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Yash Birla Refutes Misconceptions/Myths About Working Out

FITNESS MYTHS DEBUNKED by Fitness enthusiast Yash Birla

There’s a quick fix out there somewhere: When you find it, please let me know. This is just pure wishful thinking. But before you decide to hit the gym and pump iron with full gusto, you need to be aware of some truths and disregard common myths doing the rounds.

Weight training makes you big; aerobic exercise cuts you up
Weight training enables one to stress existing muscles. This forces the muscle fibres to adapt by getting bigger and stronger in time. Aerobic exercise is generally meant to improve cardiovascular efficiency and improves the body’s ability to uptake oxygen but does not help in building muscles in the way strength training does and hence does not raise basal metabolic rate or get rid or the ‘after burn effect’. In the long run, weight training is more efficient than aerobics for burning up calories.

High repetitions make your muscles harder and more cut-up
If you can perform more than 15 repetitions in general, it simply means the load is not sufficient to force the muscles to adapt. Higher repetitions will only help in giving a pump but for strength gains ideally 3-7 reps are best and for muscle gains 8-12 reps are ideal. The only way that high repetitions would make a muscle more cut-up is if, by doing a higher number of reps, your body as a whole was in negative energy balance, and you were burning more calories than you were ingesting. The truth is, heavy weights, lifted for 5-12 reps per set, can build rock-hard muscles. You just have to get the fat off them to see how hard they are.

Training with weights causes your muscles to get tight and hinders flexibility and consequently athletic performance
Weight training when done properly will in fact increase flexibility. People who have consistently followed a weight training programme have not only built a strong physique but also enhanced their flexibility and performance like Martina Navratilova (tennis), Evander Holyfield (boxing), Madonna, Melvin Anthony (bodybuilding) to name a few.

If you stop working out, your muscle will turn into fat
Muscle is made up of individual cells — living, breathing cells that undergo all kinds of complex metabolic processes. Fat cells are simply storage sites of lipids. If you stop working out and stop applying resistance to your muscles on a consistent basis, they will simply adapt to the new condition. In other words, they’ll shrink.

Women will become huge if they weight train
Firstly, women do not produce high amounts of testosterone that is necessary to develop that degree of muscle mass, and secondly, most women do not possess the amount of strength to lift enough weights and furthermore eat enough to assimilate that much muscle mass.

Taking steroids will make you huge
Not true. Strength training and correct nutrition will grow muscle. Taking steroids without training will not make you muscular. Most steroids allow faster muscle growth through greater recovery, but this is possible only if the muscle is stimulated in the first place and given the right nutrients in the right proportions. Without food to build the muscle or training to stimulate it, nothing will happen. Most of the weight gain seen with the use of some steroids is due to water retention and is not actual muscle.

One needs exercises to work on lower abs to reduce a pot belly
First, there is no such thing as lower abs. The sixpack you’re going for is actually one long muscle, called the rectus abdominis, that extends from below your chest to your pelvis. To work your abs, you should do exercises to target all four muscles — the rectus abdominis, internal and external obliques and the transverse abdominis. Secondly, doing crunches will not help you get a sixpack if you have a layer of fat over your abdominal area. In order to the see the muscles; you must reduce your body fat.

Stretching before exercise reduces injury
Before exercising vigorously, your muscles and joints should be warm and limber. However, light exercise does this more efficiently than deep stretching and is less likely to result in injury. Stretching before exercise may actually increase the risk of injury. In fact, it is better to stretch during and after completing your workout.
- Yash Birla
Source: TOI

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