Tuesday, July 7, 2009

3 Myths Debunked

Having been involved in the health care & physical fitness industry for the past three years, I've come across a wide variety of clients who have been more or less informed of the technological and scientific advances that have recently been made. Unfortunately for some, these advances disprove the same common myths that have been keeping them trapped in a commercialized world of gym routines, late night infomercials, and a mindset that will eventually lead to the downfall of their fitness goals. As members of the fitness community, it is our responsibility to help educate the fitness enthusiast to avoid these mistakes when possible.

Myth 1: Spot Reduction Exercising
One of the main ways people believe they can tone-up is to exercise the muscle directly beneath the part of the body they want to improve. They'll perform hundreds of tricep extensions for their flab arms before ever thinking about lifting heavier weights performing squats, or other total body movements. This concept, called Spot Reduction Exercise, does not work! As much as our conscious mind wants to believe in SRE, our genetic makeup and gender play the biggest role in deciding where and when to reduce fat after exercise. Men will typically lose weight in their mid-section last, while women will lose the weight in their hips and buttocks last. If you want to tone-up any part of your body, the best way to see muscle definition is to stick to a resistance training program, which will raise your metabolism throughout the day. In addition, think about weight loss in terms of calories in vs. calories out- if you're eating more calories per day than you're burning, you will gain weight.

Myth 2: Women + Weights = Bodybuilder
Women, do not be afraid to use weighted resistance programs! Due to an excessive amount of magazine publications displaying women of mass muscle, the public has been lead to believe that women who weight train will end up looking like a USC linebacker. What isn't mentioned in those magazines is the use of anabolic steroids to attain that same appearance! The prime reason why men and women can build muscle at different amounts is because of Testosterone. Men on average produce 10 times more testosterone than women, which is the most important hormone in increasing muscle mass. Women may naturally get some increases in muscle size, in addition to the other positive effects of exercise and weight-loss, but nothing near the same proportions of men doing the same type of work.

Myth 3: I run, therefore I'm perfectly fit.
I understand that most people have a favorite activity or exercise, and may often excel in the activity enough to believe that they're in the best shape of their lives. Let me additionally preface this myth revelation by saying that I am in full support of 'doing what works', meaning that if running 5 miles a day allows you to reach your fitness goals, then go for it.

BUT, there are many reasons why we see great athletes in physical therapy clinics, and sometimes that reason is because they only do what they do best- runners run, cyclists cycle, swimmers swim, etc. With each sport comes muscular imbalances leaving them susceptible to possible injuries, or with goals that are unattainable through their choice in sport. As a trainer, I have had plenty of athletes who appear to be in great shape, but after checking their hip or core strength, I came to realize their weaknesses in these areas are more prominent than to accept them as a true force in their sport. An example of this is for any person who sticks to one type of motion as their only form of exercise, i.e. running- typical imbalances & weaknesses may occur within the core musculature, hip abductors, adductors, arms, back, etc., because the sport primarily relies on use of the muscles that move your body forward (quads, hamstrings, gluteal muscles, etc.). To offset these imbalances, it would be best for the runner to incorporate some some form of resistance training that focuses on the mentioned weaker areas to help avoid injury. In addition, strengthening the non-dominant parts of your body will help improve your endurance and provide you with another opportunity to enrich your training.

Thursday, July 2, 2009

So Long Everybody!

This will be my last post on the Hayashida blog and I just want to say how much fun I have had working here over the last two years. The entire staff at this clinic is composed of truly genuine, caring and just plain cool people that I am happy to say I got to work with! I hope everyone the best and will definitely keep in touch...maybe Katie will even allow me to write a guest post once in a while!

Peace out,

Tom, George, Ducky, The All American Blonde Boy or however else you may know me!