Top 8 Fitness Myths I Use to Believe

In case you’d like to listen to me read this to you, you can see watch or listen to the video version of this article, or scroll to the bottom for the embedded video.  The audio version will be available on my soundcloud soon.

Back when I was as green as I could be, I was at 24 hour Fitness University. My instructors were chiropractors by the names of Dr. Kirk Meyer, Chuck Fields and Nagoya. These instructors had such a huge impact on my fitness education. Essentially, everything I learned in that 5-day course in San Ramon back in 2001 was my first exposure to “technique and form”. I was highly impressionable. It was my mistake to think that everything they said was 100% true. Looking back, remembering the experience, there’s a good chance that I misinterpreted bits and pieces of what they said.

1. Benching elbows past 90 degrees

Keep in mind that I was coming from a background of almost zero formal education. I didn’t really play many sports, let alone, any high level of anything at this point in my life. All that I knew was what I read in muscle and fitness magazines – reading hydroxycut research articles that I thought to be facts. Really? Lee Priest in a lab coat? For those of you who don’t know, Lee Priest was a popular, Olympia underdog, very short bodybuilder with Popeye sized forearms.

Benching past 90 degrees or bringing the bar to your chest is perfectly safe, just as long as you have good technique..

2.) Knees going past toes or only going to 90 degrees.

This was something that was taught about lunges and leg press. I was never really taught how to squat. We were taught very simple rules for where your feet and knees should be. They touched on adduction, abduction, internal, external rotation, flexion, extension, eversion and inversion – but only really to memorize. Much of what all personal training certifications try to teach is a very abridged version of functional anatomy.

Saying that knees going past your toes or only squatting to 90 degrees of the knee is analogous to saying that basketball is very dangerous. It depends on the person.

3.) Fat makes you fat.

The problem without having some formal education in Science is that it causes many of us to make assumptions about things that appear obvious. “If you stop eating fat, you won’t get fat.” is an example of ‘almost sound logic’ depending on who you talk to. If we are to say that the truth about fat is that it indeed makes you fat then it makes sense that if you eat a bunch of low fat foods, you won’t get fat. I mean after all, Coca Cola has 0 grams of fat.

4.) Carbs make you fat.

When Atkins was all the rage, carbs became the new evil and everything was about ketosis. These days we say ketogenic. When you’re in ketosis, you’re burning a ton of fat. When it was first introduced, it was so radical. It’s the opposite of what we use to believe in. It came at a perfect time to get people to try it, and you know what happened? It actually worked – too bad that most of the rapid weight loss was due to water loss.

5.) Overhead presses cause shoulder impingement.

If you give a green personal trainer just enough information – but not all of it – you can encourage a lot of bad paradigms about exercise science. This is one of those rules that are similar to what I said about the bench press to 90 degrees only and knees going past the toes, it depends on the person.

6.) Shoulders are depressed.

I really use to advocate brining the shoulders back and down. I taught it to a point of over correction. There is such a thing as too much of a good thing and what makes this good thing bad is that constantly doing this during certain movements can encourage bad motor patterns that lead to shoulder problems.

7.) You should always squat to ATG or parallel.

When I first made a commitment to start posting on YouTube a little over a year ago, I want to make sure that I didn’t get called out on depth. Although hitting proper depth in a squat is important, how you get there is much more important. An example is that many of my female clients can’t squat ATG but they have to compromise their spine, collapse the arches in the feet and adduct the knees and over extend or posterior tilt the spine to get there. It’s okay to do it with no load or light loads for a few reps, but not for high volume or heavy weight.

8.) You can get shredded in 12 weeks.

Xenadrine and hydroxycut ads, as well as many others, made you believe that if you take their supplement, you could look like a stage competitor. I later learned, after watching bigger, faster stronger documentary, that a lot of it is smoke and mirrors; not to mention air brush, Photoshop and lighting. I’m not against accomplishing amazing results, but time frames to accomplish these goals are not always worth the sacrifice.

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