Five fitness clichés

It's time to debunk fitness clichés and myths! In this article, we explain the truth behind five common fitness clichés we've all probably heard.

1. Weight training is all about bulking up

While many people associate weight training with huge bulging muscles, there are actually a lot of good reasons to do weight training exercises. You need strong muscles to support you through your daily activities, which means you should be giving your muscles a good workout on a regular basis.

The benefits of weight training include:
- Increased strength
- Better performances
- A strong, shapely figure
- Protection from injury

The best weight training exercises that will help you achieve a sculpted figure without bulking up are bodyweight exercises. These exercises help you build explosive strength, i.e., the speed at which your muscles contract. You'll gain power and tone as you sculpt your muscles and get fit, all without adding bulk!
Be sure to take a balanced approach to work all parts of your body equally to avoid muscle imbalances.

2. Too old for sport

Whoever said that from a certain age you can't do sport any more? To keep your mind and body healthy - no matter your age - it is recommended that everyone do at least 30 minutes of physical activity every day. This helps you maintain your baseline fitness on a daily basis - you just have to find the sport that's right for you.

Fitness encompasses a range of various disciplines, one of which will certainly meet your expectations regardless of your age or fitness level. Doing sport doesn't necessarily mean that it has to be ultra intensive. There are a lot of gentle sporting activities such as yoga, pilates or stretching, which focus on lengthening muscles and increasing flexibility.

Whatever the exercise, the most important thing is that you enjoy yourself. Know that doing a regular physical activity is the best way to stay healthy!

3. Following a routine: good or bad?

Following a workout routine might be practical, but it can quickly hold you back in terms of performance. If you constantly do the same exercises, your body will start to adapt and eventually your muscles won't be challenged. To keep things interesting and prevent plateauing, you should regularly change up your workout and constantly push yourself out of your comfort zone. The key to a good workout is challenging your body and doing exercises that aren't overly easy. To improve your fitness, you have to stress your muscles so they can keep getting stronger.

To keep your fitness programme well-rounded and effective: Change your training programme every six weeks. You can either switch the exercises you do or increase the number of reps for each. Be sure to alternate between strength training and cardio workouts.

4. Working out every day for better results?

Contrary to what you might believe, you won't get fitter faster by working out every day. Sport tires your muscles and causes micro-tears from which your body needs time to recover. This is why recovery between workouts is so important. You should rest at least 24 hours between each workout, and remember to stretch and rehydrate. If you don't give yourself time to recover, you're putting yourself at increased risk for injury and overtraining. Don't torture yourself - listen to your body.

Did you know? Intense sport actually speeds up our body's ageing process by causing premature oxidative stress to cells.

5. Abs exercises for a flat stomach

Ab exercises such as crunches, knee lifts, sit-ups and the like are known to be effective ab strengtheners. However, these exercises only work the superficial muscles around your waist. You'll have very little to show for your effort if you ignore your deep ab muscles. You also need to do core isometrics or pilates movements. This type of exercise will help you tone your waist for a fit and shapely figure.

The way you breathe matters! We tend to breathe the wrong way, which causes the skin and abdominal wall to stretch - and it only gets worse with age. To counter this, take a few minutes every day to practise deep breathing.

Breathing exercise: When you wake up in the morning and are still in bed, place your hands on your stomach. Take a deep breath in through the nose and into the stomach, then breathe out through the mouth and try to bring your belly button in as close to your spine as possible. Do this about a dozen times.
When finished, you should feel a slight tension in your deep muscles, which is proof that you were using them properly and the work was effective.
As a bonus, this is a great way to wake your body up slowly and calmly so you'll be ready to take on your day!