January 25, 2008

Hey all! I’ve seen many of you in the gym in the past few weeks no doubt working on your New Year’s resolutions and I wish you the absolute best with it. I have also been approached many times in those same few weeks with some questions that I feel need to be addressed and clarified. There are some common misconceptions about how to train in order to achieve a specific goal for both men and women.

What follows is an outline of what I’ve been asked the most and a few other myths that people believe about training and working out. One of the most common and misunderstood myths out there is that you can spot reduce fat in specific areas without affecting other areas of your body. WRONG. The human body simply doesn’t work that way. In order to lose bodyfat in one area you have to lose it everywhere. I hear it all the time: “Mike, I do 100,000 crunches twice a day and I can’t lose this fat off of my stomach!” Look, ladies and gentlemen, it doesn’t matter how strong or “in shape” a particular muscle is if it’s covered with two inches of fat.

In order to bring your bodyfat to a level that’s to your liking you have to: 1) pay attention to your eating habits and correct whatever mistakes you are making. Get with one of our trainers for some advice. You never know…you just might learn something; 2) either increase the intensity of your resistance training, cut down on your rest periods between sets, or both; 3) stay consistent with your cardiovascular training and continue to push yourself beyond your comfort zone in order to burn more and more calories; 4) challenge yourself to learn more about fitness through books, the internet, and the trainers in our gyms.

The next most popular myth I hear and see acted upon is that if you simply perform higher reps you can “cut up” and get ripped. WRONG. You get “cut up” and ripped through proper nutrition and cardiovascular training plus high intensity resistance training. If you have any questions regarding getting cutting up and ripped ask one of our trainers to clarify what I just touched on.

The last myth I’m going to talk about today is one I hear a lot of the younger guys talking about. As matter of fact, I had a 19 year old approach me a few weeks back. Here’s what he said to me, “I don’t wanna get too big in case I stop working out because I don’t want my muscle to turn into fat.” PEOPLE, IT’S IMPOSSIBLE FOR MUSCLE TO TURN INTO FAT. The reason this myth exists is because when guys get big and muscular their appetite increases along with the size of their muscles. In order to support the new muscle mass you have to feed the machine, so to speak. Then, for whatever reason, some stop working out. What they don’t stop is their high calorie eating habits. Their activity level decreases due to not working out but they continue to eat 4,000 or more calories a day. Guess what? If your activity decreases but you continue to eat a high calorie diet and can’t burn off those calories your fat levels are going to increase while your muscles atrophy.

Let’s get this straight: MUSCLE IS METABOLISM. Muscle burns calories even when you’re sitting on the couch doing absolutely nothing. That means that the more muscle you have the more calories you burn. So if you’re eating 4000 calories a day to support a lot of muscle and then suddenly you lose a lot of that muscle for whatever reason but you STILL eat a high calorie diet those extra calories are going to be stored since you no longer burn them off. So yes, your muscles get smaller and your waist gets bigger but that isn’t because your muscles turned into fat. They simply shrunk and then you didn’t adjust your caloric intake accordingly. Excess leads to excess.

Not to beat a dead horse, boys and girls, but don’t believe everything you hear. There are a ton of experts in every gym across the country, so ask yourself this simple question when presented with any type of fitness “information”: “They may sound like they know a lot about this but do they LOOK like they know a lot about this?”


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