Reaching the goal of having a healthy, fit, body is not an easy task. However, there are many things people do that are counterproductive towards reaching that dream body they’ve always been working towards. Let’s talk about what works…and what doesn’t.
Myth #1: If I’m sweating, that means I’m working.
Sweating does not always mean that you had an effective workout. If that were true, everyone could go out onto their porch in the summertime and say that they worked out! When your body starts to heat up, whether through exercise or outside temperature your brain will react by releasing sweat from the nearly 2.5 million eccrine glands spread throughout your body. This pours liquid through your pores to lower your body temperature. Sweating is simply due to elevated body temperature. An effective workout does not HAVE to involve a lot of sweat to be effective…however, EPOC (excess post-oxygen consumption) DOES mean that you had an effective workout. This is the feeling that you have when you go take a shower after a workout, get out of the shower, and you’re still sweating. Your body temperature is still elevated, even when the workout is done. This means that you had a very effective workout, your metabolism is still working for you (meaning you are still burning calories) even after the workout is complete. High five…you rocked it!
Myth #2: I have to be sore after a workout.
DOMS (delayed onset muscle soreness) is the unaccustomed muscle soreness felt in muscles several hours to days after strenuous exercise. Soreness from a workout is NOT always a good sign. Typically DOMS takes about 24-48 hours to set in and peaks between 24-72 hours post-exercise. Any significant muscle soreness that lasts longer than 5 days could be a sign of significant muscle damage beyond what is beneficial.
Muscle soreness does not = muscle growth. Your muscles will grow just fine without constant damage. You should not spend every workout working until you’re limping out of the gym. That could compromise your ability to do your follow-up workouts for the week and cause damage in your joints for the long-run. It is important to change up your phases constantly so your body never gets the chance to respond, and that is most effectively done by working with a personal trainer who has the knowledge and trainer eyes to change up your phases before your body plateaus.
Myth #3: To get a six-pack, you must do crunches and ab work.
I have told every client I have ever trained two things about abs:
First: Abs are made more so in the kitchen than in the gym.
Second: The best “ab” exercise you can do is a compound multi-joint movement that requires a strong core to take you through that movement effectively- such as a squat.
It’s okay to focus on abs and core work throughout the week- just like any other muscle. However, just like every other muscle we train, we need to hit that muscle group and allow that muscle group to recover. You wouldn’t train biceps for 6 consecutive days, why would you treat another muscle group (your abs) that way?
Myth #4: I’m not losing where I want to, so I should just give up.
Unfortunately, the last place you gained weight, is probably the last place you’ll lose it. As trainers, we are asked to “spot reduce” all the time. Your body is going to lose the weight in the progression that it chooses to, unfortunately. You need a well-rounded program to allow your body composition to change (decrease body fat, increase lean muscle). Men and women tend to want to lose the weight in their belly first, however, it’s usually the last place to go…and it will usually disappear right before they reach their goal weight. So that means, discipline, focus, and hard work until the end my friend!
Allison Smith is a certified personal trainer, with a B.S. in Kinesiology from George Mason University, and licensed clinician (Occupational Therapy Assistant). Her favorite past times include tumbling, pumping iron, eating, sleeping, loving life, and laughing at her own jokes. She is a mother of a threenager sweet girl, a baby boy, and an incredibly patient, sweet husband. Allison spends most of her days in workout clothes and thinking about cleaning the refrigerator (which never happens).
As if her life isn’t glamorous enough, she also pursues intense obstacle mud runs in her spare time with her sister, and wants to purse becoming a fitness competitor one day very soon.
Allison loves the opportunity to help people realize that getting fit and eating right doesn’t mean working out 3 hours a day, 7 days a week and eating chicken breast and salads. In the meantime, you can find her in the gym, or hiding in the bathroom from her children scrolling through Pinterest.