Fitness

10 training Myths: Part I

November 24, 2015

Hi all,

I usually follow up with my clients the day after our sessions about how they are feeling and last week one of them started explaining to me how her muscles were still burning 2 days after the training because of the “lactic acid” in her muscles. I’ve heard this over and over again (this whole lactic acid story) so I thought it was time to set the record straight. Of lactic acid and other training myths that people still believe in. So today I’m starting with Part I of the most common training myths I’ve heard or saw until today.

1- Lactic Acid and muscle pain

I will try to explain this briefly: lactic acid or lactate is a by-product of exercises when the rate of demand for energy is high and glucose (our fuel during training) is converted into pyruvate through several steps in the glycolysis cycle. When the oxygen is limited, the body temporarily converts pyruvate into a substance called lactate, which allows the glucose conversion and thus energy production to continue. Lactate is however completely reabsorbed within 2-3 hours; therefore, there’s no connection between lactic acid and muscle soreness the day after. The classic muscle soreness we sometimes get the day after is a result of the microscopic damage to the muscle fibers that happens during training. This damage, coupled with the inflammation provoked from the reorganization of the muscle fibers, is what causes temporary muscle soreness.

Lactate Molecule Source: Wikimedia

2- Weight and fitness level

Your weight doesn’t say a lot about your fitness level. Muscle and fat are different in density (muscle has density about 18% higher than fat). So, 1 kg of muscle occupies less space (volume) than 1 kg of fat. The best way to monitor our improvement is to check our body measurements regularly and take pictures. (you don’t have to post them on social media though, that’s a personal choice each one takes)

Fitness levelImage Source: Bairdphotos

3- Lower abs

There are NO lower abs, the rectus abdominis muscle is a paired muscle formed by two parallel muscles, separated by a midline band of connective tissue called the linea alba. It extends from the pubic symphysis, the pubic crest and the pubic tubercle from the bottom, up until the xiphoid process and costal cartilages of ribs V to VII from the top. (sorry for all the complicated scientific names) Your ab muscles perform the important task of flexing the torso and spine in your abdominal region. It does this by pulling your rib cage closer to the pelvis. Hence, it is not possible to focus an exercise only the lower abs.

4- Doing a lot of crunches will give me a six pack

When people have a very low body fat their abs can be viewed externally and are commonly referred to as a “four, six, or eight pack”. In order to have this result, the connection of a healthy lifestyle, diet and physical activity is important. Some people even say that abs are made in the kitchen. Localized fat loss is a myth, decrease fat in different parts of the body is determined primarily by factors independent from certain exercises and their number of reps, but rather by the subjective predispositions, hormones, constitutional and sexual factors. Plus, crunches and other ab exercises will only develop the muscle, they won’t burn the fat that lays on top of it. Otherwise, you may try one of these very effective techniques for getting a six pack. lol

5- Training machines are safer than free body exercises 

It all depends on how you use it. The machines guide the movements from a starting point to an end point. That’s why we feel more secure and guided, but this should always be individually adjusted, based on the length of the legs, arms or joints mobility. I would say it’s safer to be followed by a professional trainer if you have any doubts on the machine positions, and if possible, ask your trainer about free body exercises that are effective and will help you with posture and core strength with a complete activation of your entire body.

free body exercises

So these were the first half of the training myths I wanted to clarify with you guys. If you have any questions or comments regarding these or others you might have already heard of, please drop us a note or make a comment down below.

For our readers in the U.S. my best advice for Thanksgiving is portion control. Enjoy the family time around the dinner table, but be aware of high calorie dishes and eat less from them. Carol will be posting a great Thanksgiving side on Thursday (instead of Sunday) this week. Stay tuned!

Wish you all a great active week!

 

 

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