Fitness Myths Debunked

Andrea

When it comes to the rules of fitness, weve heard them all. There are so many misconceptions about the right way to exercise that it becomes virtually impossible to know what we should actually believe. We wanted a trust-worthy pro to set the facts straight, so we enlisted the help of celebrity trainer Valerie Waters. Since Waters is responsible for both Jennifer Garner and Jessica Biels hot bodies, wed say it’s safe to trust her judgment. Read on to see what she has to say.

Myth #1: You shouldnt work out if youre sore.
I think working out when you’re sore helps release some of the soreness, but you dont want to do the same thing that made you sore. Take a spinning class one day and then a yoga class the next. Doing some movement will help flush out some of the lactic acid.

Myth #2: Never work out on an empty stomach.
Trainers debate this all the time. The truth is, it really doesnt matter that much. It really depends when youre exercising. You do need some fuel I believe a little bit of carbs and a little bit of protein is optimal so that you dont burn out during a workout. A good way to get that in is through a balanced shake. But at the end of the day, an empty vs. full stomach has minimal effect on weight loss.

Myth #3: The more time you spend at the gym, the better your results.
Its about quality over quantity! Too many people are wasting their time at the gym and not using their time efficiently. My clients are always amazed at how much we get done in 50 minutes. Id rather go for 30 minutes and power through, than do hours of lazy exercising.

Myth #4: If youre not sweating, then youre not burning calories.
Sweating doesnt equal burning calories. A lot of people just dont sweat. Its more about how hard youre breathing. If youre not breathing hard during your workout, then youre not working hard.

Myth #5: Its not necessary to stretch before a workout.
There is a theory that stretching makes your muscles too relaxed before a workout, but before a workout I like to stretch my clients. But I follow it with something called movement prep. Its dynamic stretching that engages your nervous system and gets your body ready to work.

Myth #6: Women shouldnt lift weight because it adds too much bulk.
Weight training is absolutely the fastest way to change your shape and every woman should be lifting. Some trainers would say you dont have to worry at all about extra bulk, but I believe that it definitely can add bulk. So, do strength training using moderate weights. Moderate is anything you can lift 12-15 times. There are lots of ways to make it harder besides making the weight go up. If youre prone to gaining muscle, then you could cut down on the volume of exercise youre doing (especially on the legs).

Myth #7: Diet is more important than exercise.
In term of weight loss, diet is more important, but in the long run a combo will make you more likely to keep the weight off. The diet is whats going to reduce the body fat, but the exercise is whats going to change your body shape. You dont want to be a skinny fat person! Theres a psychological component too. When my clients are exercising consistently, they tend to be better on their diet. Youll just feel better all around kind of like a highly tuned race car.

Myth #8: Its important to load up on carbs before a big workout.
This used to be a widely held belief, but its starting to tilt the other way. Now, its all about a balanced meal. Theres no need to eat a big bowl of pasta a carb and protein combo is ideal. Its more of a Zone or South Beach type of plan.

For more great fitness tips, visit Valerie’s site!

Photo: iStock

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