Myth Buster #1: Deadlifts and Barbell Back Squats are dangerous.
Hmmm, this is a point of controversy right here. Yes, there has been major injury caused by Deadlifts and BB Back Squats, but let’s be totally fair and honest, equally major injuries have been attained doing bodyweight step ups, walking on the beach, straightening your hair or even brushing your teeth! If you do anything with reckless form or technique, in a hurry or in a fatigued state you risk major injury.
So why is it that so many people assume that deadlifts and squats are likely to cause injury? I professionally believe it is due to a common lack of education and training on how to squat and deadlifts correctly and safely. And I also believe it is ego that has caused the most injury and damaged the reputation of two of my most favourite and two of the most effective strength building exercises on the planet. I can’t actually remember how many times I have winched watching someone load the bar well beyond their ability and perform quarter range squats. Of course you are going to injury yourself with such uncontrolled and hazardous behaviour. Deadlifts and Squats are technical lifts and therefore need to be taught by a professional in order to attain the complete benefits from the exercise and avoid unnecessary injuries.
I also blame a minor handful of personal trainers and gym instructors and believe they are responsible for numerous and reckless injuries caused by squats and deadlifts. Many trainers, due to a lack of client knowledge, the inability to personally perform either exercise technically perfect, the incapacity to teach their client perfect form, incorrect and dangerous programming and by pushing their clients to lift a weight that is far beyond their capabilities, have helped give these exercises a bad name.
In principle, unless you actually have a pre-existing medical condition or injury which inhibits you performing a technically correct squat or deadlift, there is no reason why you should avoid these powerful compound exercises.
Deadlifts and Squats should be incorporated in all workouts. If you are unsure of how to complete a squat or deadlift with proper from please consult with a personal trainer and learn the correct technique.
To avoid injury from Deadlifts and barbell back squats always do the following 6 things:
- Warm up effectively
- Consult an expert and learn proper technique.
- Leave your EGO at home. There is no place for it in the gym!
- Only use a weight you are confident with.
- Increase weight slowly and in my view never more than a 10kg jump
- Have a spotter and/or safety in case you fail
Myth Buster #2: Why Women Shouldn’t Train Like Men
I am constantly asked during and after my personal training sessions what sport or competition I am training for. I simply reply “for life” and “I am a personal trainer and therefore need to look like a personal trainer”
Most people are quite simply blown away by the fact that I choose to do front squats, deadlifts, chin-ups and pull-ups for fun and in essence train like a man.
Due to the type of training I do “man training” or “heavy lifting” I am often asked “aren’t you afraid you’ll get bulky?” I respond “Do I look bulky to you?” Muscle mass created from training style, is what give me definition, makes me strong, prevents injuries, empowers me and makes me feel fantastic.
I, as all women, have 10 times less testosterone than men, making muscle building an extremely difficult process for women and becoming bulky almost impossible, and besides all these cool benefits… “strong is the new sexy” and out lifting some men gives me a huge confidence kick and feels amazing.
In regards to aesthetics, the goals of men and women are different, though the programs essential to achieving these goals are actually very similar. The methods used to build muscle mass, create definition, burn body fat and increase fitness are the same for both men and women.
3 Benefits of Training like a man…
- You will get stronger – “strong is the new sexy and the best key to a firm and shapely body”
- You will burn tons more calories – the more muscle = a higher metabolism. The higher the metabolism = more calories being burnt! (even whilst lazing about on the coach)
- You will see results faster – unlike hours on a tready or cross-trainer, strength training produces results almost instantaneously.
I know there are many amazing and scientific arguments for and against this topic and wanted to clarify. This passage is written based on my own personal experience (and those of many of my clients) and what has actually worked for me over the past 15 years as an elite athlete and personal trainer.
Myth Buster #3: The Paleo Lifestyle is a Fad Diet
Have you ever had the unfortunate experience of ballooning weight gains after participating in a diet?
Every been sucked into a fad diet, spent hundreds of dollars, achieved significant weight loss only to have extremely short lived results that ultimately end in a kilo figure higher than you started?
If you have fallen for a fad diet, you’re not alone as this seems to be a problem faced by thousands even millions of people all over the world. Unfortunately fad diets are simply just that … FADS!
The multi-billion dollar weight loss industry simply sucks us all in with catchy, well-marketed TV, radio and internet advertisements, leads us into false hope that “this is the one!” but ultimately ends in no results except a huge waste of time and money.
In my professional view diets, or a healthy eating lifestyle, needs to be sustainable, affordable, feasible and effective. (S.A.F.E) for successful dietary changes to become habits and optimal body composition to be achieved.
I honestly don’t know of any fad diets that adhere to my S.A.F.E. protocol (except one which actually isn’t a fad – I will happily discuss in the passage below) and is my opinion why all fad diets are purely and simply money making scams.
The supposed fad diet that I personally use and professionally recommend and have had amazing results with is a s slightly varied Paleo lifestyle. So why isn’t Paleo a Fad?
Well if we explore the term fad in reference to the English dictionary, it means:
An intense but short lived phase.
So how can a particular way of eating used by our ancestors be a short lived phase when it evolved 2.5 million years ago and is still prevalent today> I truly believe that our digestive systems haven’t evolved that much from my own experience have achieved constant and amazing results, successfully avoided any G.I (gastrointestinal) issues and have ample energy through the use of a slightly modified Paleo lifestyle. My variation on Paleo is to simply include small amounts of some dairy and grain based products.
As every body is so different I do not believe that one recommendation suits all and have all my clients through educated guessing and trial and error determine which modifications, if any, they make to the Paleo lifestyle.
Always remember life is to be lived so always use the 80/20 rule and enjoy your life too!
Myth Buster #4: Ab work will give you Abs
The general belief that doing abdominal work will give you abs makes sense. When we work our biceps they get bigger, so if we work our abdominals they should also get bigger, right? Well, Not exactly.
Our thinking in this instance is flawed as we don’t necessarily want bigger more chiseled abs, we simply want our “six-pack” to be visible. Therefore the challenge of the elusive six-pack is actually a case of losing body fat and being lean. Truth of the matter is you actually have a six-pack now as this is the natural shape of your abdominal muscles, though the chances are you can’t see them as they are covered with a nice warm layer of fat.
In men, for their abdominals to pop they would need to be between 10-12% body fat and women between 18-20%. Therefore we simply need to get on the gym floor, train hard, eat clean and burn more energy than we ingest. My suggestions to those who ask me my professional advice on achieving six-pack abs is to forget silly isolated crunches and sit ups and train the BIG 5:
- Chin Ups
- Pull Ups
- Push Ups
These exercises are superb compound motions (motions that activate numerous muscle groups) that require huge amounts of energy to be performed and therefore ramp up the speed at which your body will drop fat and look lean.
Another successful way to accelerate fat loss, I personally discovered when training for World’s in 2009, is training in a fasted state. The best way to achieve this is to train first thing in the morning before your first meal. In this state, the body’s insulin levels are depleted and the body must rely on energy stores for fuel, therefore burning higher levels of fat during the session. To avoid excessive muscle breakdown during a fasted session I simply used Poliquin Branch Chain Amino’s 15-20 minutes before my workout as they suppressed muscle breakdown during the workout.
5 reasons your abdominals don’t show or grow:
- Your body fat is too high
- You perform isolated exercises too often and neglect compound workouts.
- You train abdominals everyday
- You forget to train obliques, transverse abs and serratus.
- You don’t increase the level of difficulty and complete the same abdominal exercises.
To conclude: Focus on your diet, eat clean and concentrate your attention on losing body fat. Get help from a Master Personal trainer and have them teach you how to plan and complete a scientific resistance or interval training program designed to increase your EPOC affect (an increase in metabolic activity and increased fat burn for 24-36 hours after a workout) and scorch the most fat during and after every session.
Remember: “Sweat is Fat Crying” So get out there and kick your fats butt!!