By James Griffiths
For new gym members the gym can seem a very daunting place, full of also sorts of wired and wonderful machines and myths. Well today let me take you through some of these myths and hopefully put your mind at ease.
1.Weights will make me big
Normally the worry of female gym users but not exclusively, I have to admit in my opinion this is getting a lot better and many women are wanting to weight train, but here is the science.
Lifting weights will indeed increase protein synthesis (Building) this will in turn make the muscle fibers thicker. However, especially in women the hormone profile isn’t sufficient for you to pack on muscle and become “big” It Is not exclusively the action of lifting weights that increases size but the hormones at work, males have on average 10 times more testosterone than females so they have a greater capacity to put on muscle bulk.
The good news is that for you ladies muscle is more dense than fat so it takes up less room, meaning that lifting weight will help you drop inches and body fat as well as giving you better shape and definition to your body. Just as any of the women who I train and they will tell you that they have dropped at least one dress size, yet have much more shape to there arms, waist, legs and glutes, win win right?
2. Training a certain body part means you lose fat from that area.
A very common mistake that many people will make is training one body part to try to lose the fat from that area, the classic example is the stomach.
Let me just give you a piece of evidence to prove this doesn’t work, in the gym I see guys and girls who train just their Abs ever time they come in. Very few will have even a flat stomach after months of crunches, the reason is the energy expenditure is not massively high from crunches so you don’t create the deficit needed to lose body fat. They will have some very strong abs and when the fat drops the definition should be good but the layer of fat covering them keeps the Abs hidden.
The solution here training wise is to train head to toe, this way the energy expenditure of your session is much higher and you are more likely to create the calorie deficit leading to fat loss.
3. Everyone will look at me
The gym can be an intimidating place, I totally understand that and you may feel that you will look like a fish out of water and everyone will look at you. To help my clients with this I like to do an experiment where I drop a weight plate on the floor so it makes a noise, I tell my client to see how many people turn round, rarely will anyone even look up.
This is more a fear of the unknown situation, feeling inexperienced and not confident about training will naturally put you on edge, my advice would be either train with an experienced gym goer or even book a one of PT session so you can learn how to lift safely and use equipment. When you feel like you know how to set up machines, bars etc the worry of people looking soon disappears.
4. Steady state cardio is a waste of time
Now maybe this bothers me more because I am a runner (Getting a bit defensive) but steady state cardio has its place.
It is a great way to get an additional calorie burn while not being very physically taxing. You could walk on a treadmill 7 days a week and you wouldn’t feel overly fatigued. Now very important to mention that for body transformation you need to be doing weight training, but you could do 4 weight sessions a week and walk on an incline 6 times on top of this. This would be great to increase your energy expenditure through the week and wont impact on you weight sessions too greatly.
You can of course add in HIIT (High Intensity Interval Training) to as it is much more time effective than steady state cardio, however it is very physically demanding and any more than 3 HIIT sessions a week will leave most people totally exhausted and unable to train the weights effectively.
5. High reps low weight for “Tone”
Muscle definition or “Tone” comes from an reduction in body fat, so my advice would be do a mixture of heavy, light, high rep, low reps. This way you will stimulate all the different types of muscle fibers and will have a varied training program that is enjoyable and easier to stick to (Constancy of training is key) Lifting heavier will help you gain the muscle density (Important to gain muscle to increase metabolism) you also need an adequate calorie intake. Fat loss can be achieved by creating a calorie deficit so your training will increase the energy expenditure, either high or low rep will work in a calorie deficit.
I hope this helps dispel a few myths of the gym
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