Sheri Colberg: Debunking some physical activity and training myths

Adapted from Sheri Colberg’s article in Diabetes in Control July 6 2019

Exercise does NOT make you more tired.

Most people feel more invigorated after a workout. Regular exercise helps you cope better physically and mentally with your work and personal life.  During periods of acute stress, at work for instance, a short brisk walk can help clear your mind and bump up your energy levels.  Exercise helps reduce insomnia too.

You do NOT have to work out in a “fat burning range” to lose weight.

Just exercise as long and intensely as is reasonable for you if you want to lose weight.  You do use up a little more fat at lower intensity exercise but this mainly happens during the recovery phase.

Your muscles will NOT turn into fat if you stop weight training.

Keep your muscles strong and noticeable by physical activity and exercise and aim to avoid fat gain.

Weight training will NOT bulk you up if you are a woman.

It takes a great deal of effort for men to bulk up doing weight training and this effort is magnified in women because they have very little testosterone. Your total weight may increase if you weight train as muscle is heavier than fat. Pay attention to how you look and feel and how your clothes fit rather than have a fixed idea of the optimum number on a scale.

No pain does NOT mean no gain.

You need to distinguish the feeling of lactic acid in the muscle from a well executed exercise set and delayed muscle soreness a day or two afterward with acute muscle tears and overtraining. The time it takes to recover is a good guide. Also adjust your timing and intensity gradually.

Lifting weights slowly does NOT necessarily mean you will build more muscle.

Lifting slowly can increase the total time that your muscle is under tension. This can increase muscle endurance. Lifting the heaviest weight quickly helps you recruit more muscle fibres and will result in bigger muscles. So if you are lifting a weight slowly during a particular exercise but could lift it faster, to build muscle you either need to move that weight faster or use a heavier weight.

Working on your abdominal muscles WON’T give you a flat belly.

You can’t spot reduce. You can tone up your belly and back muscles but what really helps is getting rid of excess fat covering the muscle. You can do harder workouts to increase your muscle mass and this will help you burn more calories including at rest.

More exercise does NOT mean more fitness

Overuse injuries are more common if you are working out for more than 60-90 minutes of aerobic exercise a day. Cross fit and high intensity interval training are likely to be more beneficial than very long workouts.

You DO NOT have to eat huge amounts of protein.

If you do weight train you do need more protein but only up to twice that for a sedentary person. That is 1.6 to 1.7 grams of protein per kilogram body weight. Most people, especially those on a low carb diet will naturally be eating enough protein. Some protein after exercise may be beneficial especially whey protein. You can eat natural foods eg egg whites or drink chocolate milk (careful about sugar) instead.

You DO NOT need to sweat profusely to do good.

Sweating varies a lot between men and women and individuals. If you are physically trained you may sweat sooner and more. The exercise intensity will affect it. So does the ambient temperature and humidity. Sometimes not sweating enough can be a sign of dehydration so it doesn’t always reflect your effort.

Sheri’s book The Athlete’s Guide to Diabetes: Expert advice for 165 Sports and Activities is available on Amazon and at Barnes and Noble stores.

She has websites to help you:Sheri Colberg.com and DiabetesMotion.com

 

 

 

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