Dedicated to Mr. Joe Weider, who inspired me to become
what I am and help teach the world about fitness.
The major reason that I got into exercise science was to explode the exercise myths that existed. I grew up the son of a Sergeant Major in the Marine Corps. Exercise was a way of life for me. Several times, various individuals would offer their philosophy to me on exercise.
The funny thing was most of the advice that doctors and other people were giving me was incorrect. Several people would assume the fact that I was just young kid, and also inexperienced.
What most people didn't know was that by the time I was 16, and I had already been lifting for two years. Most of my early knowledge came from the Weider magazines. Obviously it is difficult to pick up the science journals when you are not exposed to the base knowledge necessary to understand the terms and concepts.
I was blessed with a love for knowledge and lucky for me, a top notch education was available. I spent most of college time working side by side with the greatest names in exercise and those experts in other branches of science. The trouble is, when you have "lived the exercise," even some of the education and information was wrong and miss-leading. On the other hand, one answer would lead to a hundred other questions.
Just like you, I had tried almost everything and come to learn that common sense was the basis of any exercise program. Today, you are probably still confused with the exaggerated claims that are swirling about in the fitness industry.
The truth is there are many ways to get big and many ways to get strong and many ways to get lean. Some general principles for exercise still exist and that is what we are going to talk about here. In most cases these are generalities, most apply to the general public; however, if you have a disease or disability or some other genetic wash, these suggestion may need more clarification.
It is unfortunate that there is such a multitude of opinions that are being forced onto the public. Many of them are fueled by inappropriate marketing schemes geared towards making you believe that some companies' product is able to solve some training problem you may possess.
Unfortunately this misconception occurs in science, one day we are told that beer will stop heart attacks and the next study tells us that beer causes cancer. All of this confusion stops many individuals from participating with exercise at all.
One day we are told that eating strawberries is good for our health and the next day we are told that they give us cancer. The multitude of various opinions gets most folks very confused and they just push away from the idea of exercising in the first place.
The Surgeon General has estimated that we could save over 200,000 lives a year if we could just get more Americans off the couch and on to their feet. Chances are, you are a trainer or you work with some individuals who could use some type of motivation.
I hope that this article will render some of the silly notions that people offer as objections about why they won't exercise. Some of these individuals may not be far from your home and many of them may be in your family. Reproduction of this article in part or as a whole is permissible with the inclusion of the author's name and the citing of Bodybuilding.com.
Strength Training Will Make Women Too Muscular:
It is a simple fact that women do not have the
testosterone available in their bodies to build large muscles. As many of you already know, it takes a tremendous amount of effort,
nutritional support and time to gain even small amounts of muscle.
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Women naturally have less bone and muscle than men and a need to take advantage of what little they do have. This lack of overall body mass suggests why women are at a greater risk of osteoporosis. The benefits of strength training for women, far outweighs the potential side effects associated with lifting weights.
Women are 30 times more likely to produce beneficial reactions to weightlifting than men. Simply put, lifting weights does not make simply make you look like a bodybuilder. The older you are the less likely it is for a female to gain muscle mass.
For the most part you will become more "toned" and that is likely the best you can hope for. Strength training is very important since it improves bone density, decreases estrogen (lower chance of breast cancer by over 50%), reduces depression and other anxieties, and increases your metabolism.
Exercise Burns Lots Of Calories:
I often used this statement directed at people to show them the importance of diet with exercise. I will look at the individual right in her eyes and I will pick some point that is approximately 1 mile away from where I am standing.
I will tell that person this, "You could break out into a dead run, from here until a place (1 mile away) and run back. You will have likely to burn off only 200 calories-THAT IS HALF A BAGEL." People have a preconceived notion that if they just exercise they will lose weight because they burn calories with movement. Other people will think that they can exercise and eat whatever they want.
The truth is exercise is only part of the key to success. In my article, "Facts about Aerobic Response" the science clearly indicates that aerobic exercise is best done at a moderate level to burn fat. The primary result of doing aerobic exercise within the 60-70% of your target heart rate, result in a decrease of a hormone called Cortisol.
Most people think that they can eat whatever they want and then just go exercise, and that will make up for the lack of dietary discretion. You cannot trade poor dietary choices and replaced for additional exercise time. You may not appear fat on the outside, but your body chemistry will lead you to heart disease.
There are plenty of skinny people who have heart attacks too, and most of the time it is due to poor dietary habits. I have done the blood work on lots of patients and they may look fit on the outside, but they are slowly dying on the inside.
If The Food Tastes Good It Must Not Be Good For Me:
I often see individuals eating cardboard out of plastic bags. They search around for the best tasting
protein, yet they will eat something basically the consistency of leathery cardboard and about as tasty. There are plenty of spices, herbs and artificial sweeteners available to allow for improved flavor and taste to aid with
While we are on the subject according to the National Institute of Health, American Cancer Society and the American Food and Drug Administration have all cleared the available artificial sweeteners. They do not cause cancer, yet some individuals may show hypersensitivity to them. Stevia is a natural alternative that offers literally no side effects.
Don't be afraid to season your foods using herbs and spices. Some herbs actually help with the fat burning process and also make foods taste better to us. It is important to use many of these products because it results in a decreased craving which results in dietary cheating.
Most of us were not born into military backgrounds, nor were your parents likely to have restricted you from a sweet treats now and then. Our comfort foods produce a long-standing peptide release mechanism and craving those types of foods is a temptation that is almost impossible to avoid.
So please, use the artificial sweeteners, (Note: I do not recommend artificial sweeteners for children since they have such high metabolisms) use products like Mrs. Dash that have no sodium, but had lots of flavor, use cooking methods that benefit flavor and the eat as much raw food as you can. Review recipe articles from authors like Ginger Redeker and use her cooking methods to spice up your palate.
You will be less likely to cheat and eat junk if you eat foods that are good for you, yet attractive and seasoned for better taste.
I Want To Gain Muscle And Get Lean At The Same Time:
Your body has to be in one of two states; you can either be catabolic and losing weight or you can be anabolic and gaining weight. You are not going to be doing both at the same time TO ANY APPRECIABLE DEGREE. The entire setup of your hormonal system can only travel in one direction at a time.
| Catabolic And Anabolic
Catabolic:The breaking down in living organisms of more complex substances (such as muscle tissue) into simpler ones, with the release of energy.
Anabolic:Constructive metabolism; the synthesis of more complex substances from simpler ones.
It is possible to maintain body mass and loose fat, but you cannot build muscle and loose fat at the same time. Bodybuilder's utilized supplements and approximately 2 gallons of water a day to maintain their muscle mass.
The training required to become lean like a bodybuilder is completely different than the training required to build large amounts of muscle mass. Heavy weight, lower reps and lots of protein and rest, result in maximal muscle growth for most people. Your hormones and your genetics round off the remainder of the outcomes.
Does Sweating Give Me Acne?
When your body sweats it produces fluid through your pours that contains the byproducts of metabolism. Many of these products will increase the skins pH, which can result in acne. Several factors result in acne and other skin conditions that can lead to outbreaks.
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"I'm quite prone to back acne unfortunatelly, what is your advice to make the best out of it?"
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"My face looks like the rockies, the alps, and the himalayas just collided."
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"Every morning I take a shower and I use an exfoliating scrub on my face. Once out of the shower I will apply 10% Benzoyl Peroxide to my face and then apply Cetaphil lotion to my face."
Keeping your skin clean after you exercise with just simple mild soap and warm water will wash these residues away. Most exercise enthusiast will often lift weights, sweat slightly and then wait until they get home to shower.
In the time that it takes for you to get home, your body begins a process of chemical change that often results in acne or more likely an infection of Tenia Versicolor (a sub dermal fungal infection that eats away at the Milan of your skin).
Maintaining a healthy diet will prevent many of the toxins from building up and being extricated while exercising. Drinking large amounts of fresh water will help with toxic removal through the urinary tract and not through your skin.
How Often Should I Work Out?
For most fitness enthusiast a workout 3 times a week with a daily
cardio program of approximately 20 minutes is substantial. Being a competitive bodybuilder or figure competitor, can offer and require daily exercise programs that totals over an hour.
Some individuals will often feel that they must exercise for several hours a day, which results in increased Cortisol levels in your body storing more fat. Several individuals become obsessed with exercise and the feeling of "doing better," yet in reality they are doing more harm.
If you are Lance Armstrong, then your training will require several hours per day of your time; however, it is likely that over a period of years Lance has built up a significant level of resistance to exercise. Unfortunately, many individuals begin exercising too long and then they quickly become over trained.
Irritability, insomnia, addictions to various stimulants, mood swings, constipation, diarrhea, general body aches, lack of concentration, inability to get a "pump", increased resting heart rate, feeling tired all the time, and other symptoms can all be related to someone who is exercising too much and not allowing enough recovery.
The harder you workout the longer your recovery needs to be. For example, Kenny Patterson is one of the top power lifters in the world and he only lifts heavy 4 to 5 times a year. The rest of the time he is training at sub maximal levels, because it takes so long to recover from maximal lifts.
Running Is The Best Type Of Cardio To Do:
When scientist determine the best
cardiovascular exercise a device is fitted to the athlete to determine how much oxygen they are observed in any minutes time. This process is known as "Vee-dot-Oh-Two" and is displayed by the icon V02. I have mentioned this before in other articles, but some of the research is going to show that walking and running result in the same V02 readings.
To make a brief point, you can puke from running too much, but not likely from walking. The best cardiovascular exercise that you can do on a machine is with a cross-country trainer. If you think about it your arms and your legs are moving, which results in more of a need for oxygen in the arms and legs.
I Do Full Range Of Motion Exercises So I Do Not Need To Stretch:
Doing full range of motion exercises is a great idea for maintaining mobility. As you age, you lose flexibility before you lose strength. By the time you are 60; most people have lost 65% of their normal flexibility.
Stretching is indeed a necessary thing for an individual who is participating in any sport and becomes more important as any individual person ages. Stretching is important because it maintains normal tissue mobility and circulation. Losing mobility results in hypo-coordination, which means that your reflexes will not work as fast and you will become unbalanced.
The most significant thing about losing flexibility is that it will result in pain-and I mean chronic pain. In the future I will be providing you with an article on this particular topic alone. Trigger points are a prime example of muscle areas that have lost their elasticity and result in pain.
Maintaining flexibility at a young age will help maintaining your flexibility as you get older. It takes six to ten times longer to increase lost flexibility than it takes to maintain it.
You Can Spot Reduce:
For the most part, it is impossible to reduce one specific part of your body. Genetically your body has a particular amount of fat cells for any given area. If you have 100,000 fat cells in your stomach and 500,000 fat cells on the back of your arm, you will have to do a significant amount of loss to your abdomen before you will notice the weight on the back of your arms coming off.
Some trainers will recommend that you use various stimulants and apply them to the skin over an area that you are trying to reduce specifically. The science available does not support the use of these products.
It goes to logic that just applying these products to a particular area will not reduce fat cells in an area, but watching various athletes prepare for competition does show some isolated success. It will obviously take more personal testing on your part to show if it works for you. Just do yourself a favor and keep the diet honest first.
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"How do I get rid of it? Nothing seems to work. I used to eat a lot of junk, but I started eating healthy about 4 years ago. I've been running since I was 11 years old, but running doesn't seem to help! My butt and thighs are so disgusting."
Realize that the whole "Cellulite-fat-thing" is a myth. There is no such thing as cellulite fat. Strands of connective tissue will attach to the skin from the underlying structures and these points of connection will pull at the skin and pull over areas of fat that makes them look "lumpy."
Fat is fat! Lumpy fat itself is not any different from excess fat anywhere else in your body. Loosing overall fat will reduce the "lumpy" look. Some people are most disposed to it since they have more connective tissue from the body to the skin. That part is genetic.
Yoga And Pilates Are A Waste Of Time:
Yoga and Pilates are two different forms of exercise. Yoga is primarily directed towards flexibility and Pilates is directed towards holding a slow controlled exercise movement. Pilates is best defined by Windsor Pilates, but to simplify it for the general exercise enthusiast, just consider it a very slow calisthenics.
Imagine taking 30 seconds to do a sit up. Not a whole set of 30 repetitions, only one repetition that takes 30 seconds. Try it some time. The primary benefits of yoga from the physiological standpoint include an increase of thrombin production, which results in vasodilatation.
In other words, it helps remove a lot of toxins from your body. Some forms of yoga are done in rooms that are heated to 105°F. I have tried this and unfortunately, most of my energy was expended on just fighting the heat. I would not recommend this type of yoga for anyone who, like me, has suffered severe heatstroke.
Pilates is an excellent form of training that helps any athlete in any sport.
Jay Cutler has his own Pilates exercise machine called a reformer, which should present how important they are to top athletes.
Consider that a good Stott Pilates reformer cost about $3000.00, and it is excellent on strengthening the individual muscles that connect the spinal segments and also the muscles that help stabilize the body to remain in proper posture. This results in less mechanical stress on our bodies as a whole and also results in improved athletic function, due to the improved stabilization and posture. Just for the record, I own a Pilates reformer and Cadillac (the apparatus that connects to the reformer).
- You'll feel more relaxed and learn to stay relaxed.
- Your overall muscle tone improves as well as alignment.
- You'll add vitality to your spine, improving all systems of the body, especially the glands and nerves.
- Digestion improves; gas and bloating lessens.
- Your lungs expand, increasing oxygen intake.
- You'll sleep better.
- You'll be less tired during the day with higher energy.
- Your immune system will strengthen.
- You'll learn to set aside time for yourself.
- You'll learn to trust yourself more.
Benefits Of Yoga:
I Take Thermogenics So I Can Eat What Ever I Want:
Thermogenics are primarily designed to increase your body's
heart rate. I have written articles and reviewed the research that proves that just wearing additional clothing will increase your body's core temperature and result in a faster heart rate.
Taking thermogenics can become addictive. Thermogenic should be used only when cycling in for any particular competition. It should be noted that just drinking coffee 30 minutes prior to working out has proved to increase your exercise heart rate by a similar amount than any thermogenic on the market.
By the way, espresso coffee has less caffeine than the regular drip variety. Some individuals will use thermogenics to increase the resting heart rate. This takes us to a whole new level and brings up the topic of catabolic versus anabolic.
View Caffeine Products Sorted By Top Sellers Here.
You cannot take thermogenics and expect to gain solid muscle mass. Thermogenics will gear your body towards a catabolic state. There is a time and a place for thermogenics, and have proven to be extremely successful with female figure competitors.
View Thermogenic Products Sorted By Top Sellers Here.
Doing Incline Presses Will Lift A Woman's Breast:
When you exercise your
pectoralis muscles, it results in blood supply to the mamillary glands. If you exercise vigorously enough, it will result in a decreased overall mamillary size. Along the way of reduction, it may result in some improved breast angulations.
For the most part, the muscles that are primarily associated with nipple angulations and general breast shape are damaged during lactation and also diminished with gravity and normal aging. Slight improvements may be noted with exercise, yet the genetic factors will predispose the female to limited success. Mark one up for the
Surgery And Implants:
If I Eat High Calorie Foods, I Will Be Okay If They Are High In Fiber:
Fiber only provides a slowing down of digestion, which results in your body increasing in its caloric burn, but the change is so small it does not affect the overall caloric intake. You still have to count all the
calories as part of your daily intake.
Consider the individual who eats popcorn loaded down with butter, lots of fiber, but lots of calories from fat too. Those individuals are still taking and calories and will still gain weight. Fiber does not change a trans-fat to a soluble fat.
For the most part, fiber is necessary in your diet, but it does not affect the overall caloric intake to any appreciable degree. Weight Watchers is very well-known and they are quick to point out their clients that eat high fiber intake diets can eat more calories. This is misleading.
If someone commits themselves to Weight Watchers, that individual is actually taking a conscious effort in controlling the caloric intake. This is the primary reason that most individuals associated with this type of dietary planning will lose weight. Once individuals come off of the dietary planning, they gained the weight back. If this fact worked, bodybuilder's and competitive wrestlers would all be taking high amounts of fiber and watching the pounds shed off their bodies.
The truth is, fiber help stabilize the insulin response, but does not affect the overall caloric intake. Weight watchers will also agree that their success with individuals who exercise verses those who do not is quite obvious.
The Atkins Diet Is Safe:
High Protein-Low Carb-High Fat diets result in coronary artery disease. You cannot have fat circulating around in your bloodstream and not expect significant plaguing to occur on the lining of the arterial walls. If you maintain high levels of sugar floating around in your bloodstream, you will weaken the blood vessels wall and result in a stroke or aneurysm.
The most toxic affect of the Atkins diet is that it results in toxic ammonia that will float around in your bloodstream and eventually affect your nervous system. By the way medical schools do not teach nutrition as part of their curriculum. Medical doctors are not nutritional experts; they rely on the gainful knowledge of the registered dietician.
Skipping Meals Will Make Me Lose Weight:
Individuals who tried to eat only a few meals per day result in extremely slow
metabolisms. Your body realizes that your only caloric intake occurs twice a day and it will gear itself towards converting almost anything that you eat into fat. It may not happen right away, but over a period of time your body will produce millions of enzymes that will be gearing your body towards fat storage. Once you do this, it will take months to reverse.
The best diet modification that you can make to lose weight is when you eat 6 to 8 meals a day. Many individuals with diabetes and Crohn's disease often find it this type of dietary modification results in decrease symptoms associated with their disease. You will also absorb more nutrients with every meal, so you will need to eat less.
I Don't Lift Weights And Only Use Cardio To Lose Weight:
Our bodies naturally lose muscle mass and results in our metabolisms slowing down as we age. Just doing
cardiovascular exercise is better than doing nothing. To truly make a dent in our bodies loss of fat, lifting weights and building muscle mass, even to a small degree, results in significant changes and improvements in our fat storage.
Consider that it takes between 15-50% more cardio to make up for the low amounts of muscle mass, with respect to burning calories. This simple fact means that the muscular guy on the treadmill is burning 2-3 times the calories than an obese person.
It is important to realize that muscle weighs more than fat and so the average fitness enthusiast should not pay attention to the weight scale. It is better to focus on your clothing size and how many inches you lose. TOSS THE SCALE.
If You Get Larger Muscles, Then You Will Lose Coordination:
Unless someday you just wake up and instantly have 20 pounds of muscle on you that you didn't have the day before, then your body will adapt to the additional muscle mass.
Now on the other hand, do you think that Ronnie Coleman can cut like Walter Payton? Not likely, but Walter (Sweetness) Payton, did work to gain muscle, for that matter, so did Bruce Lee (Martial Arts) and Michael Jordon (Basketball) and many others to improve their athletic skill.
Muscle allows you to do more work again and again, which translated means that you can perform at a higher level and repeat it again and again. The hardest thing in sports is consistency, having more muscle has allowed athletes to improve and raise the expectations of speed, strength, and power. Show me a guy who can squat 800 pounds and I will show you a great powerlifter; show me a guy who can squat 400 pounds twenty times and I will show you a great running back.
Drinking Alcohol Isn't A Big Deal:
Sorry boys and girls, but
alcohol is toxic to your muscles and will force your liver to work overtime to remove the toxins from you system. What's that? You are a star athlete and you have a beer now and then. Sure, once and a while will not harm you like binge drinking. Hard liquor is even more devastating and think about it, how many muscular drunks do you see lying around the streets.
Consider also the effects of alcohol on brain function and hormonal production and that should give you enough of a reason to just stay away. Finally, the fastest absorbed calories are those associated with the alcohol. If you drink beer, all of those calories will be in your blood stream in only minutes from drinking it. Last time I checked, most people don't carb up for a workout with Beer or a shot of Vodka.
Is Smoking Really That Bad:
Honestly, if you have to ask this question at this point of our existence on this planet, then you have little to no common sense. Just don't
smoke and if someone around you smoking, avoid being around them. Every cigarette removes 25mg of calcium from your body. Exercise doesn't erase the effects of smoking and that cigarette or mouth of "chew" will increase your risk for a cardiac death by more than a 100 times.
I Will Never Look Like Those Bodybuilders Unless I Take Steroids:
There are lots of bodybuilders who submit to testing to prove they are not taking steroids. The
Natural North American is an example of that kind of show and promoter Dave Liberman does test his athletes. Many of the bodybuilders have impressive massive physiques. So what is your excuse now about not working out?
I Can't Workout, I Am On My Period:
Unless you are in such cramping and pain, you can work out and perform very well. I know women who have won the
Olympia who were in menses. Careful control of liquids and food intake helps make you stand up to do your best.
The list gets shorter and smaller and your excuses are losing merit fast. The notion that exercise will harm you is foolish. There is literally more research to show that exercise helps you live longer and improves your quality of life than all the research on medications combined.
Post heart surgery, doctors are now getting patients up faster and literally within hours after surgery are forcing them to walk. So now don't be confused and wondering if what you read is true, look at who is advising you in the future.
If someone offers some advice about exercise do this simple little test: Ask them to lift their shirt and show you their abs, if they won't then don't listen to them. My abs have won bodybuilding competitions before. Of course just having a set of abs isn't the final story, but it is a good place to start and your position is more stable when you start somewhere. If you have any questions you can forward them to my Email and I will be happy to respond to them in future articles.