Anyone else confused by exercising myths?

(74 Posts)
whethergirl Sat 07-Sep-13 22:12:40

With every theory, there is a contradicting theory. It does my bloody head in.

I have spent quite a lot of time reading up both in books and on the internet, and am curently trying to sort out a new exercise routine. The plan is to do mat workouts and interval training on alternate days with a rest at the weekend.

However...

Some say that you shouldn't exercise every day as it's counter productive. But clearly many athletes/fitness gurus do.

Some say that exercising for too long is counter productive. The amount of time recommended varies greatly, from 6 minutes to one hour.

Some say that the exercises used should be changed regularly, and there are many different opinions of how regular this should be. On the other hand, some say this is a myth, and that sticking to a similar set of exercises is more beneficial.

It's these three things that I'm struggling with mostly confused

Talkinpeace Fri 15-Nov-13 18:10:17

Different people's bodies react to exercise in different ways ... look at the different body shapes of sprinters, middle distance runners and marathon runners as a case in point.

I swim 5 days a week, do lots of yoga and a couple of hours of body pump.
I'm not an athlete, I just want to be lean and healthy as I head towards late middle age.
I hate spin, I cannot jump or run and have a tendency to get lumpy if I do heavy weights.
So I do what I enjoy.

Lazysuzanne Fri 15-Nov-13 18:00:30

per volume muscle weighs more than fat.

It is surely self evident that on a weight for weight basis all things weigh the same!

brainwashed Fri 15-Nov-13 16:59:12

Re this muscle weighs more than fat thing. It doesn't..... 1lb of muscle weighs exactly the same as 1lb of fat, ie.1lb ...it just takes up less space because it is denser.

whethergirl Fri 27-Sep-13 00:19:26

leonferao do you really recommend the Naked Warrior book? It looks a bit faddy/gimmicky to me.

ivykaty44 - re: Some say that you shouldn't exercise every day as it's counter productive. But clearly many athletes/fitness gurus do. Perhaps using athletes as an example was not a good idea as they are very driven to their specific goal, and this is not necessarily the healthiest way. But in answer to your question, 'they' are saying it is counter productive in that better results (weight loss/muscle tone mainly, as these are my goals and so my research will reflect that) are achieved by having rest days inbetween. For example, if you were to do strength training, then the process of muscle repair that will follow will burn fat. So the rest day is needed to allow that repair/burn fat process to happen.

^ I walk three days a week for an hour and do two hours of weights and 4 spin - all covering different parts of the body that covers over the seven days.^ Yes, I have heard it's better to exercise different parts of the body on different days (also ensuring you rest each body part), however, that kind of contradicts the compound functional movements & it's benefits, that we were talking about earlier.

Some say that exercising for too long is counter productive. The amount of time recommended varies greatly, from 6 minutes to one hour. Same as above, really, counter productive to getting the results. Running at the same pace for a long period of time, for example, may not be as effective as running at interval speeds for a shorter time.

Some say that the exercises used should be changed regularly, and there are many different opinions of how regular this should be. On the other hand, some say this is a myth, and that sticking to a similar set of exercises is more beneficial. Again, all the research I've ever done has been with the end goal of losing fat and toning up. So, some say that you need to vary exercises as your body will respond better (lose weight/tone up) to new and different exercises.

I am limited to what exercise I can do as I have to do it from home (single parent) and I'm quite poor! I think I would enjoy lifting weights though, if I had the choice. However, I do enjoy doing my exercise dvds so happy to carry on, however, it would still be useful to seperate myth from fact so that I can get the most out of it.

Lazysuzanne Thu 26-Sep-13 17:44:51

I'm not sure that I exactly disagree with you Sleep on the intensity issue, my opinion tends to shift according to what I'm into at the time and whether it's working for me.

All I can say with any certainty is that exercise is, broadly speaking, beneficialgrin

Currently I do about an hour of cardio a day, I wear a heart rate monitor and vary the intensity according to how I'm feeling, I mix up swimming running cycling & uphill walking.

I'd like to only swim and run but I'd get over use injuries and swimming is already causing problems with my upper body strength training.

I keep my strength training sessions slow & heavy, I dont aim to be getting out of breath.

Not that I think there's anything wrong with taking a different approach and combining cardio with strength training in one session.
Infact it may just be a clothing issue, I like to wear shorts and a tiny top when I'm doing cardio (in order to stay cool) but I sure as hell am not going to wear that in the weights room and be leered at by the knuckdraggers.
I used to only strength train and was nearly 2 stones heavier, of course it was all muscle well, mostly

ivykaty44 Thu 26-Sep-13 17:30:16

thats the thing sleep you work hard at some types of training to improve and enhance your real love of one or two particular sports/training.

I do spin 3/4 times a week so that I can cycle in the summer with dd or on holiday, this year went away with dd and although I know I can't keep up with her at least I don't hold her up to much and we both enjoy having the freedom and fitness levels to go out for a days ride and do 30/40/50/60 miles.

I do pump for core arms and legs so I can sit on a bike for a few hours without hurting and aching

ivykaty44 Thu 26-Sep-13 17:25:25

oh and the arse on them are just peachy wink

While I haven't tried either, Crossfit and BMF have madly enthusiastic fans, which suggests to me that they must both be fun, and/or provide a real high and great results. They both sound tough but definitely go and try the BMF, everyone there will have started somewhere and ultimately it's up to you how hard you push your body (don't go too crazy grin). If there's a decent instructor they will tailor what they ask you to do to your ability. If you like it then you'll keep going and no doubt get great results from it and be amazed how quickly you end up doing stuff you thought you never could. Finding the exercise you find fun is such a big key to sticking at it, it changes it from a chore to a treat (ok...most of the time wink). I quite like weight training and interval sessions but I really keep going and work hard at those in order to improve my kickboxing, which is my real passion.

HomerPigeon Thu 26-Sep-13 16:18:30

Thanks all, esp. Sleepwhenidie. I am just running at the moment, while I build up a bit of fitness - can run for 25 mins at about 10 mins a mile pace without stopping. The idea of endless long cardio sessions bores me though - I couldn't run for more than an hour without being very bored. I would like to do some strength training but without the gym, which I don't really enjoy so much. I looked at my local Crossfit but it looked absolutely terrifying, like you'd have to be superfit just to consider it. So have signed up for a trial British Military Fitness session, which I was thinking of going to this weekend - is that any good? Or will it leave me broken??!

And arms....and abs!

And chest Ivy grin

ivykaty44 Thu 26-Sep-13 16:07:25

I much prefer a track cyclists thighs wink

Seriously does this scroll down to 7th pic - look healthy to you?

Whereas...this.... <fans self>

I completely agree with you on your point about finding what you enjoy being key btw Ivy

They do have very low body fat Ivy but tour cyclists also have very little muscle, they want to be as light as possible - also endurance competitions will burn muscle as well as fat (unlike interval training).

Bradley Wiggins' body for the Tour was very different from when he was a track cyclist, compare for example Sir Chris Hoy's physique, strong and powerful, built for speed over shorter distances, to Wiggins' which tbh I really don't find attractive (aesthetic pov I know but that is usually quite important to most of us) smile. Tour de France competitors aren't exactly known for their longevity either...though of course for many that may be due to practices slightly outside of usual training programmes hmm.

ivykaty44 Thu 26-Sep-13 15:20:18

oh and cyclists have a very low body fat %, probably the lowest of all athletes

ivykaty44 Thu 26-Sep-13 15:16:43

Some say that you shouldn't exercise every day as it's counter productive. But clearly many athletes/fitness gurus do. what are "they" saying it is counter productive for? Of course athletes train every day but they do have rest days - even in the tour de france they have two rest days when cycling for 21 days and covering 3000km. They also have massages when they get of the bike and other athletes have massages and ice baths etc to help the body recover. I walk three days a week for an hour and do two hours of weights and 4 spin - all covering different parts of the body that covers over the seven days.

Some say that exercising for too long is counter productive. The amount of time recommended varies greatly, from 6 minutes to one hour. What is it counter productive for though? If you go out for a run - will you really only run for 6 minutes? I can't imagine going out for a bike ride and cycling for just 6 minutes - I may be gone for 3 hours and dd is out for 5 hours with a tea stop.

Some say that the exercises used should be changed regularly, and there are many different opinions of how regular this should be. On the other hand, some say this is a myth, and that sticking to a similar set of exercises is more beneficial. If you are training to run a marathon it may be good to do some yoga or swimming but it is going to be pointless doing spin three times a week and not running as come race day you will not be all set to run.

Can I make a suggestion op? Find soem stuff you like doing whether it be walking, running weights, tread mill and then set yourself a goal - run on the treadmill for 5km in under 35 minutes or cycling 30 miles in under one and a half hours, but enjoy what you are doign and then you will keep doing it.

exercising shifts shit out of your body and helps prevent type 2, heart disease, high cholesterol, it makes you feel good as it sets of happy hormones, it keeps you younger, more flexible and weight and cardio help stop/reduce all sorts of menopause problems.

If you can't do a full one...

I know that Suzanne has different views than me on this Homer and I expect she will be along to give her thoughts, but unless you have lots of time and/or really enjoy long steady cardio sessions, I believe strongly that intervals are the way to go, although I'd use steady cardio for a month or so if you are starting from completely unfit, then start introducing them. They will give you much greater 'bang for your buck' fitness and fat burning wise, than longer, steady sessions (and reduce chance of injury...long runs and slightly older knees - ouch!).

Lots of bodyweight exercises you can do without equipment, as you said, squats, wall sits, push ups, tricep dips using a dining chair, planks and side planks and lunges. Do be careful to get technique right for the squats and lunges though, you don't want to damage your knees. If you look online you can find different versions of all of these, so you can modify according to your strength and build up to harder versions, for example do a push up on your knees if you can do a full one. smile HTH.

Homer I think surely it must depend on each person individually, not one size fits all it you see what I mean.

I did classes for ages, spin, body conditioning, and then later pump and combat. Then I got bored and totally changed my regime and started going to the gym and personally for me the gym gives me better results. However, I was very fit and active anyway by the time I started the gym so the classes probably kick started me. I always always thought cardio was the answer but for me, this is not the case at all although I always incorporate it into my work out even if for just 20 mins.

I think variation is good so mix and match it and more importantly find something you like as you are more likely to be consistant if you actually enjoy it.

If you want to do stuff at home maybe consider the shred or 6 week six pack or something as you dont need anything for that apart from hand weights and if you don't have those you could use tins or something.

HomerPigeon Thu 26-Sep-13 14:49:19

I've just read through this thread with interest as someone who used to be fit, is now unfit, and am starting to get back to exercise.

I would love to know what is best to burn fat: is it longer, slower-paced cardio, or high intensity interval training? In the past week I have been told each of these is the answer, but surely it can only be one or the other?!

Also, is there a basic list of exercises to start doing at home to improve strength, like squats, press-ups, etc? Stuff you can do without any equipment.

I just don't know!!!! I guess the proof will be to see how much my body fat percentage has diminished when I have my next measurements taken although it dropped quite a lot initially so thinking it will slow down now anyway.

I enjoy them both so tend to mix and match and I also do pole fitness which is great for strength as well. I get a slightly better calorie burn from trx but not sure about the after burn.

Thanks! smile

I don't think anyone will be able to give you a definitive answer to that one Betty because it depends on what you are doing! In general, I would say that heavy weight training may not feel as intense as the TRX but if you are overloading the muscle then it will, as a result, build it stronger. If you are working at high intensity on the TRX then this is going to burn more fat, however it may not build muscle as well as the weights...and longer term it is the muscle that burns more calories!

So - in my opinion- I'd be interested to hear Suzanne's and Leon's too smile both are great and you can get just as good results doing body weight exercises with TRX as with free weights, if you enjoy both, do both, if you feel like you get more from TRX, do more of that grin!

How do you feel about doing the trx in the gym then?? Would you not bother and use the machine/free weights. I have changed my gym programme a few weeks ago and use the trx straps 3 times a week (10 exercises, 3 sets) a gym programme once a week using free/machine weights and then a bootcamp session once a week. I find the trx programme far more intense and knackering than my free weight regime but am interested to see what programme is better for defining muscles, getting bod fat down.

leonferao Tue 24-Sep-13 09:32:54

Agree with Lazysuzanne on home training.

There is also this little gem that I found useful many moons ago.

www.amazon.co.uk/Naked-Warrior-Pavel-Tsatsouline/dp/0938045555

Lazysuzanne haha yes, you guys definitely are a rare breed.

Join the discussion

Join the discussion

Registering is free, easy, and means you can join in the discussion, get discounts, win prizes and lots more.

Register now