How to get a 6-pack myth
I have a memory as a teenager diligently undertaking 100 crunches every single day. I was convinced that by doing this I was going to flatten my stomach (ha, girl that stomach was already flat) and I was going to have the hottest six-pack in town.
It never happened. Maybe this was because I lasted about a month, however now with the benefit of many years of experience on my side, I know that it was never going to happen. Why? Because that’s not how the body works. It is a myth.
Sadly, there are many myths floating around the fitness industry – some have been discredited through research whilst others have evolved and thrived like a wild game of Chinese whispers.
So, let’s get real, and explore 5 common exercise ideas and explain why they are actually myths
5 myths debunked
- Crunches are the way to flat abs:
There are two myths here. Firstly, by doing crunches you are only working your Rectus Abdominus muscles which make up just one part of your core muscle group. Secondly, you can’t spot reduce. Fat cells do not gather in isolated areas; they are across the entire body. This means that regardless of how many crunches you do, your body isn’t going to magically decide that the fat stores in that area will be the ones to go first.
- It is best to work out every single day
Rest time is important. A rest day allows your muscles time to recover and if you over train you are at risk of injury or burnout. Over training can also stop your muscles from rebounding and recovering quickly, which can have a reverse effect on your training goals. Rest days are good for those people that want to keep moving every day. Light exercise such as walking or a gentle swim are great activities to allow your muscles plenty of recuperation time. Just don’t go walking marathons!
- Lifting weights will make me too bulky
Women have less muscle tissues and produce lower levels of testosterone than men, which means that physiologically it is really hard to bulk up – regardless of your weight or size. Lifting weights (also known as strength training) is actually a fantastic form of exercise for weight loss. You don’t need to slug it out on the treadmill for hours and hours to get the ultimate calorie burn. Strength training increases your lean muscle mass (no this does not bulk you up) which helps your body burn calories at rest.
- It wasn’t a good workout because I’m not sore
I’ve had clients in the past express their disappointment because they haven’t woken up sore the next day. Being sore (the technical term is DOMS – Delayed Onset Muscle Soreness) is not an indication of how well the workout went. In fact, I try to avoid my clients experiencing DOMS. Generally, DOMS occurs because you put a lot of stress on the tissues and muscles in that area. This creates a lactic acid build up which results in the soreness.The level of soreness you experience can also be impacted by your post-exercise recovery. Hydration, sleep and proper refueling all play important factors in your DOMS recovery.
- You need to workout for no less than 60 minutes a day
If you have ever been to a class at the gym, they tend to all be structured in 45 to 60 minute time slots. That must be the ultimate workout time right? Wrong! While there are studies that say a 60 minute workout a day is optimal, if you are time poor – any workout in your day is optimal! It might be 6 x 10 minute workouts or it might be 1 x 10 minute workout. Of course, workout style, intensity etc is entirely dependent on your goals, but for most mums, consistent movement is the key to improving health.