When you spend hours at the gym every week, you notice things. Sometimes you notice the people who are getting results, turning heads, and enjoying their progress. Other times, however, you notice the people who, while being at the gym every single day, don't look any different from the way they did on day one. It's these people I usually want to talk to, just to ask questions like, "What are your goals? What are you training for? What different exercises do you do in training for that event?" I don't know if they could honestly answer any of these questions. It bothers me. So, without further delay, here's my personal list of favorite 'gym' misconceptions.
6. I saw this other guy doing it, so it's a good exercise for me. This is a timeless classic among gym members. That one guy who was doing some sort of bent over barbell row looked good doing it and so now I'm going to too. The problem lies in not understanding if the guy you observed was doing it right, with good form. Additionally, depending on your goals vs. his goals, you may not want to do that exercise...it may waste of time.
5. Age is a state of mind, therefore it doesn't matter how old you are, just do the following exercises. Wrong. Just wrong. Age is huge. Can consistent daily workouts over the course of a lifetime slow regression of movements? Yes. Does that mean that a 22 year old and a 75 year old are one and the same in the weight room even if the 75 year old has worked out every day of his life? No. I hate watching trainers put old men and women through routines that they put a 21 year old basketball player through earlier that day. Did you forget to take notes during Motor Development?
4. The longer I stay in the gym, the better my results. I suppose there could be a kernel of truth in that statement but, for the most part, its false. A workout by yourself on average will last around 30-45 minutes, depending on your training. Spending an hour, or an hour and a half even in the gym doesn't necessarily guarantee you any boosted results. Odds are you are spending that time observing the plasma screen TV's provided by your gym, or looking through the latest Men's Health magazine, or even just talking to a guy you know (Lord forbid you find yourself talking to a girl in the gym, fellas....cliche much?) Keeping it short but to the point may actually be more beneficial than an extra 30 minutes in the gym, with only 10 of those minutes actually spent doing anything useful.
3. I'm a girl, and if I lift weights I'll bulk up. Um, no. Girls often time believe that they will gain weight (albeit muscle weight) if they so much as pick up a weight. This is simply not true. Some guys have a hard time putting on weight with hours of weight lifting and supplements to spare. You, ladies, have very little - if anything - to worry about because you lack testosterone, and without that, you aren't likely to actually build bulky muscles. That's not to say you won't build lean muscle, but you have no need to fear of suddenly gaining 10lbs of muscle from using anything other than the treadmill.
2. Lower intensity burns more fat, so if I want to lose weight I should work out at low intensity. I don't think this one will ever go away. The problem lies in the small amount of truth hidden in this misconception. Lower intensity workout for an hour will hypothetically burn 500 calories, lets say 400 of which come from fat. However, that same time at the gym, working at a higher intensity will, hypothetically again, burn 850 calories, 250 of which came from fat. So yes, lower intensity burns more fat (400>250) but higher intensity burned more calories (850>500) which has a much greater influence on weight loss.
1. I workout every day for an hour, so I need sports drinks like Gatorade to help fuel me. I think the companies that make these products should be forced to put labels on their bottles that specifically state the needs for such drinks. These drinks (especially the new Gatorade G series) are not for everyone. Athletes, people who spend hours in the gym every day and play sports that require endurance, as well as quick bursts, will need to replenish their fuel stores (primarily carbs) but those of us who go the gym from 5-6 every day to jump on a treadmill or lift weights in front of a mirror need not to think ourselves - or our results - dependent on these drinks. They may actually do more to hinder your goals than to achieve them.