Regular sport keeps us healthy and fit. But exactly how do you burn up the most fat? How long should a training session last? You will hear numerous answers to these and similar questions – unfortunately many of them are wrong. Any the people who believe them are not only sabotaging their own success, but in the worst case also putting their health at risk. We reveal here some of the most persistent myths:
«I will get a six-pack from sit-ups»
Unfortunately it is not quite so easy. You may well bulk up the various muscle regions with selective strength exercises, but to make sure these muscles are also visible, you first need to get rid of surplus body fat. In contrast to muscle, body fat is distributed evenly over the whole body and cannot be selectively reduced around the belly or any other body part even with countless sit-ups. So if you want a nice six-pack, you should supplement your sit-ups with a balanced diet and plenty of endurance training to reduce the body fat and thus display your muscles.
«You need to get the heart rate up for at least 30 minutes to burn up the fat»
Wrong. During physical exertion, the body always draws on fat and carbohydrates as sources of energy from the very first minute. The heart rate and the length of the training session only influence the proportions in which the two energy sources are tapped. For example, the percentage of carbohydrates used up increases with a high heart rate and steadily falls in the course of training, whereas the proportion of fat used up increases with low intensity and prolonged exercise. However, if you exercise slowly, the less intense exercise overall burns up less fat per training unit than intensive strenuous exercise.
«Daily training is harmful»
Healthy people are recommended to do sport three to four times a week. But if you want to do more and have no physical problems, you can train every day quite comfortably. But you should bear the following points in mind: after particularly strenuous exercise (e.g. strength training) the muscles need at least 48 hours to recover. It is absolutely essential to observe this period of rest, because muscle development does not take place during training, but in the regeneration phase that follows. So it is recommended that you alternate between strength training and endurance training, or – like the professionals – train only one or two muscle groups per day of training. Ambitious athletes should also take at least one day of rest a week.
Contribution to your health
SWICA supports you in your efforts at personal preventive healthcare in the fields of sport, nutrition and relaxation with generous contributions (e.g. to membership of a fitness centre) from the COMPLETA PRAEVENTA and OPTIMA plans. We would be delighted to offer you our advice, with no strings attached, on our free hotline 0800 80 90 80.