Skip to main content

FITNESS MYTHS


This month's Outside magazine dispelled a few widely-held fitness myths. Here are a few that may surprise you.

1. "I'm an endurance athlete. I don't need to lift."

Most injuries are due to muscular imbalance, and lifting weights will make you uniformly strong and injury-proof. Also, runners who incorporated heavy squats twice a week increased maximum speed for over a minute longer than non-lifters. So strength-train twice weekly.

2. "All my workouts should be high intensity."

Yes, if you want to burn out and get injured. Elites make only 20 percent of workouts "hard." This corresponds to one day of interval training (sprints) and one tempo workout (race pace). The rest should be slow and steady, with some active recovery (at 30 percent capacity) thrown in.

3. "Fluid and electrolyte imbalances cause muscle cramps."

Actually, it is muscle fatigue that causes you to cramp up. So don't overload on drinks and gels. Let thirst be your guide, and improve fitness with conditioning to avoid cramping up.

4. "Extended endurance exercise is bad for your heart."

Health improvements are seen in runners who log up to 40 miles a week, then the improvements wane, but health does not deteriorate with extended exercise. Of course, if you fuel on Mountain Dew and Big Macs then you're a heart attack in the making, whether active or sedentary. So eat clean.

5. "I need to follow a particular diet."

Don't follow fads or be prey to false claims. Let nutrient density be your guide, and choose plant proteins, which have more nutrition per calorie, over animal foods (meat and dairy). This will improve your fitness and extend your life. For more information on nutrient density, read The Paradigm Diet.

To learn about other fitness myths check out this month's issue.

Comments

Popular posts from this blog

GRAY MATTERS

I was watching the TV show Naked and Afraid last night as I sometimes do. The show teams together two strangers, a man and a woman, who attempt to survive on their own for a period of 21 days in some remote and isolated region. Some of the locales featured include the Australian Outback, the Amazonian rainforest and the African Savanna. The man may have a military background, or be an adventurist or deep sea fisherman. Sometimes he's an ordinary dude who lives with mom. The woman is a park ranger or extreme fitness enthusiast or "just a mom" herself. Sometimes the couple quarrel, sometimes one or both "tap out" (quit) in a fit of anger or illness. It is satisfying to see them actually make it through the challenge and reach their extraction point. The victors are usually exhausted, emaciated, begrimed and bare ass naked. 

Even more satisfying, at least for me, is the occasional ass shot, snuck in at strategic intervals to boost viewership, of course. It's co…

EVERYTHING'S INTENTIONAL

There is no such thing as screw-ups.

Case in point. My excellent friend Deej comes over to help me beautify the garden. He immediately dives in, crouching down on his knees and weed whacking with his bare hands. Before I can say yay or nay, he proceeds to remove a huge clump of daisy greens from the oblong patch of Earth adjacent to the driveway. The area instantly looks bare. Like the back of Woody Allen's head. Smoothing out the soil and shaking his head Deej mutters to himself "I fucked it up!" over and over again. We try everything. Planting succulents in the daisy's place. Covering it with rocks. But still the area looks barren. And every time you water it the water trickles down onto the sidewalk in the absence of roots to hold it in place. It's getting dark so we go back inside. The next day I return to the spot with a clear perspective and remove all the other daisies, leaving only rose bushes and the succulents that DJ planted, and depositing 10 bags of m…

SOUL CYCLE

This is not a commentary on the latest fitness fad. Because if it were, the little I'd have to say on the subject would be largely derogatory. I simply cannot see see how crouching in a stuffy, dark, cramped room surrounded by sweat-drenched strangers while expending a lot of energy and going nowhere deserves to be called fun, though aficionados tell me it is (fun). I tell these aficionados that if no pain no gain is your thing, discomfort can be had for a lot cheaper than $50 an hour. Try plucking your nose hairs. What we don't do for the sake of beauty. This endurance heir to the Stairmaster and elliptical is all hype. There's a name for the type who likes to run (or otherwise move) in place. It's called a hamster. 

This reminds me of a joke my father likes to tell, about what living with a woman turns a guy into. You go from a wolf to a sheep to a hamster. After nearly 40 years of married life, my dad has added cockroach to the zoological lineage. Which I'm sure …