Fitness “rules” that are good to break

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I’ve learned a lot over my many years in the gym, and beginner me would be shocked and appalled at the things I do during workouts. With experience, I now do exercises I used to think that you should “never” doand I broke just about every other rule for that matter.

We have covered a bunch of things you can stop worrying about as a newbiebut I’d like to expand this list with a few more rules that even mid-level users can drop without consequence.

Myth: YesYou have to go to failure on every set

If you can theoretically do 13 bicep curls with a certain weight, how many curls should you actually do? A common misconception is that if you don’t roll all 13, you are leaving winnings on the table.

The rule makes sense if you really don’t know where to start; if you keep going until you can’t do one more rep, then at least you know you’re not slacking off.

But the downside is that failure for every set of every lift is just going to make you exhausted. On bicep curls, maybe not so much, but once you squat heavy enough weights, you’ll feel pretty exhausted if you do every set to failure, and that fatigue will keep you from getting a good workout consistently. . What’s better is follow a program that advises you when to hold back and when is the right time to really push your limits. You will find that most of the time you stop a set at least 2-3 reps before failure, and sometimes even more.

Myth: Mmuscles need at least a day of rest before resuming strength training

Rest days are a handy tool to make sure you don’t overwork yourself, but that’s it. Organizations like the American College of Sports Medicine recommend leaving 48 hours between intense weight training sessions for a given muscle, but if you look at where they get that number, it’s a general recommendation for beginners and for people who exercise just to stay healthy. Once you talk about athletes or enthusiasts, they recognize that training most days of the week is finewhether your program effectively manages fatigue (which often means heavier and lighter days, rather than complete rest).

Myth 😀do not increase your running mileage by more than 10% each week

The “10% rule” is a lousy guideline for determining how fast to ramp up your workout. But like many of these other myths, it’s a suggestion, not a strict commandment.

As running coach Jason Fitzgerald tell us, “While the adage is to only increase weekly mileage by 10%, this may be too conservative or even too aggressive depending on your starting point.” When you come back from a short layoff, you can probably increase your mileage much faster. The same applies if you are a beginner and your mileage is generally very low; if we took the rule seriously, you couldn’t increase from zero to any other number.

Meanwhile, serious running programs – again, a program is a wonderful thing – can give you a bigger boost for a few weeks in a row, then cut back and lessen your mileage temporarily before increasing again. Or they may keep you on the same mileage for weeks before risking you a bigger raise. If you were to stick to the 10% rule, you would be missing out on the benefits of programs that work this way.

Myth: Yesyou should lift before cardio

There are pros and cons to lifting before cardio and doing cardio before lifting. It’s more of an “it depends” than a rule. So here are some of the ways to decide what makes sense.

Lift before cardio if:

  • Lifting is your top priority
  • Your lifts tend to suffer when you’re tired, and keeping them cool is important to you.
  • You just prefer this command

Do cardio before lifting if:

  • Cardio is your top priority and you want to have more energy for it
  • Your lifts are the kind of thing that can be done even when you’re tired
  • You just prefer this command
  • Or you only intend to do a small amount of cardio before lifting

So a cyclist might prefer to do strength training after jumping off the bike, but a weightlifter would probably prefer to prep after finishing the day’s squats. Either it’s fine if you don’t care or if you prefer to mix it up.

Myth: Yesou need supplements

There are a few supplements that can help you on your fitness journey, but none of them are necessary.

Creatine is one of the best known muscle building supplements. It’s supposed to be effective, but here’s the thing :Jbecause it is Something for most people doesn’t mean it’s very a lot. If you decide it’s too expensive or you just prefer not to have something else to remember to take every day, you’re not missing out on any substantial gains.

Likewise, protein powder is a helpful way to get more protein in your diet, but you don’t need to use a supplement; you can just eat more foods with protein.

And finally, pre-workout drinks can give you more energy in the gym (it’s mostly caffeine) but the idea that you need this is a very recent development. Even ten years ago it wasn’t really a thing. People showed up to the gym with a coffee or a coke or no caffeine in their stomachs at all, and did just fine.

Myth: Nnothing matters unless you follow it

Another thing that didn’t exist before the 2000ss: Track every minute, every step, or every mile of your workout. You are still a runner even if you don’t have an app that knows how many miles you’ve traveled. You don’t even have to track your sets and reps in your lifting log if you do not want. Your body is who knows how much work you put in, even if your phone were to be erased overnight.

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