Abu Dhabi, UAEThursday 23 May 2019

Make a strong case: top fitness myths dispelled

Eleven fitness experts in the UAE talk about the biggest myths in the world of health and exercise.
Fitness does not have to just be in the gym.
Fitness does not have to just be in the gym.
1 Myth:To get a six-pack, do thousands of sit-ups 

The personal trainer and cover model Lee Ryan says the best exercises to develop core strength - and ultimately a six-pack - include dead lifts, squats, pull-ups and press-ups:

"People still think it's about doing 1,000 sit-ups. Eighty per cent of someone's body is about their nutrition though. If you work one hour in the gym and live the other 23 hours badly, you won't get the results."

2 Myth: lifting will make women bulky 

The personal trainer Amanda Camper argues: "Women should know it is very difficult to become bulky without additional testosterone supplementation. There are so many benefits for women who lift weights: daily activities such as picking up your kids or carrying groceries will become easier. You are even less likely to have injuries in the long run with the added strength. Lifting weights is one of the best ways to achieve fat loss."

3 Myth:Stick to one form of exercise:

Ian Houghton, a personal training educator and the owner of Scandinavian Health & Performance, explains why this is not healthy for the body: "If you're continuously stressing the same tissue then you can develop an imbalance - and this may increase risk of injury. For example, in spinning, you're in an even more slouched over position that you are when sat at a desk. If you're looking for all-around fitness and health, it's good to have complementary forms of exercise such as strength training and yoga."

4 Myth:Scales tell the whole story

Don't depend on weighing scales, explains the lifestyle coach Marti Wycherley: "From a biological perspective, women?s weight fluctuates throughout the month; there are times women will hold more water so the scales can sabotage your weight-loss journey. Scales also don't take into account a body's lean [muscle] mass. A better alternative is to look at body composition, fat percentage and measurements such as hips and waist."

5 Myth:Fitness models are not Photoshopped

Fitness magazines are no different to fashion titles when it comes to making models appear perfect, says the personal trainer Ross Gilmour, from Smart Fitness in Dubai: "Clever lighting, body angles, tanning and even clothing choice and airbrushing can make fitness models look a large cut above the average person. Many of these models do not look like this on a daily basis and many will literally diet hard for two weeks to get ready."

6 Myth:To get fit, spend hours at the gym

The Olympic lifting coach Ikaika Paakaula tell us why high intensity interval training (HIIT) can increase efficiency: "HIIT consists of maximal amount of effort in short bursts of time, with short breaks between sets. HIIT can be applied to any sort of training including body weight movements such as squats and sprints or weighted exercises such as dead-lifts. Benefits include spiking your heart rate and metabolism and increasing flexibility in your joints."


7 Myth: yoga and Pilates are not real workouts

Susanne Liiri, a yoga and Pilates instructor, says otherwise: "Both re-educate the body how to move better and thus stay injury free. Classical Pilates has a wide repertoire, from very basic beginner exercises to near acrobatic high-level exercises that require strength and flexibility in extreme ranges."

8 Myth: wear baggy clothes to the gym

Derryn Brown, a personal trainer and Lorna Jane Dubai brand ambassador, explains why this is not good for performance:

"I think if women feel good and look good when they work out, they will be more motivated and possibly even add in some extra reps, too. Wearing active wear that is comfortable but flattering to your body, not baggy clothes with holes in that make you look twice the size of yourself, can really help. No matter how big you are, you can still look great in active wear."

9 Myth: jogging gets rid of belly fat

Vahdaneh Vahid, a holistic exercise coach from P3 Fitness in Dubai Marina, says resistance training will do a better job:

"High insulin is one of the main reasons why we store fat around the middle. As little as 10 to 20 minutes of high intensity interval training a day is better and more than enough to get your heart rate up, burn more calories in less time and keeps those harmful stress hormones low."

10 Myth: fitness starts in the gym

Grant Goes, the co-founder of www.fitnesslink.ae and Dubai's Fittest Man, counters: "What you put in outside of the gym is more important than what you put in during training. Our daily life determines our level of fitness. Be active and move as often as you can in your day such as taking the stairs instead of the lift, reduce sugar and increase water and vegetables in your diet."

11 Myth: dieting means under-eating

Malin Blomdahl Lenner, a personal trainer at Smart Fitness in Dubai, says it's about eating more of the right foods: "Eating too little can actually be damaging. Body fat is more valuable than muscle and if you eat too little, your body would burn muscle. Eating protein-rich foods stimulates the release of fat-burning hormones. Aim to have veggies with every meal, and choose low glycemic-index carbohydrates such as sweet potato, quinoa and rye bread."

Updated: September 12, 2013 04:00 AM