Did you ever start a new job? That’s probably an easy answer as everyone in the world has at one point or another. You likely go through an orientation where you have to learn a series of rules. Since it’s your job, it’s in your best interest to follow those rules or else you may not be working there for too long.
Now shift your focus to the gym floor. You see men and women scattered about, often doing things they shouldn’t be doing with things they shouldn’t be touching. Then, when asked in locker room conversation how they work out, they will give you some line of fluff that makes them look smart.
But in reality, you can’t build a solid foundation with a big pile of fluff. That house will collapse in seconds. The bottom line is, don’t believe everything you hear and dare to break certain fitness rules you were farmed to believe.
1. Don’t work out every day.
Whoever made this rule up must be a mummy. A mummy is wrapped up in cloth and just sits still for hundreds of years. That’s not how an average human being operates. They get up and move around, and walk to places and perform physical labor.
That’s one of the perks about being human. So if you already move every day to get from one location to another, you are sort of doing exercise. Why would you not want to schedule this into your day as official exercise then?
It doesn’t need to be a hardcore workout. All you need to do is a mere 30 minutes of walking or yoga or hiking or going for a bike ride.
The key is to not pulverize the same muscle groups on consecutive days. Otherwise, your body has an amazing ability to adapt to stimuli. Not to mention, by staying at least marginally active on your “off days.” you will keep nutrient-rich blood flow going through your body, which can expedite your recoveries.
2. Don’t do sit-ups.
What kind of miscreant would make a rule like this?! Why not do sit-ups? Oh, because people often interlace their fingers behind their heads and pull forward, torquing their necks into oblivion. And these are the same people who often lift their butt off the floor in between each rep to gain momentum.
OK… That’s called bad form! Don’t hate the exercise. Hate the performer of that exercise.
You should move your body through all the patterns it is designed to move through. Trunk flexion, which occurs when you do sit-ups, is one of them. This will strengthen your abs in this range of motion and improve your overall functional ability.
How you do sit-ups is what will make them a good or bad exercise. And that can be said with bench presses, kettlebell swings, hip thrusts, back rows and every other exercise you perform.
3. No pain, no gain.
This is just plain ridiculous. You don’t need to be so sore that you can’t sit down on the toilet for three days after a workout to make progress in the gym or get muscular. Yes, you need to tax your muscles so they grow, but the trick is to find the sweet spot.
You should always aim for a weight that you can lift somewhere in the 8 to 12 rep range. That’s where you will build the most muscle. And as far as sets go, somewhere around 5 or 6 is a good target.
That’s it really. The bottom line is, work your muscles to the point of discomfort, but don’t go overboard.
4. Skip cardio.
There are more and more halfwits out there that have websites, blog posts and videos that they shove down your throat on a daily basis. They always try to tell you “Don’t do cardio because it makes you fat!” What a bunch of nonsense.
Obviously they say this because they have a hidden agenda. They’re likely trying to sell some kind of pill, potion or workout that they devised to push their bottom line.
Cardio is important and it does not make you fat for the millionth time! It will burn calories, it will make you slimmer and it will also improve your cardiovascular health – thus reducing your risk for heart disease. Keep it in your program.
5. Eat before you work out.
This is another bold-faced lie. Hey, there’s nothing wrong with eating before you work out, but it is by no means mandatory! If you go into a workout fasted, your muscles won’t waste away and you won’t bonk either.
In fact, there are more benefits to working out fasted as there are to working out with food in your gut.
First of all, you will feel lighter and your breathing won’t be as labored. Secondly, you will never have to worry about vomiting or bloating. Lastly, you will actually get a high release of growth hormone and testosterone. Those two hormones are what causes muscle gain in the first place.
In the beginning, you might struggle to get used to this. But after a while, your body will adapt and all will be good.
You already know not to judge a book by its cover. So now you need to put that theory into practice with fitness. Loosely base your workouts around what you know and see as fact. But, do it with an open mind and never attach to one certain set of principles.