Exercise Facts vs. Myths

So the turn of the new year is just around the corner, and guess what the number one “New Year’s Resolution” is.  You guessed it, lose a few pounds.  In today’s fitness world, the consumer is bombarded with the latest and greatest of new equipment that will get him/her over the hump and get them back into their favorite pair of jeans they haven’t been able to wear for a time no one dare knows.   As a person who still considers himself a Personal Trainer just as much as a Chiropractor.   I feel it’s an important subject to discuss the ever common myths among the population looking to lose weight not only now but in 2011.  Here’s just a few:

Myth: The ideal workout lasts more than an hour.

Fact: The ideal workout lasts less than an hour.

Myth: Lifting weights will generally make women BIGGER!

Fact: Lifting weights will generally make women smaller.

Myth: The best way to improve muscle definition and burn fat when weight training is to very high reps with very light weight

Fact: The WORST way to improve muscle definition and burn fat when weight training is to do very high reps with very light weight

And my personal favorite…

Myth: Aerobic exercise is the best form of exercise to burning fat.

Fact: Hormonally correct resistance exercise is the best form of exercise to burning fat. 

I understand it seems to make sense you’ll burn quite a few calories during Aerobic exercise, and I’m not going to tell you that you won’t.   Would it not make sense to perform exercises that not only set you up to be a calorie burning machine not only during, but many many hours afterwards?  Sure it does!  Resistance exercise, when done effectively, can be your best friend to help you lose the weight and keep it off. 

Here’s another obvious fact for you, we are more stressed, sicker, and more out of shape than we ever have been.  However, there are more advertisements in magazines and on TV about the magic pill in the form of exercise equipment or workout videos than you can imagine.  Here’s the good news, our physiology(function)  is relatively the same.  If we turn on the right kinds of fat burning hormones by doing the right kind of exercise, we are headed in the right direction for 2011.  Not only that, we’re able to cope with our daily stressors along with improve our immunity naturally without the use of anxiety meds or cough syrup and even anti-depressants!  I’m telling you now, effective exercise has been shown to have more benefit for those tagged with depression than the meds they are placed on! 

Here’s a great mentality to have when you’re about to perform resistance training.  Get as much muscle involved as possible.  What will happen you ask?  Your Growth Hormone will sky rocket, which will then rev up your testosterone up tremendously.  Ladies, do not be afraid.  Your testosterone levels are much lower than your male counterparts, so you will not increase in muscle mass as they will.  On top of that, your stress hormone (cortisol) is suppressed, and therefore, you are literally slowing the aging process down.  Your fat burning capabilities are now turned on and stay on as long as 20+ hours after your workout!  Focus on performing a variety of effective multi-joint exercises that recruit many muscles to execute (squats, deadlifts, pushups, pullups, lunges, etc..).  You will drive your fat burning potential much higher than with just conventional slow steady paced running or isolated exercises during weight training. 

Let me say, I’m not against Aerobics, but today’s population is already coping with high levels of cortisol due to daily stressors with dangerously low levels of growth hormone.  A steady dose of long distance Aerobics( >45 mins to 1 hour) with an already elevated cortisol level will inevitably eat your muscle away, decrease your bone density, poorly alter your sleep quality.  Basically it sends you in the wrong fat burning, muscle building direction.  We want our anti-aging hormones at their highest.  We want to be insulin sensitive, not insulin resistant.  We want our bodies to start craving foods that are nutritious for us (complex carbs, fruits, lean meats, healthy fats) and not foods loaded down with sugars, artificial sweeteners, empty calories, and unhealthy fats.  Yes, our bodies start to crave better food choices when you give it what it NEEDS.  We do that by consistantly performing effective resistance training.  We do that by putting our bodies in a position to workout smarter, not harder. 

The six variables of exercise are as follows: volume, intensity, duration, frequency, load, and exercise selection.  With the right selection of exercise at a high intensity, a shorter duration, the proper load, a safe frequency and volume you will have a higher probability of succeeding at losing weight in 2011.  Stay positive, set reasonable goals, have a support group, and stay focused/determined to achieve those goals.  The right hormones will turn on for you by doing this.   How can you lose? 

Last but not least, have your spine checked out before performing any sort of exercise program.  If there be any misalignments in your body’s joints, you can actually do more harm than good.  Your spine is extremely important becuase it houses the most important organ, your Nervous System.  If there be any degeneration in your spine, it can progress to a more severe level, and really set you back from having the quality of life you deserve functionally and health wise.  There’s a big difference between just moving and moving well.  Thanks for reading.  Have a blessed day.

Joey Lowery, DC, MS, CSCS, NCSA-CPT