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Mythbusters for Women: Exercise Fact or Fiction, Part 2

By: Jonathan TaylorSports Performance SpecialistSpectrum Sports PerformanceexerciseI’m back! Often times with topics of fitness and exercise, it is not so much an issue of learning, as it is an unlearning of what we have learned. Self-image, opinions of others, miss-informed articles, and a host of other hurdles keep many hindered from setting and reaching realistic, self-appropriate goals. Genetics, skeletal structure, proper nutrition, intensity of exercise, mindsets, work ethic, discipline, and exercise history all play a part in the molding of a specific physique. In order to achieve and succeed, we have to understand the science behind exercise adaptation, as well as understanding ourselves, individually. Here are a few more fitness related myths that I commonly run into with my experience in the exercise field.

1. The longer I workout, the more calories I burn.

Duration and intensity have an inverse relationship, meaning, the longer I workout, the more energy has to be persevered, and the less intense the session will be. I would simply define intensity as how hard you work during a session, using a mixture of different rep schemes, little to no rest between exercises, using big, multi-joint exercises, and various loads. To put it bluntly, if you can talk on a cell phone, read a Cosmo, and keep makeup intact, I would not define that as an intense workout. We have already established in my previous blogs that post-exercise calorie burn is critical when fat loss is the primary goal. To restate, post exercise oxygen consumption is the amount of time your body spends burning calories after an exercise session. Research brings out that the higher the intensity of the workout, the longer your body spends in this state, post workout.
In order to best utilize time spent working out, we have to look at not how long I spend in the gym, but how long I spend actually exercising. I can spend two hours in the gym, but when I account for water breaks, bathroom intermissions, resting, talking, etc. I could have only spent eighteen minutes actually doing work. So become more efficient! Commit to thirty minutes of exercise, yet spend twenty minutes actually doing work, incorporating as little rest as possible. In order to utilize HGH, a hormone responsible for protein synthesis and fat utilization, try keeping rest time under 60 seconds or less between exercises. Use a timer or a stopwatch and don’t just guesstimate! Go hard for less time and you will see more gains in the long run.

2. As long as I exercise, I can eat (or drink) anything I want. exerciseIn my profession, one of the most common frustrations I come across with female clientele is that the weight does not come off fast enough. “I workout so hard, but I hardly see any physical change,” I hear many tell me. Well, first we must dissect a few issues. First, how many times a week are you working out and how intense is the exercise session? As stated in the previous paragraph, if intensity is lacking, so does the post exercise oxygen consumption, which will lead to less calories burned at rest. Many people believe that if they just “show up” two to three hours a week that that pesky fat will melt away like butter.

Second , because one “works out,” he or she many times feels justified in cheating by ingesting more calories, consciously or unconsciously, especially on the weekend. However, if we look at this a little bit closer, there are 168 hours in a week, in which you devote anywhere from 2-10 hours to exercise in that week, depending on frequency. To put it another way, “In the 168 hour week, I am going to discipline myself 2-10 hours a week with exercise, but the other 158-166 hours are negligible.” When stated like that, the issue becomes a little more transparent.

Disciplining yourself and what you put in your body is key to finding real, lasting, fat loss. Just because I work out a few times a week, I can’t then eat multiple slices of pizza on Friday and make room for a glass (or four) of wine every night. If the calorie consumption is always beating the calorie expenditure over the course of the week, even if it is a little bit, you will never see much change from a body composition standpoint. Self discipline and a lot of consistency will inevitably breed change. You must commit to changing habits and behaviors, not just adding an extra day of exercise. Mark Twight, Owner of Gym Jones in Salt Lake City, Utah said, “Everyone thinks their diet is fine. Positive changes on a cellular level (due to nutritional influence) can take up to six months to occur. Red blood cells are replaced every three months. Eating a diet of organic foods and sound macronutrient ratios for a month, then declaring it doesn’t work is ridiculous. But its how most people behave. Without an immediate and measureable benefit they revert to old habits. They want a cure in a bottle.”

If you are not seeing change, you need to analyze first and foremost: what are you putting in your body? Take the next two weeks and journal everything that you eat; you might be surprised to see how much you really consume on a day to day basis. Stay away from calorie dense foods (i.e. fried chicken, processed foods, corn syrup of any kind, alcohol, and the like) and start incorporating nutrient dense foods (i.e. fruits, greens, nuts, seeds, mono & poly unsaturated fats, and the like). Stick with it for the long haul, allow your body to heal, and start seeing real change.

3. Because I do cardio, I don’t need to work my legs with weights.exerciseFalse, false, and oh, did I mention false? Firstly, I want you to think of your legs as your best calorie burners on your body! The legs have the most muscle distributed on your body, meaning, the more the muscle, the more energy is needed to perform repeated contractions with those muscles. We must use them for more than just cardio!

Secondly, muscle on the body is made up of two different muscle fiber types: type 1 muscle fiber and type 2 muscle fiber. I want you to think of your type 1 muscle fibers as endurance based fibers. These fibers usually help first in activities such as walking, running, moving lighter loads, and are resistant to fatigue when not stressed exceedingly. When performing cardio for a long duration, the body will best adapt to the situation by recruiting these types of muscle fibers to get the job done. However, this fiber type does not do a whole lot for actually shaping your legs, butt, etc. This is where type 2 fibers come into play.

Type 2 muscle fibers are responsible for the firmer, more shapely image the muscles receive in response to resistance training. These muscles are recruited when the load is heavier and needs more strength to move it. Also, when running, if you went from a jog to an all-out sprint, your body would “switch” muscle fiber types for the sudden demand in speed. These muscle types fatigue faster, yet present the body with a far better alternative when the demand and intensity is high. Also, these fiber types respond to the hormone shifts resistance training stimulates, and adapt by becoming stronger, and give a more shapely appearance.

Make sure you don’t neglect your legs when resistance training; the legs are your biggest advocate in the gym!

Edited by Courtney VandeStreek

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