Dispelling exercise myths

I’m a Personal Trainer. Recently I was given the wonderful opportunity to attend Weight Watchers meetings in St Asaph, Rhyl & Pensarn to talk to the members about the benefits of exercise.
I was pleasantly surprised by what I found there. Thanks to the diligence of Weight Watchers leaders, Dawn and Shan, all of the members there were already fully aware of the importance of exercise in any weight control programme. So, instead of lecturing to them it was GREAT to be able to hold a “Q & A” session for them…. “everything you ever wanted to ask a personal trainer”. Interestingly, I found repeatedly the same questions asked.

Can I spot reduce fat?

The answer is NO! Its not possible. When you exercise you use up energy (fat) from wherever it is stored. The bits that you use up first are determined by your genetics. You can, however, spot tone a muscle or group of muscles. For example, abdominal curls tone the tummy muscles but don’t burn fat just from the tummy. You need to do whole body, pulse-raising, aerobic exercise (such as walking) to burn fat.

How far should I walk?

This depends on your start point. If you have regularly, say walked the dog for 2 miles a day for 1 year, then you will be used to that and should try to increase it, building the either the distance or the speed at which you do it. If, however, you are totally unused to any walking at all, then just a walk round the block will be plenty. The key is to push yourself JUST out of your comfort zone, wherever that is. Build over time to 30 mins 5 days per week to be up to the minimum daily requirements.

Can I do too much exercise?

Yes. The body will get used to exercise gradually. But as a new exerciser if you try to do too much too soon, you run the risk of muscle soreness and possibly an injury. People who start running programmes are very prone to this, building up too fast and not allowing the body to adapt. Be sensible, know what you do normally and build it up slowly. Every training schedule should have rest days to allow for fitness to build… it takes time. Aim to exercise 3 – 5 days per week.
At the other end of the scale is Overtraining Syndrome. This is caused through heavy training with no rest for weeks on end. Symptoms can include sleeplessness, lack of resistance to colds etc, mood swings and headaches.

Will doing weights make me muscley?

Unlikely for us ladies, (although men will build muscle more quickly due to the presence of testosterone). For women to look like a body builders we have to lift virtually our own bodyweight 6 times per week, and perhaps take artificial supplements as well. For most of us its not going to happen! The use of weights in gyms and classes tones muscles to show shape and form, without actually increasing muscle size massively. This is good for you, increasing the metabolism, helping to make your body into a fatburner. It also makes you look great, especially if you are doing aerobic exercise to burn the fat as well.
This article is courtesy of Noelle Watson, Professional Personal Trainer

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