It takes a mature person to admit he is wrong. It takes that same kind of maturity to admit you don’t know everything.
When it comes to fitness and nutrition, we’re so inundated with messaging, it seems we’re all experts. If advertisers and media outlets spent as much time talking about history, we might all think ourselves history buffs too.
Just because you hear advice repeated doesn’t mean the advice is pure. What’s makes learning challenging is our confirmation biases.
Compelling arguments, contrary to our beliefs, tend to bounce off our brains. This is one of those times.
We’re gonna try to sink in with a few simple beliefs which may keep you from being all you can be in the gym, like your addiction to cardio or how you avoid weight for various reasons.
It’s time to get intelligenter.
Cardio Is King
If the first place you go to in the gym is the cardio area, that’s fine. If it’s also the last place you go, with nothing in between, no. Just, no.
Unless you are going to enter the cardio machine contest of the century, cardio is not going to train your body for anything in the real world. Not even a marathon.
Marathons take place on the rock-hard streets. The road doesn’t help pull your stride back like the treadmill does. Treadmill running trains you for treadmill running.
Training in a cardio environment exclusively will make your heart and lungs strong. That’s it. It’s the equivalent of putting your money in a savings account and calling yourself an investor.
Weightlifting Makes People Bulky
Actually, this is true under one condition. You have to start eating a lot more food. Truth be told, you wouldn’t have to weightlifting to get bulky in that case. You could just start eating more food than normal if you wanted to bulk up.
What sometimes happens is, people start seeing more muscles when they begin lifting. This isn’t necessarily added bulk. In fact, it’s more often the loss of body fat that makes muscles show more.
Those muscles were always there, under the fat. Now you can see them.
By the way, muscles are beautiful. They’re part of how our bodies work, but to make them grow takes a whole level of effort that doesn’t happen by accident.
Weightlifting Makes People Stiff
Also true, if your range of motion and technique are poor. Most weightlifters enjoy a greater range of motion than people who don’t lift. Here’s why.
Weightlifting runs your joints through a range of motion against a land of weight. It’s more weight that you would more in normal circumstances. These additional loads teach your nervous system how to get into those extended ranges of motion under duress.
Doing so when you’re just moving about gets easier.
There are some exceptions. Those big old powerlifters who move massive amounts of weight? Those guys will often have restricted movement in some areas, but even with those guys, they are more flexible than you would imagine.
Bodybuilders sometimes, because they have goals to make muscles puffy, don’t they worry so much about the range of motion.
Don’t turn into a huge powerlifter or bodybuilder and you’re good.
I Can Eat What I Want
You can. Just don’t tell yourself you earned it by working out.
If you went in and killed it in the gym for an hour, you may have burned 3-400 calories. At most, you may have come close to 1000 calories burned, but would have been some super intense exercise.
Forget what the readout on the cardio machine tells you. (Why did you spend the whole workout there anyway?) The people who make those machines want you to like using their equipment. They factor calories burned like you factor your deductibles at tax time.
People tend to land in the lower hundreds or less per workout. Most of the protein bars in the pro shop outclass your burned calories.
Eat for your goals. Don’t lie to yourself about what you burned.
I Can Figure It Out
There’s no way. Even if you can figure out how to move the pin on the weight stack of a machine, then figure out how to articulate the joint of said machine, you’re missing critical details.
Using gym equipment the right way is about more than moving it through the motions. There is a right way to sit or stand. There is a correct order in which you should fire your muscles. There are ways you want to create tension that you cannot just figure out by watching others.
In fact, if watching others in the gym is your plan, you are following the blind. You can either hire someone to train you or read a good book on proper technique.
The book, however, won’t be able to coach you through your faults. Everybody has faults. Better than you spend a little cash to get some professional help.
I’ve been at this fitness thing a long time. It never surprises me when people reveal these perceptions are part of their self-talk. There’s nothing abnormal about these perceptions. You’re not alone if these are things you believe.
If you plan to make changes, it’s time to circle the wagons in your head and rethink your plans. At least get some help from someone certified to teach.
Essential reading: To Find The Right Trainer…