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Hello friends, and welcome to this month’s newsletter.
This month, two topics for you: exercise myths and the work ethic of Border Collies!
Science both fascinates and frustrates me. The new information that science brings to light is constantly changing, so it often disputes what we think we know about exercise. Sometimes even sacred cows go by the wayside!
Don’t get stuck or hold on too tightly to what you’ve always done or believed, especially when research clearly shows otherwise. In particular, I find there are four exercise myths that fall into this category. Check them out!
Myth 1: Stretch first.
Many of us were taught to perform static stretching before a cardiovascular or strength-training workout. We were taught that it was part of the warm-up and it was believed static stretches helped prevent injuries. Yet, there’s no scientific evidence linking reduced risk of injury or post-workout soreness with a regular pre exercise stretching routine.
Recent studies indicate that pre-event stretching can actually impair performance by weakening your muscles. For optimal results, stretch after your workout.
Now before you send me an email about this myth, keep reading.
Yes, warming up is a good idea but exactly WHAT needs to be warmed up? I’ve long taught that the best warm-up for an exercise is doing that exercise at a reduced pace. So for instance, going out for a run? Use walking as a warm-up or run at a slower pace until you feel warmed up.
I’m also a big fan of joint mobility movements as warm-ups. There’s also what we in the fitness industry often label “dynamic stretching routines”. These movements can be used as a warm-up as well. For most people usually 5-15 minutes of these is plenty. If you’ve studied Z-Health then you’re well versed in the usage of mobility drills as warm-ups. http://joyinmovement.com/about-shelli/experience-z-health/
The ideal warm-up gets your heart pumping and takes your joints through their range of motion.
Myth 2: Don’t let your knees go past your toes while doing a squat or lunge.
Squatting and lunging are two very popular exercise movements. They are both very essential compound movements, giving you a whole host of benefits when done properly. In order to do them properly, your knee moves beyond your toes, but how much beyond is the issue.
Avoiding excessive forward movement of the knee during a squat or lunge is important. However, in everyday activities such as climbing stairs, your knee and torso naturally move forward slightly and parallel with each other for balance. Your knees also help propel your body forward and upward.
Restricting this movement when performing squats and lunges increases hip stress and could increase the load on your lower back. It’s a subtle movement to notice. But once you adjust your technique, you might notice that you squat, lunge and move with less pain and restrictions.
Myth 3: To burn fat, exercise at a lower intensity.
This one can get complicated so let’s keep it really simple.
Forget the “fat-burning zone” and just get out there and move!
Your body burns both fat and carbohydrate calories to meet the demands of exercise. The proportion of fat or carbohydrate burned in a given workout depends on exercise intensity and duration. When it comes to fat loss however, for most of us the type of calories burned with exercise doesn’t really matter. If you burn more calories than you consume, you’ll lose fat. If you don’t, you won’t.
Don’t overcomplicate this and get your knickers in a twist!
Low-to-moderate intensity exercise can be sustained for longer periods than higher-intensity exercise. High intensity exercise burns more calories per minute. Knowing those two factors, base your exercise intensity on your goals, your fitness level, your health markers and how it makes you feel. Don’t worry about whether you’re burning fat or carbohydrates. The key is to choose an intensity level that makes your exercise program sustainable and will get you the results you want.
Myth 4: Strength training will make you gain weight.
This one is almost the exact opposite. It’s like that old joke, “What weighs more, a pound of feathers or a pound of rocks?”
If you’re concerned about preventing weight gain, strength training is actually something you should be doing. On average, adults who don’t engage in any strength training exercises lose about 4-6 lbs. of muscle tissue per decade, which decreases your resting metabolic rate. Unless caloric intake is also reduced, fat weight tends to increase.
On the other hand, regular strength training on the major muscle groups at least twice a week helps prevent loss of muscle tissue, and can even help to restore it. Adults who strength-train gain about 3 lbs. of muscle weight on average in the first 10-12 weeks, with men gaining slightly more and women gaining slightly less. But if you’re strength training for fitness, your weight gain should be very modest and could be offset by fat loss. And I guarantee you’ll look better, move better and feel better and actually have people telling you that you look like you’ve lost weight!
In the end, there’s lots you can do that will make you gain weight, but don’t think of strength training as one of them!
And now, about Border Collie work ethic.
I’m wondering if you ever heard the story of “Chaser” the Border Collie?
There was this retired university professor with time on his hands. He was encouraged by his wife to get a dog. So he went out and bought himself a puppy and started teaching it to recognize the names of a variety of different toys.
Every day, the professor would introduce a new toy or two to Chaser, repeat the name of the toy up to 40 times, and then hide it, telling the pup to go find and fetch.
Over the course of three years, Chaser was able to memorize the names of 1,022 different toys and also categorize them according to function and shape. If you’ve ever worked training your own dog, you can probably guess what’s coming next.
When a talk show host asked the retired professor whether he felt Chaser was a particularly intelligent dog, the answer was no. He chalked up Chaser’s powers of recollection to the fierce work ethic of the Border Collie breed.
“She DEMANDS four to five hours of training a day,” the professor said. “I have to go to bed to get away from her.” He’s 82.
There’s a lesson here for all of us who are committed to a healthy and fit lifestyle.
It’s not the smartest people who succeed.
The prize, and by this I mean abundant good health, goes to the disciplined. Those who retain a single-minded focus on a given goal and invest themselves fully in its attainment win the prize. While I’m in no way suggesting that a healthy lifestyle be your ONLY focus, I sure am suggesting it be in the top 4!
Refuse to be taken off track. Keep at your health and fitness goals and it is truly amazing what can be achieved. But how do you gain that winning edge and put on your Border Collie game face?
1. Practice complete focus: Just say “NO” to anyone or anything that distracts you. I say “practice” because once you realize how easily distracted you are, you’ll know it’s a PRACTICE. We’re all dealing with the same distraction dilemma in more ways than we can even fathom. Be mindful about how you spend your time and what you focus on.
It takes 10 to 20 minutes of focused concentration to dial into your flow state. Every time you allow yourself to be distracted, it’s costing you.
Stay focused on one thing at a time!
2. Beware of the free lunch: Nothing of significant and enduring value can ever be free. It just doesn’t make sense. No true skill or asset, and I consider health your greatest asset, has ever been attained without the investment of time, energy, and money in some form or another.
If something appears too good to be true, it probably is. Watch this one particularly with nutritional products. It’s always basics first and no miracle vitamin or herb, in my opinion, can truly offset a crappy diet or lack of exercise.
3. Take responsibility for your own success: Of course the correlation to this one is a bit harder to swallow. Take responsibility for not getting results. That’s how you learn and do better next time. Maybe it’s just me, but the minute I start placing the blame for my lack of success on anybody or anything outside of myself, I feel really helpless and discouraged. It’s not a feeling I enjoy.
We Joyinmovement folks tend to use common sense and also display a strong work ethic when it comes to our own self care programs. Let’s make sure we continue this and also, of course, add in that FUN ethic as well!