When we check out the media outlets, we see a lot of conflicting information about fitness. One day, Pilates is the cure for potbellies. Sagging bums are dealt with Yoga. Weight loss? Hot Yoga. Weight training for muscle tone, running for stress reduction and whatever is “in” at the time, whatever bias the person presenting the idea has or whatever is being sold at the publication/media outlet. And they always have willing experts giving their expert ideas that will back up whatever the writer is trying to convey.
So, let me give you my not-asked-for opinion about a few of those common myths:
Weights will make you bulky and look masculine.
Very few people actually can bulk up that easily doing weights. When you see people that have a higher degree of muscle development, it means that they’ve been working out for years, eating in a certain way and/or have the right genes for that look, in the same way that some people have the genes to be tall, exercising or not.
That misconception makes people have negaive prejudices towards weight training, thinking that they will get big fast or get too big.
Weights, when done properly, will help to shape and harden your body, burn more calories from fat and improve posture; without necessarily adding muscle, making whatever muscle mother nature gave to you to be pumped and toned, instead of sad and saggy.
Yoga will give you a nice round butt.
I could just go on and on, about the fact that there are many types of Yoga, how old this practice is and so on. Therefore making a blanket statement like this is, at the very least, inaccurate. In my opinion you should do Yoga because it can be calming, because you want variety or because you like it.
But any person that knows something about Biomechanics and exercise, or even better, anyone that makes a living out of getting results will say the same thing: if you want a beautiful lower body, nothing is better than squats, lunges and deadlifts!
Pilates will flatten your stomach.
I am sorry if I am biased on this one as I am a Pilates instructor.
The great thing about Pilates is that it makes you consciously engage your breath, abdominals and pelvic floor, therefore making all layers of your abdominal wall work together and get stronger and tighter. The tighter the abdominals, the smaller the belly.
The problem is that there are other factors that make a person to have a potbelly -everything from food sensitivities to hormonal unbalances and if they go unresolved, they will limit the results from a good exercise program.
So do it, but don’t have all your eggs in only one basket.
Cardio will make you thin.
Not necessarily. Cardio will definitely help you loose weight and that weight is not by default fat; it can be water or muscle, and loosing muscle is just a faster way to produce fat.
What cardio will definitely do is raise your cortisol levels, as it is a stressor to your body and extra cortisol means more fat production and storage. Therefore, even though cardio can be a very good toll to help with weight loss, it must be used properly in order to help you to go forward instead of creating frustration.
All these modalities have their benefits and disadvantages and instead of thinking that one is better than another, you should think more about integrating these modalities, in order to get whatever results you are looking for. So, forget about weights vs. yoga vs. cardio. Start thinking about weights + yoga + cardio and enjoy the benefits.