Myth and Truth
Working in the fitness industry and being a personal trainer for the past ten years, I’ve been asked every question you can possibly think of. Most of these questions are the results of “fitness myths” people have heard or bought into, and many of these myths are causing you to train inefficiently and are robbing you of valuable results.
So instead of beating your head against a wall trying to tone up and slim down, let’s tackle some of those common myths together so you can achieve the body you desire.
*Myth: I want to lose fat and gain muscle, so I’ll just do cardio to lose fat and once I’ve lost my fat I’ll do weight lifting.
Truth: That’s good you started to exercise but there is a much more effective way to do it. When you just do cardio your body does lose fat but is also burns muscle. When you start losing muscle your metabolism slows down making fat loss even harder.
Try this. You can focus more on cardio but still include at least two to three 30 to 45-minute weight training sessions per week. I recommend circuit training or using a lot of super sets—that way you can work more muscle in less time and keep your heart rate up. Then after a few months, once you’ve lost your desired amount of fat without losing any muscle, you can shift to more weight training and less cardio. It’s that simple.
*Myth: Machines are for toning and free weights are for building muscle mass.
Truth: You can build muscle mass and tone with both free weights and machines. The difference is that free weights generally produce faster results because they are more natural and therefore recruit more muscle fibres. Whether you build muscle or just “tone” has more to do with nutrition and the workout program you are on.
*Myth: To build muscle mass, increase the weight.
Truth: Heavy lifting will produce faster strength gains but for most people it will not mean more muscle. Studies, and even personal experience, have shown that a medium rep range, between eight to 12 reps, produces the greatest gains in muscle size for most people. This has a lot to do with the different energy sources you body uses and the different muscle fibre types. Since variety is the key to training you should still do high reps, 13-25 reps, and heavy reps, two to seven reps, but about 50 percent of your training should be in the medium rep range.
*Myth: Do leg raises to work the lower abs and crunches to work the upper abs.
Truth: The problem is most people don’t know what/where the lower and upper abs are. The so-called “upper abs” are over the rib cage and the “lower abs” are what make a six-pack (they start around your sternum and go down to your pelvis area). Yes, your six-pack is one muscle. If you don’t believe me try flexing just the upper part without flexing the lower part. You can’t because they are connected.
Most good abdominal exercises work both the lower and upper abs. Obviously when you raise your legs compared to your body it works then from a different angle, but it still works them.
*Myth: You have to do “cardio” at a fat burn heart rate (HR) to most effectively lose fat.
Truth: You’re burning fat right now as you read this, just not that much. As long as your body is using oxygen, you’re burning fat to some degree, and as long as you’re alive you’re using oxygen. It’s true that when you are in a “fat loss HR” (generally 65 percent of your maximum heart rate) , you burn a greater percentage of fat compared to sugar (carbs). But at a higher heart rate—80 percent —you burn more calories overall, plus you’ve increased your metabolism to high levels so your body will burn more calories over the next several hours.
What’s a person to do? When in doubt, do both, at least when it comes to cardio. Interval training is a form of cardio where you go at a higher HR for a period of time then you slow down and go at the lower HR for a period of time. You can switch back and forth as much as you’d like. Whichever of the three you choose to do from day to day just be sure to do it consistently and you will see fat loss progress.
“JarrettJames solution programme”
For most gay men, the goal of working out is simple—sure, we want to have energy, to feel good about how we are, to lead healthy, active lives. But at the root of it all, we want to look good, and all eyes are never quite on us as they are when we’re naked.
With my jarrettjames “solution programme,” the goal is simple—whip your butt into shape so that when the lights go down and the clothes come off, you put your best “whatever” forward. Check out my website www.jarrettjames.co.uk for more info.