Debunking Self-Imposed Myths on Weight Training; It’s Good For The Body

In this first installment on weight training with the personal trainer, I will debunk many of the myths I personally harbored about weight training.  If you’re a woman like me and see these weight-lifters, male and female, on TV and you look at the women body builders, the immediate turn-off begins with “no way would I work out with weights ’cause I ain’t looking like that.”  You talk yourself out of it before really examining the entire process.   To add insult to injury, working with a physical therapist can turn your attitude more sour with weight training as they tend to push your progress in the 6 – 12 week timeframe health care insurance will cover.

Myth # 1 — To build up you have to lift more.

This is certainly not true.  The key is form, appropriate weight amount for your level and repetition sets with controlled movements.  Too much weight will strain and cause loss of form and could produce pain, signalling a set back.  Too little and there is no burn to the muscle, meaning you are not getting a good benefit.  The repetition, say 2 sets of 15 reps, are much better using good form and control than a swift 30.  Always exhale on the effort.  Some may say, “Gee, Suzanne, we knew that.”  And that is great, but Suzanne didn’t know that.  So, it goes that a new lesson is learned meaning it will be something that can be continued after working with the trainer for a specified time.

Myth # 2 —  You have to work it every day.

Absolutely not true.  Again, those with experience will say, “Gee, Suzanne, you don’t know anything about this.”  And, you would be right  — I don’t, which is why I chose to use a personal trainer.  When working muscles, it takes 48 -72 hours for the muscle to recoup.  Therefore, you cannot work the same muscles every single day.  They need rest to recoup before working them again.  I think the only exception there is stomach muscles, but again, I might be having another myth to disspell.  So, working three times a week with the trainer gets a good balance of muscle groups each day.  Added to the additional workouts of Tai Chi for balance, Yoga for stretching and control, swimming for fun, and cycle/walking for cardio and fat burn, the working of the muscle groups helps burn fat while building muscle.  More muscle burns more fat.  Yes, that I did know.

Myth # 3 — Protein, protein, protein and little fats.

Everything I thought I knew about food quantities and amounts when dealing with proteins, carbs and fats goes out the window.  I need more fat in the diet that I realized, the appropriate amount of protein and carbs that are good sources of fiber.  So, it’s vegetables, vegetables, vegetables, and fruits.  As they say, keep the plumbing working.  Nuts are good as long as it is the right nuts in the appropriate amount.  This summer should see that vegetable intake increase.  Nothing is better than good fresh vegetables out of the garden.  Watch the sugar and sodium content.  Pay close attention to calories, especially in breads since lower calorie forms of bread are better than white loaf bread.  You can eat the same serving but get less calories.

Myth # 4 — Juice is good.

Apple juice might be but the others, not so much.  It’s better to eat three oranges than drink one glass of orange juice.  It’s the extras put into the juice, even the so-called, non-concentrate, fresh squeezed cartoned juice. It’s better to eat the vegetables that to do a V8.  However, if you had a juicer and juiced your own, it would be much better.  That would be an option for me if I had a bigger kitchen.

Myth # 5 — Eat three squares a day.

That is a big no-no.  Between those 3 squares, the body can go into starvation cycle, meaning it will store the food as fat.  Eating smaller amounts of the food you eat over  six to eight times per day is the best.  The body doesn’t enter starvation mode.  By the time a bit of hunger sets in, it’s time to eat again.  Basically, you eat about every 3 hours in a normal day.  While some cannot do that, those who can receive a good benefit from it.  Now, there are going to be days that one cannot do that but like everything else — adjust.  If you have had children, you remember giving the baby a bottle every so many hours, usually 3 -4 hour feedings.  As they grew up, you would feed them breakfast, lunch and supper with snacks in-between and a little something before bed time.  We should all be eating that way, smaller portions though.  So, half your breakfast, lunch and supper, and consume over the day.   Again, be mindful of the appropriate amounts of meat, veggies, carbs and fats.

Myth # 6 — Being a nurse means you know about nutrition.

That’s a big wrong!  You get the basics focused on health issues.  Low sodium diets, low fat diets, diets based on issues seen during hospitalization mostly.  You become attuned to therapeutic diets geared toward the hospitalized client.  In order to have a good nutrition plan for life, one has to look at what is needed for sustaining good health instead of helping with chronic health problems.  Over the years, nutrition requirements change based on age, what the latest scientific research shows, and so on and so forth.  It’s a constant battle when dealing with health conditions.  But, getting a good understanding of what your body needs based on where it is and based on your economic situation helps when making food choices.  Forget the measuring cups and all.  You can basically measure using your fist and hand.  Don’t even get started on any “point system” or “glycemic index”  promotion as no way would I ever keep that up.  But, using my hand and fist as measuring tools based on the amounts I require at this point is something that can be utilized effectively and be maintained easily.  Say good bye to “fat free.”  Go light instead.  Watch the high fructose corn syrup, sodium and sugar.

Always, plenty of good old water and remember to breathe!

It was a lot to take in for one training session as your are doing the training and reps for your biceps and legs/glutes.  It was a fast 30 minutes that left me feeling good, confident, and motivated.  There’s always going to be “flies in your ointment” — you know the naysayers, Debbie Downers, and Depressive Dons.  Listen to what your body and mind is telling you.  For that is the true critic in it all.  And, finding a buddy with similar goals helps, which is why I support my friend in her efforts by swimming in the evenings.  She, in turn, is looking to do more by coming to classes like Tai Chi and Yoga with me.  Believe it or not, she actually did a water exercise class and loved it!  Oh, that means I will need to go with her to provide support and encouragement — as long as I can get my “spin” on.



About Suzanne Hamner

Former professional Registered Nurse turned writer; equal opportunity criticizer; politically incorrect conservative;
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