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Friday, September 4, 2015

5 Secrets Gyms Don’t Want You to Know

Gym?: Optional
“What’s the dirtiest secret in the fitness industry?” I half-jokingly asked a coworker recently as we hibernated in my office, sipping a late-morning organic dark roast between clients.

The answer, ironically, resided within the very building we sat.

You don’t need a gym to get in great shape.

Don’t get me wrong. I’ve been a personal trainer for two decades and love my gym, but you don’t need super-fancy equipment to get lean, toned, and healthy. You can transform your body at home without bells and whistles.

My favorite at-home workout includes squats, lunges, deadlifts, planks, chest press, push-ups, rowing exercises, and pull-ups.

Rather than focus on individual body parts, organize workouts into
themes like push/pull, upper body/lower body, or full-body. Consider hiring a personal trainer to establish and maintain proper form.

Speaking of dirty secrets your gym probably doesn’t want you to know, let’s bust these five frequently perpetuated myths:

1.     Myth: More is better. Truth: While I’m all about a butt-kicking, take-it-to-its-limit workout, over-exercise spikes your stress hormone cortisol, breaking down muscle while you store fat. Exercise should hurt a little, but constantly struggling with fatigue, achiness, joint pain, and other miseries become red flags you’re probably overdoing it at the gym.

2.    Myth: You get fit in the gym. Reality: What you do outside your workout ultimately affects muscle synthesis and repair. Especially as you age, recovery ultimately counts more than the herculean effort you spent doing deadlifts. If regular massages aren’t in your budget, try an Epsom salt bath, sauna, meditation, yoga, or whatever helps you love rather than punish your body. Give your body the raw materials – nutrients, sleep, stress control, and lots of happiness – to come back stronger and leaner.

3.    Myth: Walking on the treadmill counts as exercise. Reality: Aerobic exercise should complement burst training or weight resistance, not become your sole exercise focus. That’s not to say you shouldn’t walk. Your Paleolithic ancestors walked every day, and you should too. Walking creates numerous benefits including reducing chronic disease risk, but for building muscle and losing fat you’ve got to do more.

4.    Myth: You can spot-burn belly fat. Reality: Unless you find you’re rarely sitting – and let’s face it, you’re probably sitting more than you think – stay away from abs exercises that involve “crunching.” Your body already lives in constant flexion (bending). Crunching is like sitting in flexion but with additional compressive forces you don’t need and that can become harmful. Focus instead on kettlebell swings and other multi-functional exercises that work your abs along with other body parts.

5.    Myth: You can out-exercise a bad diet. Reality: Scarfing down a double bacon cheeseburger will quickly undo the many benefits of the most fabulous, custom-designed workout plan. Likewise, burning 500 calories on the elliptical machine and then rewarding yourself with a large pineapple-coconut fro-yo becomes damage control in reverse. Exercise counts, but what goes into your mouth matters far more, especially for fat loss.

You’ve likely got one of your own: That refuse-to-die gym myth everyone still subscribes to that drives you nuts. Share yours below or on my Facebook page.

You have permission to do so, free of charge, as long as the byline and
the article is included in its entirety:

Fitness expert and strength coach Jini Cicero, CSCS, teaches intermediate exercisers how to blast through plateaus to create incredible transformations. Are you ready to take your fitness to a whole new level?  Find out now!
© 2015 Jinifit, Inc.

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