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More Shocking Myths About Fitness The Gym And Your Diet

Sep 5, 2008
There's a very common myth in bodybuilding that, "Squats are bad for your knees." Hello! Any lift is bad for you if you execute it wrong. This whole myth came about because one too many people ended up trashing their knees from doing too much weight with horrible form. The reason squats became the villain is because it is an exercise that involves the entire body, and therefore has more things that can go wrong if one uses incorrect form. When squatting it is critical to keep the head and eyes straight ahead, the back at no more than a 45-degree angle, with the feet at, or slightly past shoulder width apart. When lifting, the backs of your legs should come down until they are parallel with the floor. Many people only do partial reps, thinking it puts less stress on the knees. Fact is, if you only do 1/2 or 1/4 squats, the stress from stopping short puts a lot of negative stress on the knees. When performing a full parallel squat, it is the glutes and hamstrings, which absorb the stress.

Also, avoid "accessorizing" as much as possible. If you find that you can"t squat as much as you would like without wrapping your knees and compressing your body with a suit or belt, give your ego a rest and go down in weight! Belts and body suits can give a sense of false security. They also hinder the abdominals from fully developing as stabilizer muscles, so they should be used sparingly. Knee wraps are downright dangerous. Not only do they prevent the muscles around the knee from properly developing, they also compress the kneecap. Both of these can lead to serious injury. Bottom line, most of the people who claim that squats gave them bad knees probably used bad form, did partial reps with horrific amounts of weight, all the while wrapped up in a Catwoman bodysuit, with tourniquets around their knees!

Myth: "When doing cardio, train with low intensity "in the zone" to burn the most fat."
Fact: This is more of a misunderstanding than an actual myth. What compounds the issue is the fact that the so-called "target heart-rate zones" are stamped right on the cardio equipment. Apparently lower intensity workouts are supposed to be in the "fat burning zone," while higher intensity are in the "cardio training zone." So does this mean that once you increase the level of intensity the body all of a sudden stops burning fat??

There is actually some truth to the theory about the body burning more bodyfat at a lower intensity level, however it is only part of the equation. A higher percentage of the calories burned during low-intensity cardio do come from the bodyfat stores. However, overall a much higher number of calories are burned during higher intensity cardio workouts, and therefore more actual fat is being burned. The third part of the equation comes after the workout is done. The body will continue to burn bodyfat after an intense cardio session for about 24 hours, whereas with a lower intensity workout the body will stop burning excess bodyfat shortly after completion.

Myth: "For best results use "the pros" workout plans."
Fact: This myth is very prevalent, and also very dangerous. Some of these workouts look as if the writers have taken every possible lift in existence and put them all into one workout. Combine that with the ungodly number of sets and reps they say you are supposed to do and you"ve got an overtraining disaster waiting to happen! Another issue with a number of these workouts is that the athletes featured often have little to nothing to do with actually writing the workout. Sometimes it comes down to nothing more than a publisher approaching a pro bodybuilder and saying, "Here"s a check if you"ll let us use your name and pictures to endorse a workout program." Bottom line is we really have no way of knowing who it was that actually wrote the program.

Make no mistake, workout programs with pictorials and exercise explanations are a great way to find new exercises and to learn what lifts work with each muscle group. Exercise extreme caution when reading about the number of sets to perform, though. A good rule of thumb to remember is that you should try and keep your workouts confined to no more than 12 total sets per muscle group. Any more than this and you risk overtraining.

Here are some myths that don"t necessarily focus specifically on nutrition or training, however they continue to plague us nonetheless.

Myth: "I want to lose 20 pounds."
Fact: Using the scale is the most widely used, and also the absolute worst method for measuring progress. Scale weight tells you absolutely nothing about your body"s composition. What helps to perpetuate this myth are all the government endorsed "body mass index" charts so widely seen nowadays. Problem is, the only factors taken into consideration are height and weight. Nothing is said about bodyfat or lean muscle mass. According the BMI, both Brad Pitt and George Clooney are considered to be overweight, while Arnold Schwarzenegger is morbidly obese!

Using weight, as the sole means of measuring success or failure is very misleading, and can lead to frustration and ultimately to failure. One may think that they want to lose 20 pounds, but after weeks of intense training and sound eating, they"ve only lost 8 pounds, so they think they"ve failed. What they fail to realize is that while they"ve been losing bodyfat, they"ve been gaining muscle. In reality they may have lost a significant amount bodyfat, but they allow themselves to feel defeated because the scale still makes them feel fat. The best way to measure progress is to get out the old measuring tape and tape everything. If your waist, and also for women hips, are losing inches while everything else remains constant, then you are making progress. Taking monthly pictures will help as well. Since we see our own bodies every day, we often fail to notice the progress we"ve made, until we get a visual of what we looked like a month or two ago.

Myth: "This magic pill will make you lose weight without diet or exercise!"
Fact: Having heard these words, the scale on the old "BS" Alarm should be registering off the charts. With that being said, everyone needs to take a deep breath and repeat after me, "There is no magic pill that will make me thin. The only way to lose bodyfat and get healthy is through sound diet and exercise." Feel better? Fact is, we as a society have gotten so lazy that we spend billions of dollars a year on crap that we know won"t work, but we drain our pocketbooks anyway "just in case it"s true." Stop it already!

Reality check: Yes there are in fact supplements available that will assist you in the burning off of excess bodyfat. The key word here is assist. Of course the FDA keeps banning all the best ones like Fen-Phen and ephedra! But even those are not "magic pills" that alone will give you the body you desire. You will still have to eat right and exercise in order for them to be effective.

Summary: As you can see, myths and Urban Legends concerning bodybuilding and physical fitness continue to bombard us. Every day new myths are born, and old ones seem to somehow resurrect themselves. The best way to debunk a potential myth is to do some research for yourself. Expand your own knowledge, and do not rely simply on the word of others. The fact that someone works in a health food store, or is a "personal trainer" does not make them an expert, especially since it has become so easy to get "certified" anymore that a monkey can become a personal trainer!
About the Author
Dane Fletcher is the world-wide authority on bodybuilding and steroids. He has coached countless athletes all over the world. To read more of his work, please visit either www.BodybuildingToday.com or www.SteroidsToday.com
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