By Men's Fitness Editors
For all of our fans who shoot us questions on the Men's Fitness Facebook and Twitter Pages, this one is for you. Each week, we will tap into our pool of editors and experts to help with any questions or challenges you are having with your fitness regimen. This week, Group Training Director for Muscle and Fitness and Men's Fitness magazines lays out the truth behind many of myths circulating the fitness communities.
Be sure to read up on all of Seanís articles here on MensFitness.com or in Menís Fitness and Muscle & Fitness magazines each month. You can also catch Sean on Twitter.
1)True or False: Spot Reduction
Where you lose weight on your body is purely genetic and can't be encouraged.
ďTrue. Unfortunately, when you train and diet to lose fat, you have little to no control over where it comes off most or in what proportions. Your body has certain genetically pre-determined sites that it likes to store fat (itís often around the belly for men and the thighs or triceps for women), and if you store a lot of fat in these areas it may seem like youíre not losing any even though you know youíre getting leaner. Stay the course and eventually things should even out.Ē
2) True or False: Creatine Dependency
If you take creatine, you will have to take it for the rest of your life because your body will stop producing it.
"False. Your body may slow its natural creatine production since youíre providing it with supplementation, but this will reverse if you stop supplementing. There are no known adverse effects to discontinuing creatine use."
3) True or False: Sweat and Muscle Growth
Does sweating profusely have an effect on muscle growth?
" False. The amount you sweat is in no way a sign of how quickly or slowly your muscles are growing. More muscle mass means a faster metabolism and your body temperature will rise more quickly with activity, but ultimately sweat isnít a sign of anything other than your body being overheated."
4) True or False: Leg Extension Exercise Injuries
Leg extension machines are the most destructive, range limiting exercise equipment you can use for your legs because, as the angle at the knee gets closer to 90 degrees, the weight is only supported by ligaments and meniscus compression. These machines should only be used when recommended by your physical therapist.
"True and False. Some physical therapists recommend the leg extension machine and some say to avoid it like the plague. Itís true that the knee is most unstable when bent 90 degrees, and the position the leg extension puts you in isnít conducive to making functional muscle gains (you never sit down and extend both legs in front of you in sports or life). Still, for people coming back from leg injuries who canít do other exercises well, it may be beneficial. If your goals are strictly bodybuilding and you want to bring out as much muscle in the thighs as possible, know that leg extensions have been a staple in the routines of most of the sportís elite competitors for decades. Itís a controversial subject. "
5) True or False: 'Fat Burning Zone'
"You should stay in your "fat burn zone" to make cardio effective to lose weight. I believe that, but don't believe the calculations or the chart on the cardio machines. I have a slow metabolism and feel like I need to push it harder. I tend to use interval training."
ďFalse. There is no fat-burning zone. What this refers to is heart rates (usually around 65% to 75% of your max) where fat is burned as the primary fuel source. In other words, aerobic training. Itís perfectly fine to train in this supposed ďzone,Ē but it may not be enough to lose significant fat. Remember that, while you may be burning a higher percentage of calories from fat in this zone, the training is only moderately intense, so you arenít burning a great deal of calories overall. Your workouts will probably need to last close to an hour and be done several days a week to have an impact on your waistlineóand thatís on top of following a careful diet. A better approach would be to do some light cardio so you burn fat directly and some interval training so you can speed up your metabolism and burn more calories for days afterward. "