5 Gym Myths That Are Holding Your Back
As Victoria emerges out of lockdown, there seems to be a resurgence of out-dated and misinformation circulating around about the best way to lose Corona kgs, regain strength and get the most out of your time with your PT.
I get it, during lockdown we all had to make do with minimal equipment, light weights and limited space. Creativity was a crucial element behind most workout because getting the body moving was our primary goals while also over coming the monotonous daily grind of ISO life.
Hopefully time spent active during ISO has helped your mobility and body weight and high reps/ light load has done wonders to your stability. But in returning back to the gym and the weight rack, it is time to get clever again. And just because your closest buddy has signed up to couch to 5km, does not mean you need to follow suit if weight loss is your primary goal (or you hate running).
The truth is many women are so guilty of busting their butts only to fail to make any noticeable progress. I know this because I used to be this person and I guarantee, if you have spent a bit of time in the gym, you have been too.
Myth One: Adding resistance training to your program will help ‘tone’ your body.
There are two things needed to achieve the lean, athletic body you have pictured in your mind; an increase in muscles mass and decrease in body fat. That is it. If you are after defined legs, arms and abs, you need to drop enough body fat to make the muscle underneath visible. If you want a six pack, you need to be prepared to diet down below 16-18 % body fat (but that is a topic for another day). Whether you are doing Pilates or Deadlifts to strengthen you body, the shape of the muscle will come out the same. The only difference is that deadlift is a more effective way to build muscle due to a higher stimulus to change.
For most women it also take year to grow a significant amount of muscle, if you feel like you ‘getting bulky’, there is a high chance that your current diet needs to be adjusted to match your goals.
Myth Two: You have to train like a maniac to maintain a great physique.
If after a workout all you want to do is eat and pass out, there is a chance you are working too hard. Similarly, the measure of a good workout is not how sweaty or ruined you are by the end… there are also NO GOLD stars for finishing faster than everybody else. While Mrs Huff and Puff might look like she is the hardest worker in the room while moving frantically through the workout, you are best to focus on lifting as heavy as your technique allows and using your rest period to recover. Training efficiently will also mean that you do not need to live the gym or train every day. In fact, training too often will only limit your growth as you are reducing your recovery window. Furthermore, rest days are CRITICAL. This gives your muscles a chance to grow and get stronger. On your rest days you should stay active, but this does not mean the inclusion of a run, intense HIIT workout or fast paced yoga session.
Myth Three: Following fancy workouts instead of a program.
People often tell me that they have lifted weight before but got bored and quit. Or that they ‘easily get bored’ of lifting weights. I hate to burst their bubble, but when it comes to seeing changes in your body it requires four simple things: do the right exercises, lift progressively heavier weight over time, eat correctly and give your body sufficient recovery. If you are getting bored of training, there is a chance that you are not making progress or getting stronger, so get frustrated an give up..
If you are looking to build muscle and see real results, including the same exercises over at least a 4 week block is a must. This should include variations of deadlifts, squats, bench press, barbell/ dumbbell press, rows and pull ups. Constantly changing your routine prevents you from properly evaluating your progress. At the same time, having huge gaps in your workouts can be problematic as there is too much time between the applied stress and you are unnecessarily exposing yourself to injury.
Myth Four: Your training should look good for ‘the gram’.
Building a great body takes hard work. There will come a point in your training where you need to tell you mind to be quiet, embrace discomfort and lift the weights that might be a bit intimidating. Just showing up and going through the motions is not enough. There needs to be visible effort and maybe even some grunting! While it is important that you do not let your technique suffer, it is important that you acknowledge the need to dig deep to continue to apply overload and finish your last set without dropping your load. There needs to be visible effort when you are lifting weights to stimulate growth and get the most out of your training.
Myth Five: Training alone with get the rig you want.
Your muscles grow outside the gym. They need quality sleep, sufficient rest and proper nutrition. Failing to have the right nutrition protocol can effect your ability to build muscle or make you more likely to put on additional, unwanted body fat. If you are wanting to see long-lasting body transformation, is important to have a vested interested in understanding the calorie density in foods as well as the role and ratios of protein, carbs and fats.
Are you ready to be your own success story? Are you ready to learn how to use strength training to get into your best shape possible? Why not reach out to join us!
Ange Drake is an personal trainer, women’s empowerment coach and fitness blogger in the northern suburbs of Melbourne. She is the director of one of the few womens’ only strength training gyms in Melbourne, 23W. Ange helps women to learn how to use strength based training, nutritional strategies and a positive mindset to transform their bodies, relationship with food and mind.
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