Today I have a guest post from coworker and one hell of a personal trainer, Laura DeVincent. Laura began working at Fitcorp as an intern earlier this summer and has since blossomed into a great full time trainer under the tutelage of myself and our other elite trainer, Fendy Alexis. You could say we have a great chemistry like peanut, butter, jelly and banana. I say we have a great chemistry like front squats, deadlifts and pullups. To each their own I guess.
Anyways, Laura reached out to me last week as she has been following along with some great fitness blogs (*cough* mine included) and let me know she was interested in doing some writing of her own. The hours put into creating, maintaining, and writing your own blog are never ending and often stressful as you try to create an audience and then keep them hooked. I am still not sure why so many people follow along with mine but I won’t ask those questions.
When she asked me if she could write a guest post I asked her how she felt about Tracy Anderson. She made a vomit sound and the rest is history. Without further a due, here are 4 Lies the Fitness Industry Tells:
Lie #1) Side bends will melt your love handles!
Before I begin I have to share this quote that I read the other day in Shape Magazine:
“Ugh. Just hearing the phrase “love handles” sends chills up my spine. I think it’s safe to say that just about any woman in the universe would agree: Love handles and the muffin tops they produce are wretched. Shape magazine suggests doing side bends to battle the bulge. Start by standing up straight with one dumbbell in each hand, then lean to one side and contract. Do that 15 times to one side, rest for 15 seconds, and then do it 15 times on the other. Repeat 4 times.”
…REALLY?? I bet they think that doing 300 crunches really going give me a six pack too! I hope most of you (since you already read this awesome blog) can call their bluff on this one.
YOU CAN NOT SPOT REDUCE!
Now first let me explain something: there is a difference between spot TRAINING and spot REDUCING. For example, if you would like more definition in your arms and you’re body fat is already reasonable, yes; doing pushups, pulls ups, planks, rows etc will help more than doing squats, lunges or deadlifts. However, if you want to “slim your thighs” and you think using the good girl/bad girl machines (ab- and ad- ductor machines) then guess what? Not gonna happen.
Any exercise you do uses fat stores as energy from throughout your entire body. Want to get lean? Train your diet and train using full body exercises.
Lie #2) You’re in the “Fat Burning Zone!!!!!”
For those of you who spend all your time on the elliptical with your hands on the heart rate monitor with your heart rate at 115 bpm, I’ve got some news for you. You know that pretty chart with nice colors? It’s bullshit. All of it.
- Your NOT working that hard and
- You are wasting a bunch of time!
There is some confusing truth to the “fat burning zone” idea though. I’m going to drop a little knowledge bomb on you so bear with me with this one, it gets nerdy.
You probably know we use primarily fat and carbohydrates as energy sources during exercise (as opposed to protein). However, which one we use varies depending on the vigor of activity. Fat use and intensity have an inverse relationship; meaning the lower the intensity, the higher percentage of fat we use for energery. Carbs are the opposite. The higher the intensity the higher the percentage carbs we use. Personally, I would rather lift something heavy but if you must do “cardio” then crank that shit up dammit.
2 more bombs:
- It doesn’t matter from which source the calories are expended; a calorie is a calorie. If you WALK on the treadmill for 30 minutes you’ll get about 70% of your calorie expenditure from fat, but you only burn 200 calories. If you RUN on the treadmill for 30 minutes, you may only be using 20-40% from fat, but you’ll probably burn 300+ calories.
- Unused carbs are eventually stored as fat (bummerrrrrrr)
Lie #3) Do More Cardio!
You hear it all the time, even from your trainer. It’s not bad advice; most of America doesn’t do ANYTHING. So if doing more cardio for you means taking it from zero minutes to twenty minutes then ignore the rest of this ‘lie’. However I’m going to assume that most of you reading this already do some sort of activity that can be considered cardio.
Short story: When I was in high school I used to workout with a friend of mine. We would generally run for about 30 minutes and do our regular free weight isht. One day she told me that she told one of the trainers at our gym she wanted to loose 10 pounds and asked him what to do. He said run for 15 more minutes.
Fast forward 6 years and knowing what I know now I can safely say that guy is an ignoramus. So if you’re one of those people mentioned above that does an hour on the elliptical every day and wonder why you’re still 20 pounds overweight listen to this shocker…. You don’t necessarily need more cardio, you just need better cardio. Intervals, Intervals, Intervals. I can’t express how much I love them.
Things I love about Intervals:
- They’re fun
- They’re challanging
- They make time go by faster
- You burn more calories in a shorter period of time
- You burn more calories AFTER you’re done working out
- They increase your VO2 max (how well your body uses oxygen)
- Sprinting recruits and develops more Fast Twitch muscle fibers, as opposed to Slow twitch that are used for endurance. So if you’re looking to gain more lean body mass, intervals are the bomb.com
Lie # 4) Perform 3 sets of 8-15 bicept curls for strong arms!
No and no. I’m not going to knock the bicep curl, hamstring curl, or tricep kickback completely, because every exercise has a purpose. But unless you’re rehabing tennis elbow, a torn ACL, or are 80 years old and have never exercised before… This methodology is a waste of time. I’m going to venture to say we RARELY if EVER use one muscle at a time in real life- so why do we isolate muscles when we train?
Secondly, lets talk about the 8-15 rep thing. This became popular when body building blew up (Ahnuld). It is well acknowledged that performing moderate weight within that repition range leads to muscle hypertrophy (increased muscle size- hence; what body builders are aiming for). Most people just want to get stronger, and look leaner; so how about doing 3 sets of 5 pullups instead. You’ll work 80 more muscles (Note: That’s a made up number but it’s probably not far off). Therefore burn more calories and gain more lean mass. And here’s the shocker: IT WILL TAKE YOU HALF THE TIME. Hellelujah Hollaback!
If you haven’t figured it out by now I’m all about being efficient. No one likes spending 3 hours in the gym. Get in, get focused, train smart, and get on with your life.