When it comes to exercise and diet, there are a lot of opinions floating around. From fitness professionals, friends and books to newspaper and magazine articles, there’s advice everywhere.
Throw in the great wide internet, and it's information overload. So, I thought it would be nice to pick a couple of hot topics and set the record straight, or at least add to the information avalanche.
Myth #1: The first question I often get asked is, “Is stretching bad for you?” Some professionals believe in a pre-workout stretch, while others think stretching is bad altogether. I fall somewhere in the middle. My training philosophy is a brief warm-up, a small stretching session then the full exercise program. I always have my clients finish with a full stretch.
Here’s my reasoning: I think it’s important to lengthen the ligaments and muscles to help keep the body loose and limber. But here’s the downside to stretching, a cold-body stretch can cause damage to the soft tissue. By warming up the muscles and ligaments, they become more flexible.
Myth #2: Exercising at night is better than in the morning. Let me be clear on my stance here, a good fitness program works whenever you can fit it in. Some people say that they always exercise in the morning, and some right before bed. If mornings work for you, great. But if you’re a night owl, so-be-it. The difference between the two is so debatable and minimal, that whenever you fit exercise in to your busy schedule, it’s a positive.
Myth #3: Too much exercise is bad for you. This can actually be true. I know people that are at the gym twenty hours a week; and not only is that crazy, it can be harmful to the body. At some point, the human body needs to rest. An hour at the gym for average people, a couple hours for extreme athletes, is enough to get the job done. And everyone, regardless of fitness level, needs a day to rejuvenate.
Myth #4: Should you eat before or after a workout? The answer is both. You want to have a small snack an hour or so before your workout so that you have energy, but you don’t want to be too full. After your routine, eat a protein packed mini-meal. This will fuel your muscles for growth and fitness advancement.
Myth #5: My dad used to tell me that he didn’t lift weights because it would make him fat. This is false. What makes you fat is excess caloric intake combined with a lack of energy burn. More muscle mass actually increases your metabolism, which will increase caloric burn.