Top fitness myths de-bunked:
In a consumer-driven world, we are constant targets to false marketing and bad information. As a personal trainer and health enthusiast, I see how this affects the fitness world in particular. The role of exercise in overall health is critical, but between magazines, TV, social media, product labels, and word of mouth, we are continually flooded with information and unfortunately – the wrong word gets out. I decided that instead of standing on a cyber-soapbox to complain about all of the false claims circulating, I would touch on some of the major fitness myths – in hopes that by de-bunking them for you here, the right information will start to catch fire.
We’ve already hit #1: Longer workouts are better workouts
Let’s move on to #2…
Workouts are best done at the gym.
Maybe you have a preference to workout at a gym – you like the atmosphere, the people, the class, etc. – that’s awesome, me too! But let’s be clear…workouts, very good ones, can be done outside of a gym. There are going to be times when even if you want to get to a gym, you can’t. You’re traveling, have a screaming baby, have a small window of time to work with, or maybe you’re just in a season where a gym membership fee isn’t something you can swing.
Home Workout Ideas
Some tips to keep in mind when approaching an at-home work out: You don’t need equipment – body weight exercises can be just as effective and you can get creative with what you have around you, for example:
On a hard, smooth surface, place your feet on two Frisbees or a towel and go into high plank position. Then, bring your knees up to your chest in mountain- climber fashion or both at once. Another option is to flip around and do hamstring curls with your feet on the towel. Suitcase (or other misc. weighted object).
Substitute your suitcase or another weighted object in place of a dumbbell or barbell.
Odd and/or unevenly weighted objects are actually great to incorporate, as it creates a balance and stability element that will simultaneously strengthen your core.
Use for mobility or in place of a barbell for body-weight barbell movements
Use in place of a medicine ball or dumbbell for exercises such as Russian twists, thrusters, wall balls, or goblet squats. Could also use to incorporate a stability factor into exercises like push-ups, hip thrusters, or planks.
These elevated surfaces can be used for step-ups, jumps, or any exercise with your feet or hands at an incline (push-ups, planks, dips, etc.)
Yes, you read that right. Mommas and Poppas, we can’t always get someone to watch our kiddos. No better way to teach them the importance of dedication to exercise than incorporating them, too! Use them as a weight (safely, please) or strap them on you for a weighted walk.
Portable Workout Equipment
Although not needed, if you’re consistently working out remotely, there are a few products that are definitely worth the money:
Kettle bell /Dumbbell Set
- Choose moderate weight. Nothing below 10 pounds (each) – you want something challenging. You can always drop down to using a single dumbbell if you find it to be too heavy.
- Use this guideline: You should be able to complete 5 consecutive reps of the following exercises with these weights in your hand, doing more than 10 should be tough: Squats, Push-Press, Lunges
- Completely worth the investment when you see the versatility and durability of this product. The concept is brilliant and perfect for exploring the outdoors, traveling, or even if you just want a backpack that can “do it all”. I’ve used this many times when traveling – each water bladder can add up to 15 pounds of water when filled. With a capacity of 4 bladders and numerous durable straps, you can substitute this for nearly any movement previously involving weights.
TRX straps (or make your own)
- As long as you have a doorway or structure to attach these to (I’ve even used playground equipment), there are endless exercises and movements you can explore with these. Best news is your positioning determines the difficulty, so without lugging any weight around at all, this still provides your body with a difficult workout using only the weight of your body and gravity.
- Great for mobility, stretching, and resistance work. These come in different flexibility options, and can easily be thrown into a travel bag or car – definitely worth the small investment.
- When you’re stuck in one spot (or even if you’re not) – jumping rope is an excellent way to get your heart rate going. You can get creative, too, with different ways to jump rope – working your way up to different difficulty movements. It’s an easy item to pack and worth the small cost.
Keep your eye out for garage sales or second-hand stores…many people buy weights or fitness equipment with little motivation or instruction and end up giving them away, still in great shape!