3 common training related myths debunked

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Our aim at M10 is to always provide a level of education to our clients throughout the coaching process, so that they have all the tools necessary to achieve a transformation both physically and mentally. This occasionally requires us to debunk some myths that get passed on from person to person, causing individuals to be misled and feel confused.

Here are 3 common training related myths that our clients are usually surprised to learn about. 

  • MYTH 1: Training is your main tool for burning calories 

 
When starting out on any weight loss programme, exercise is often considered a necessary part of the process, often because it’s seen as your biggest calorie burner.
 
When looking at energy balance, it’s important to understand that our largest calorie burning tool is the energy our bodies use at rest. This is known as Basal Metabolic Rate and is defined as ‘the energy required to sustain vital functions in a waking state’. Or in other words, the calories you burn simply from lying in bed all day with no movement!
 
This typically equates to about 70% of your total daily output! Your second largest output is actually everything we do OUTSIDE of exercise, also known as Non-Exercise Activity Thermogenesis (NEAT). 
 
This is important for those with a sedentary lifestyle, and why step tracking has become a necessary habit for those on a weight loss programme. NEAT can account for up to 15% of your total energy expenditure when managed effectively.
 
Although exercise is approximately 5% of your overall daily output, we still recommend regular physical training sessions as the benefits are far greater than burning a few calories. 
 
Exercise is associated with lower risk of age-related conditions such as sarcopenia, lower risk of health-related disease, increased strength, lower risk of common injuries and far more.  
 
Exercise shouldn’t just have a place in your life when you’re on a weight loss programme, it should be a part of everyone’s life in order to build and maintain a strong and healthy body.
 

  • MYTH 2: You must squat ‘to full depth’

 
It’s common knowledge that we can maximise the benefits of an exercise by performing it through a ‘full’ range of motion, so what’s the criteria for full range? Many people use external movements to cue this, such as squatting to parallel, or bench pressing with the bar touching chest - standards that have stemmed from the requirements of sports such as powerlifting. 
 
The important thing to note is that the clients that come to us, and likely those of you who are reading this, aren’t usually powerlifters, you want to lose fat and/or gain muscle.

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At M10 we aim to fit exercises to our clients, rather than fit our clients to an exercise. This means that as well as providing them with the basics for performing the exercise, we get them to consider their own specific biomechanics, limb lengths and capabilities too.
 
In terms of the squat, this means that it’s not as simple as going deeper, and for some individuals it may do more harm than good to force a range they can’t control. Likewise, with the bench press, touching the chest with the bar is completely dependent on the person’s shoulder mechanics and health, forearm length and their ability to contract the pecs.
 
Consider your own mechanics the next time you’re training, and ask yourself - do you feel in control?
 

  • MYTH 3: Tight muscles just need stretched

 
Muscular tightness is clearly evident in someone who lacks flexibility and mobility,  but why do they get tight in the first place?  
 
Tightness is a protective mechanism of your nervous system because your body doesn't feel strong or stable in certain positions, mainly when a muscle is being put into a lengthened range (stretched). 
 
The sensation of tightness is a signal from the brain to stop you going further, through fear of causing injury. By stretching, we can override this signal and gain a brief increase in perceived muscle length and release but, if we fail to then strengthen this new range, tightness will quickly reappear to create stability and the cycle of "that's tight I’ll stretch it" starts again.
 
If this sounds like you, after stretching, we would recommend programmed strengthening work to promote a longer-lasting change to the nervous system.
 
This would mostly revolve around strengthening the ‘tight’ muscle in a lengthened range, and equally training the opposing muscle that provides stability. For example, by strengthening the hip flexors as well as the hamstrings, the nervous system may detect more stability in a hip hinge movement (toe touch), and ultimately release some hamstring tension.
 
By integrating strengthening WITH stretching, you can be on your way to finding structural balance and reducing a lot of the uncomfortable tension felt in your tight areas.
 

If you’re unsure how to approach training based on your own personal goals, whether that’s to squat better, lose weight or reduce tightness, why not contact us today and get assessed by one of the M10 team?

 
 

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