I think it’s comical when I am browsing the Internet – and this includes Facebook, blogs, and online magazine articles – and I find all of these opinions on how certain types of fitness concepts are wrong while another type of fitness reigns supreme. Do this, don’t do that. My fitness can beat up your fitness. My fitness can piss further than your fitness. Or something like that. Here is some of what I have found.
You shouldn’t do P90X because:
It doesn’t work, no one actually finishes it, those infomercial pictures are fake, nobody gets ripped like that in 90 days, and you don’t need a set of DVDs to get in shape.
You shouldn’t do CrossFit because:
It’s hard on your body, you have a 95% chance of getting rhabdo, those gyms are dirty, the trainers aren’t real trainers, they don’t do pull ups the right way.
You shouldn’t do bodybuilding because:
It’s not real world fitness, it is not functional, it is not natural to have that much muscle, all bodybuilders that have any size do steroids, it’s gross when women do it, girls don’t really like guys with big muscles.
You shouldn’t use a Smith machine because:
Those aren’t real squats, you will mess up your knees doing it, you will mess up your back doing it, it will screw up your form when you do real squats.
You shouldn’t do isolated exercises such as arm curls, leg curls, leg extensions because:
You are just doing it for glamour, there is no functional benefit for isolated movements, girls don’t really like guys with big biceps.
You shouldn’t train with a personal trainer because:
It’s too expensive, you can get the same information on YouTube, anyone can become a personal trainer, you can get the same results on your own.
You shouldn’t use a BOSU ball (and other balance equipment) because:
It’s not real fitness, it’s gay, you will look funny on one, no one really uses them, you will never exercise on a ball in real life.
You shouldn’t do MMA training because:
It’s dangerous, you’ll get hurt, it promotes violence, girls don’t like it when guys are tough, guys don’t like girls who can kick their butt.
You shouldn’t do Prancercise because:
Okay, seriously speaking, maybe shouldn’t do Prancercise.
But for the rest of these myths, let me clear something up:
P90X does work. Just because it is popular and mainstream does not mean it’s some fitness video fad. The people on the infomercials are real (I have met many of them). You can get that ripped in 90 days (I lost close to 40 pounds in 90 days doing it). There is a reason that people from professional athletes to average Joes (and Janes) rave about P90X. It is an efficient exercise system that delivers great results if you stick with it.
CrossFit might not be for everyone, but there are plenty of CrossFit people in excellent physical shape. I’m sure there are some CrossFit studios that suck, don’t teach good form, are dirty, push people too far, etc. That said, I used to have a 24 Hour Fitness membership, and they had some gyms that were dirty and sucked, but there were many that were really clean and nice. I’ve seen football coaches that push athletes way too far too; that doesn’t mean all football coaches are terrible. If you like CrossFit, it delivers results for you, is fun, and you have yet to experience rhabdo – more power to ya!
Bodybuilding has many different levels. Yes, a lot of bodybuilders are on steroids; performance enhancing drugs might even be more prevalent in bodybuilding than Major League Baseball (maybe). There are many people that workout to look good, not just bodybuilders. I got into bodybuilding as a teenager, never did steroids or anything, and never got real huge, but when I was 19 I weighed 190 lbs at 5’ 8” and had about 7-8% body fat. Never once did I hear, “Your biceps are too big.” And as far as being functional, I was a construction laborer in my late teens and I must say that having extra muscle certainly did not hurt when I had to carry 12” PVC pipe, lift logs, or swing a sledgehammer to break concrete.
Smith machines are in about every gym I have ever been to. They might not be ideal to do for long periods of time, but they are a good starting point for some people that have never performed a barbell squat before. If you use a Smith machine for a few weeks to break up your routine, I doubt you will be screwing up your back and knees for the rest of your life.
Isolated exercises are apparently functional-fitness sin. Your body never uses one muscle at a time so you should not do exercises that work only one target area – or so is the logic. Only this logic is flawed. Should football players only work on football drills to improve their performance? Or should they do a variety of drills and exercises to compliment their game? There aren’t any weight benches on a football field; therefore football players should not do bench presses (note: sarcasm). Isolated exercises such as biceps curls and leg curls might not be the “best” exercises for total body function, but they can compliment your routine, improve body composition, and possibly help you with functional activities when performed in a routine with other exercises.
Training with a personal trainer can have many benefits. Is it expensive? It may be for some, but the value that a personal trainer can provide may be well worth it. Fitness is not one size fits all, and personal trainers can help you work on areas of your body and areas of your routine that you might not even know needed help.
The BOSU ball has no sexual preference as far as I know, and it might not be the “normal” type of exercise equipment we are accustomed to, but don’t be so quick to write it off. Will you ever see a half a rubber ball mounted on a rubber plate in the “real world”? No. But in my experience of life (which is only 34 years) I have yet to come across very many things in the real world that have perfectly rounded bars to grip with weight evenly distributed on each side (dumbbells and barbells). I also rarely have to lift heavy things on a perfectly level floor (like a gym floor). Many times when I have lifted heavy things it has been outside on unstable surfaces – muddy ground, rocky ground, snow, ice, a rocking boat, a river bank, an inclined slope, etc. When your body needs to function in an unstable environment, it calls on stabilization muscles to keep the body balanced and stable. BOSU balls and other balance equipment provide a way to create an unstable environment indoors and train your body’s stability muscles.
MMA training can help people lose weight and get in shape like any other style of exercise. As an added bonus, you might learn to kick some butt in the process. Injuries can happen in martial arts, just like any other sport. I am hardly a seasoned martial artist, but I have done some recreational training. With my minimal experience I have experienced bruises and a bloody nose. Not too bad compared to other sports I have played such as soccer (ligament damage to ankle, bruises), baseball (black eye, bruises, scraped skin), football (bloody nose, bruises, pinched nerves, “stingers”, sprains, broken fingers – and witnessed concussions, bones snapped in half, and people carried off on stretchers), mountain biking (scrapes, bruises, hemorrhoids), etc. There’s something exciting about combat sports for both males and females – maybe it’s the adrenaline flow, maybe it’s the competitiveness. Whatever the case, most martial arts studios/gyms/dojos are not preaching violence and barbaric rituals. For the recreational martial artist it’s just fun; for the seasoned fighter it’s a real test of strength, skill, and athleticism.
Prancercise is… well, heck, who am I to judge? If you want to prance around to try and lose weight, go for it! Better than sitting on the couch all day – although I do know of some better alternatives.
How should you exercise? Can my fitness beat your fitness with one hand tied behind its back? Honestly, I have my preferences, but there are many great fitness solutions out there – you have to find what you enjoy and what works for you. Don’t be afraid to mix things up and try new things too. There are many things that classify as “real fitness” in my book. If it makes you sweat, improves your body, and you like it, then your fitness takes first place in the battle of YOU and can reign supreme in your own temple.