Saturday, December 13, 2014

5 Surprising Things To Know About Your Workouts

Think you know fitness?  Our top physiologists' and health coaches' findings may surprise you!

#5.  Weight loss doesn't always mean fat loss.

This understanding is of paramount importance because people sometimes do more harm than good with their exercise.  A common scenario is to lose muscle tissue through cardiovascular and resistance/strength exercise (believe it or not, this happens to many!)  With weight coming down, people continue their efforts because they assume that they are losing fat, but what's really happening is that muscle tissue is being used for energy, and metabolism is being reduced instead of increased.

#4.  Training the same muscles on consecutive days hurts your fitness!

Much like the scenario described in #5, this scenario involves muscle tissue actually regressing (as opposed to progressing) with exercise.  Your muscles grow during their recovery period, which should generally be about 48 hours.  Without this period of time, muscles and metabolism usually cannot improve - even after the best-crafted fitness sessions.

#3.  Abdominal exercises won't show off your abdominals!

It's important to understand that conditioning a muscle group doesn't contribute greatly to burning bodyfat unless you line up several factors.  Even in the best scenarios, training a muscle group (such as the abdominals) won't specifically burn your bodyfat that is stored around those muscles. So, you'll achieve nice musculature, but you won't be able to see that musculature unless extra steps are taken to burn the fat that hides it. This same lesson goes for muscles of the butt, thighs, and arms:  Train the muscles because it's the healthy thing to do, but be sure your caloric balance is such that the excess fat gets lose on its own accord.

#2.  Arm & leg circumference measurements are misleading.

While they certainly have their place, checking circumference measurements of the arms and thighs can provide confusing results.  Here is why:  When you're conditioning your muscles, they generally get somewhat larger at some point in your program (even if you're not exercising at high capacities), thereby contributing to a larger circumference. Fat loss, of course, contributes to a lesser circumference.  While our professionals use circumference measurements for some equations relating to fitness science, it's helpful to know that some of the fat you lose in your arms or legs may be replaced with muscle, making your progress seem smaller than it really is!

#1.  Running is not recommended for fat loss.

While avid runners enjoy the benefits of conditioning their hearts and minimizing their body fat stores, they also run many risks - often negatively affecting their bones and joints unnecessarily.   While running has its advantages, there are other forms of cardiovascular exercise that are just as effective with far fewer risks of injury.  It's also safer in the long-term to perform cardiovascular exercise in varying planes of movement - some rotational and some lateral, in addition to the straight-forward motion of running. Additionally, most clients find exercises like rowing, swimming, or elliptical exercise to be more enjoyable due to the lack of impact.

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