Every year, around September or October we lose some teenagers from our martial art programmes to the lure of the gym. The usual explanation is that they want to go to the gym with their mates and weight train, despite the fact that the majority of them have earned their current peak physical conditioning through our training, they have been exposed to some myth or fad that promises them an instant fix. Massive arms, chest or abs etc. Now as I also train in the gym, I know the truth. Instead of 50 minutes of intense physical exercise where they are pushed to their maximum, 10 or so teens bundle into the gym and tie up the bench press, lift with poor technique, take selfies of their abs in the mirrors, get injured and worst of all spend most of the time chatting. And they think they are going to be like Arnold?! Invariably they are convinced that there is some quick fix or trick which is going to make them huge, so whilst not attempting to rain on your parade here are some of these myths busted by www.bodybuilding.com with some News Flashes from yours truly. Myth #1: Light Weights & High Reps Increase Muscular Definition Performing high repetitions with light weights increases muscular endurance, but does not increase muscular definition. Following a healthy nutrition plan and performing cardiovascular exercise increases muscular definition. This is what you get in a Martial Arts Class Myth #2: Spot Reducing Fat Training a specific muscle group to spot reduce the fat surrounding it is just not possible. Fat is burned through cardiovascular exercise and proper dieting. Doing a set of crunches doesn’t burn the fat around the stomach. However, martial art training burns the fat throughout the entire body, including the stomach. Also, following a proper nutrition plan helps reduce the fat around the stomach and throughout the entire body. Here you will have easy access to the best cardio methods for fat loss, general health, endurance and how to make this seemingly boring activity fun and exciting! Myth #3: Training Abs Reduces Stomach Size Training the abdominals does not reduce stomach size. In fact, too much abdominal training could actually make the stomach bigger. The abs are muscles and grow as they are trained. Training the abs two to three times a week is more than enough. Keep in mind that the abs are also trained when performing many compound exercises such as squats and deadlifts, so you don’t want to train them too much. Myth #4: More Training Always Equals More Muscle Working out each muscle group too many times a week can lead to overtraining and a loss in muscle. If you are in an overtraining state, you must allow your body to recover for quite some time before getting back to regular training, in order for body to fully recuperate and get back to normal. Being in an overtraining state and not allowing your body to recover for prolonged periods can lead to many severe symptoms, including: It is during the recovery period that your muscles grow, so not allowing them enough time to recover prevents muscular growth and could actually result in a loss of muscle, along with many of the symptoms mentioned above. Myth #5: Cardio Should Only Be Performed When Trying To Lose Fat Cardiovascular exercise should always be integrated in a workout regimen, whether or not you’re trying to lose fat. The only difference is the amount of cardio performed. If you are trying to lose fat, then there should be an increase in cardio. If fat loss is not your goal, then you should perform cardio a few times per week. Myth #6: Starvation Diets Are The Best Way To Lose Fat Following a starvation diet usually results in a long term gain in fat. In the beginning of the diet, some fat is lost, but as soon as the person goes back to their regular diet, most of the fat is gained back. In some cases, more fat is gained than lost following a starvation diet, as a result of a slowdown of the metabolism. Also, during a starvation diet, plenty of muscle is lost and energy is greatly decreased, making it quite difficult to train. Myth #7: All Calories Are Created Equal When following a bulking diet, most trainees consume any kind of food in high quantities, whether healthy or unhealthy, just so to pile up the calories and gain weight. They don’t realize that most unhealthy foods contain empty calories and have minimal nutritional value. Also, the large quantities of unhealthy food add mostly fat weight instead of muscle, and can lead to many problems, such as heart disease. Following a clean bulk is recommended, as the majority of the foods in the diet are healthy, leading to a minimal gain in fat and a maximum gain in lean muscle. Myth #8: Protein Should Make Up The Majority Of The Diet Protein should only make up 20-30% of a person’s diet, with carbs making up 50-60%, and fat making up 20-30%. Eating too much protein is not advised as it can cause dehydration and a gain in fat. That’s right, eating too much protein can cause a gain in fat, because the body can only take up so much protein, and converts the rest into fat. Eating Too Much Protein Is Not Advised. News Flash – Cheese Strings are not a good source of protein Myth #9: All Carbs Are The Enemy Carbs are essential nutrients that provide the body with energy. Simple carbs such as corn syrup and table sugar are unhealthy. Complex carbs such as whole grain pasta and broccoli are very healthy and provide the body with plenty of energy. Myth #10: All Fats Are Bad Many trainees eliminate fat from their diets, because they think that all fats are bad. Fat is an essential nutrient that provides the body with energy. There are many different types of fat, including saturated, monounsaturated, and polyunsaturated. Monounsaturated and polyunsaturated should make up the majority of fat intake, as they are healthy. Saturated fat should be kept to a minimum, as high intakes are very unhealthy. Myth #11: Supplements Can Replace A Good Diet Supplements can never replace a good diet. They are made to add to a good diet, not replace it. The body prefers whole foods and they are actually absorbed better than supplements. Combining a good diet with supplements is recommended and will provide the best results. Supplements Can Never Replace A Good Diet. Myth #12: You Can Eat Anything If You Train Without Gaining Fat If a person doesn’t eat correctly, they run the risk of gaining fat whether or not they train. Performing cardio helps rid of the fat, but it can be mind boggling performing endless amounts of cardio to fight off all the fat gained from bad eating habits. Having a small cheat meal every one to two weeks is recommended and will keep you mentally in check. Myth #13: Eating Any Food At Night Is Bad It is important to eat at night before going to sleep, so the body has the needed nutrients throughout the long sleeping period. Eating high fat foods is definitely bad and should be completely avoided. However, consuming protein-rich foods that contain a slight bit of fat and foods with complex carbs is highly recommended, as it helps the body recover and restore its energy reserves. Myth #14: Machines Are Better Than Free Weights It is common to see ads about new fancy machines that are supposedly better than free weights in every aspect. Those are always false, as machines, similarly to free weights, have just as many disadvantages as they do advantages. Combining free weights with machines is best, as you obtain the best of both worlds. Free weights allow for free range of motion and the use of stabilizer muscles. However, the risk of injury is high because incorrect movements out of the range of motion can easily occur. Machines on the other hand have less range of motion most of the time, but they often minimize the risk of injury because of the fixed range of motion. However, injury can still occur. Also, most trainees have differences in their anatomical structures and the fixed positions that machines provide might not fully suit the trainee. In such cases, the particular machines should be avoided to prevent risking injury. News Flash – Body Weight exercises use more muscle groups, have a strong body not a strong arms and a weak back, unless you like casualty! Myth #15: Training Like A Pro Bodybuilder Is Best Most pro bodybuilders have been training for many years and are taking drugs. What works for them doesn’t necessarily work for everyone else. Each individual has a different body and needs to adjust their workouts according to that. Duplicating a pro bodybuilder’s workout will not make a person look like a pro bodybuilder. It takes many years of hard training, proper eating, and dedication to gain loads of muscle mass. There are no shortcuts that lead to a bodybuilder-like physique. There Are No Shortcuts That Lead To A Bodybuilder-Like Physique. It doesn’t hurt to take advice from a pro, but that advice should be first analyzed and researched before included in your workout regimen, to see whether or not it is acceptable for your level of training and if it would benefit you. Conclusion – If you must train in the gym, do so to add to your martial arts ability not detract from it, don’t be a sheep, don’t follow the other sheep and stand around in the gym convincing yourself that you are going to get big with a few lifts and lots of chatting, you don’t get big through osmosis! And please, stop clogging up the bench press!!!