Fitness myths debunked

Good Health Magazine
Thursday, January 6, 2011
Image: Thinkstock
You should always do cardio before a weights session: Not if you want to burn maximum body fat. Experts at the University of Tokyo found people who did strength work 20 minutes before cycling burned 10 per cent more fat during the aerobic bit of their workout than those who cycled then lifted. Theory has it that lifting weights generates hormones that help release fat from body stores.

You have to stretch before exercise: Nope, nope and nope – not only have researchers at the University of Sydney found it only leads to about a one per cent reduction in muscle soreness, physiotherapy lecturer Kieran O'Sullivan from Ireland's University of Limerick has found it may also reduce how hard you can exercise. "Static stretching, where you hold a muscle still, seems to decrease flexibility for about an hour after you do it," he says. "It's as if myths debunked the muscle wants to protect itself from damage and so it tightens. That stops you jumping as high or running as fast as you could." Instead do a dynamic warm-up, where you jog steadily for a few minutes, then do a gentle version of whatever moves you'll be doing during your workout.

Protein is the best thing to eat after a workout: Maybe if you're a man. Past research from our very own Massey University found men who ate protein after a workout performed more than four per cent better the next day than those who ate only carbs. But the researcher in charge of that trial, Dr David Rowlands, has now repeated the study on women and found female exercisers showed no benefit from protein on subsequent performance over women who were given carbs. What this means is that if you feel like toast after your session rather than an eggwhite omelette, it won't hurt. Bear in mind, though, it's a lot quicker to eat kilojoules than burn them, the fact that exercise means

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