exercise comes from fat or carbohydrate. What matters at the end of the day is how many total calories were expended. The higher the exercise intensity, the more calories are burned per minute. Many new exercisers, however, are encouraged to exercise at a lower intensity because high-intensity exercise is difficult to sustain, and safer.

Conditioning Myth 6:

    If You Exercise, You Can Eat Anything
    Not so fast. If you try to make up for poor nutrition by exercising, you are going to be disappointed. While eating poorly and not exercising is far worse for your health that eating poorly and exercising, you will get the most out of your workouts if you fuel them with high quality foods. Eating for exercise will give you the energy necessary to exercise, and you will be less likely to overtrain.

    The only true way to get the most from a fitness program is to have a good balance between proper nutrition and consistent conditioning. You simply can't do one or the other and expect to look and feel great. Hints on proper sports nutrition: Eat smaller meals more frequently (about four or five mini meals a day), include a balance of protein, fruit and vegetables and carbs in your diet, and stay well hydrated.

Conditioning Myth 7:

    If You Don't Work Out Hard and Often, Exercise Is A Waste Of Time
    Nothing could be farther from the truth. Research shows that even moderate exercise, such as walking and gardening a few times a week, can have tremendous benefits. One study found that gardening for as little as an hour a week reduced the risk of heart disease.

Conditioning Myth 8:

    Exercise Can Fix All Your Health Problems
    While consistent exercise can make a huge difference in quality and quantity of life, it can't fix everything. Individual differences in response to exercise may determine individual results in muscle building, weight loss, or cardiovascular improvements.

    Individuals with other health issues and diseases still need to follow a physician's advice when it comes to disease management protocols. And although exercise alone can not guarantee your health, or cure you of illness, regular physical activity has been shown to help everything from arthritis and heart disease to asthma and diabetes.

Conditioning Myth 9:

    Weight Training Will Bulk You Up
    Many women use this excuse to avoid weight training. What they don't realize it that weight training is often the easiest and quickest way for women to lose body fat and increase muscle definition. Most women would need to work out with weights at a very high intensity (and then take steroids) to achieve the massive bulked-up look most body builders have. It's just not easy for women to built massive muscles.

Conditioning Myth 10:

    The More Exercise The Better
    Have you ever heard of overtraining syndrome? Of course you can get too much exercise. Many top athletes give in to this myth, and many pay the price with injury, illness and depression. When it comes to exercise, you need an appropriate balance of training and rest in order to perform optimally.

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