If you find yourself in the gym for the first time, there’s a chance that you are only doing things fed to you by your friends or the internet. And, you could also be doing fitness practices at home that don’t have any science behind them. Some are even bordering on just bro-science and absurdly followed by the general fitness community.
But what if these things can do more harm than good? We took the time to list some of these practices that you should reconsider doing in case you’re blindly doing these things.
The number one thing that people do when they try to lose weight is to take the carbs out of their diet. Some even try to do it in an extreme manner where they are obsessed with taking out carbs completely. This could easily do more harm than good.
Between the three macronutrients, (fats, carbs, and protein), carbohydrates are considered the main source of energy for different activities. According to the US Department of Agriculture Dietary Guidelines for Americans, 45% to 65% of daily calories should come from carbohydrates. It is also responsible for glycogen synthesis that is used by your muscles during workouts.
Also, some organs like the brain depend on carbohydrates. Though the brain can use ketones, it is not suggested for long-term use unless you are dealing with epilepsy and other medical condition.
12 to 15 Reps For All
Ask anyone in the gym and they’ll most likely tell you that the ideal number of reps per set is at 12-15. In reality, it depends on what you are looking to achieve with your trip to the gym. If you are looking to generate explosive power, it might be a good idea to stick to low rep (but heavy) workouts.
On the other hand, if your goal is to build muscle, you don’t need to always go for 12-15 reps per set. Once it starts to compromise your form due to fatigue, you will not get to optimize every rep.
Interestingly enough, a study discovered that doing 7 sets of 4 reps doing bench press stimulated the same amount of muscle mass as doing 3 sets of 12 reps. It tells you that if you feel that your movement is already compromised because you are getting tired, then might as well just add more sets.
Always aiming for failure
It is also common to see in the gym people who are always pushing the body to the limit. Some might even use a spotter to get them to finish one last rep when the body obviously couldn’t do one anymore. What makes it a bad thing to push yourself to the limit? If done sparingly, then this is a good thing. It has an anabolic effect that can help you build muscles. On the other hand, it can backfire if done regularly. It has shown signs of increasing cortisol that can suppress anabolic growth factors.
Static Stretching Before Workout
Whether it’s running or preparing to lift, a lot of people tend to do static stretches. This practice has been around for decades. According to popular belief, this can help reduce the chances of getting cramps in the middle of your reps.
According to experts, if the goal is to reduce the chances of injuries, then you might want to skip stretching. Instead, you want to be doing warm-ups properly. Light aerobic movements relevant to the activity are preferred by experts. You can gradually increase the range and intensity of the aerobic movement to get the most out of your warm-up.
More hours running
Running might be at the top of your list if your goal is to lose weight and to develop your cardiovascular conditioning. However, it’s a mistake to run for hours at a time if you are not going to compete in a marathon or some endurance race. If your goal is to simply lose weight and to build your cardio, running for prolonged periods isn’t the best way to do it. Sprinting short bursts can help build muscle, improve stamina, and burn fats better than running at a consistent pace.
To get the most out of your sprints, try to do short 10 second bursts and give your body 30 to 60-second breaks in between. Do this for 10-15 sets and you’ll find yourself trying to catch your breath.
Following fad diets without counting calories
A lot of people make the mistake of following fad diets without knowing the science behind the diet that they are following. The reason why you lose weight in any fad diet is because you are in a state of caloric deficit. To be on a caloric deficit, you need to use all the calories that you take and turn to your body fats for fuel.
However, there are instances when people tend to still not get anything from their fad diets. For instance, some are doing intermittent fasting but fail to cut weight consistently every week. That’s because they still tend to have a caloric surplus.
If you wish to live a healthy lifestyle, it might be a good idea to know the science behind the habits that you’re trying to build. This will help you better understand your body and get the most out of your sacrifices.
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