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In the fitness industry, it is constantly changing. Concepts regarding the different issues in fitness and sports science are dynamic as research produce new findings. People are taking new directions in training methodology and for some old school belief you had, some have been proven wrong and invalid. Here are a few false concepts you’d want to know:
Old concept No. 1: “Use a low intensity exercise for longer duration of time”
New concept: What matters during the exercise is your “total energy cost or calories burn during the exercise”. So the faster you walk, the more you’d lose. Beginners are advised to start building up their stamina in a progressive manner. They need to build up their stamina first and then go for as much as fast as you could.
Old concept No. 2: “I don’t need a personal trainer – I just need learn from a book and watch lots of youtube videos”
New concept: While you can always do the ‘Monkey see and monkey do’ method, it would be smarter for one to engage a professional trainer who is experienced and certified to facilitate your workouts. This ensures that you achieve your target effectively and efficiently, with minimal or no injury at all. Think about it, if you’re sick, would you rather see a doctor or just read from wikipedia.
Side track: I know a few ‘Youtube Trainers’ – you know, trainers who learn and pick up training exercises from watching youtube. Talking about ‘Monkey see, Monkey do’ – unless they are able to decipher the physiological and biomechanical aspects of the workouts, this would be doing injustice to their clients. Further, as many of these youtube videos are homemade (some great functional training workouts), there are many exercises that work on all planes at a time – sagittal, frontal and transverse. While this is all good and dandy, a trainer who does not have the proper qualifications may not have the proper knowledge for workout progression to vary and modify such complex and intense (selective) exercises.
Old concept No. 3: “Yoga is gentle and simple”
New concept: Yoga is a great exercise form. However, it has some unique postures and can be physically challenging. Start slow and get a qualified trainer to facilitate your workout.
Old concept No. 4: “You will always get results if you workout just like me”
New concept: Each individual has a unique genetic scripture. It is possible that if your friend can lose weight quickly by cycling, but not you. This is because our bodies react differently to different kinds of exercise. Consult your trainer if you are not getting any results. Some personal trainers use one template and training program across the board with their clients – if you’re a victim of this, ask your trainer why your program is not personalised.
Old concept No.5: “I’ll get a trainer who can lift heavier, run faster and much stronger than me. That’ll ensure that I’ll be like him”
New concept: Get a professional personal trainer who knows how to coach. I know many trainers who have 4% bodyfat and can bench 150kg easily but are bad trainers. It’s sad to see that a lot of their clients’ funds go towards someone who claims to be a coach but in fact is just an athlete. Just look around when you’re in a gym – how many clients actually look as buffed and lean as their trainers. I’d suggest you look for one with proper certifications (a full time diploma, degree and masters degree is preferred) that not only cover fitness certifications, but also coaching and pedagogy certificates.
Sidetrack: When I was 26, I had to learn how to perform the backflip. Some of my classmates and I did it after 6 sessions of training , thanks to my coach. The great thing is, he didn’t and could not even do even one flip (back/front/side) at all. He did this by facilitating and teaching the proper progression and extension of the parts that creates a beautiful backflip. Now that’s a great teacher!
Old concept No. 6: “Stay away from strength training if you want to lose weight”
New concept: Again the concept goes beyond the fact. Researchers have shown that both cardio, endurance and strength training go hand in hand in weight loss. With a higher percentage of muscle, it’ll help increase metabolism which in turn helps to burn fat faster.
Old concept No. 7: “Water fitness programs are only for the aged or injured”
New concept: New research has found that water fitness programs can benefit anyone. Even professional athletes include water fitness programs in their training program.
Old concept No. 8: “Exercise only improves the body figure”
New concept: Exercise does not only do justice to your body but they are a great help in keeping you away from depression and tension. It is a true source of mind and body fitness.
Old concept No. 9: “People with extra weight are unlikely to get benefit from exercise”
New concept: The most important factor of leading a healthy life is to remain active. Even food obsessed people who exercise daily are less prone to early death than those who are sedentary. Health benefits can be reaped with just a little bit more physical activity in your life.
Old concept No. 10: “Join a Gym and you’ll be fit”
New concept: Joining a gym is not the only solution for your fitness program. Many people buy a year’s membership but stop going to the gym after a month! Unless you workout consistently, you will not be fit. Studies have shown that you can home based fitness programme usually results in a higher adherence level. Be consistent in your mission of fat and weight loss and you’ll see results in no time!
Old concept No. 11: “Do the same type of exercise regularly and a lot, or don’t do it”
New concept: It is always better to exercise a little that abandoning it completely. You must remember that “something is better than nothing”. So keep it up with any of its form but do it! In fact, you can even do interval training of 10 minutes at moderate intensity and see health benefits at the end of the day. Aim to clock 150-250 minutes in a week. See ACSM’s stand on physical activity and weight loss here
Old concept No.12: “Just exercise”
New concept: Exercise is not the only factor that is going to help in fat and weight loss. There are other factors like your genetics, diet, and routine. If you workout but continue to have a large food intake, how would you lose the fat from your waistline then? Keep the other factors in mind. Always remember less calorie intake.
Old concept No.13: ‘I stretch before my workout and run to lessen chances of injury’
New concept: Email me for the reason why stretching before exercise does not prevent injuries and in fact it reduces your performance during workouts.
Well there you have it – some concepts that are outdated and highlighted to your attention. If you wish to have a trainer to share with you in what I shared greater depth, do feel free to email me at firstname.lastname@example.org and I’ll try to get back to you soonest.
In the meantime, take care and train smart!
Hisham Musa (Sharm),
Master of Science, NTU
Your servant personal trainer