5 Training Myths Worth Ignoring
By Tim Crytser
Here at Racer X Virtual Trainer we get a lot of great questions and useful feedback from MX athletes all across the country. When fielding these questions it becomes painfully obvious to me that not everyone is getting the memo on what you should and should not be doing when training for motocross. Although there is no such thing as a “bad” question, a lot of times the same questions are asked over-and-over again. I believe these questions are born out of myths that have been circulating around the race tracks and training culture for decades. Well, Virtual Trainer is here to set the record straight.
Myth #1 – Lifting Weights Causes Arm Pump. Okay, one last time for those of you who were in the bathroom the last time I said this; lifting weights does NOT directly cause arm pump. I am not sure where the notion of this came from, but it is utterly ridiculous. Need proof? I have a good friend who is a body builder and races in the B class. He is mid-pack fast but has never had an issue with arm pump. Wonder why he doesn’t get arm pump? Well, he has great form on the bike and his cardio/muscular endurance is ski high even though he has huge muscles. If you are still a believer in this myth, it’s my opinion that you have just found a convenient excuse for not going to the gym. No worries; just like the World needing ditch diggers, someone has to finish last! (More on Arm Pump)
Myth #2 – Warming up Before a Moto uses too Much Energy. This is another statement that I hear over-and-over. Let’s look at this a little closer by examining a few other sports. What does every team do no matter what the sport before a game? You guessed it; Warm-up! As a matter of fact I’ll bet you can’t name a sport where the players don’t warm-up (motocross doesn’t count!) To think that you don’t need to warm-up before a race because it uses too much energy is like saying that you shouldn’t start your bike until right before the race because the parts will wear-out too fast. The same guys that blame arm pump on strength training are most likely the same guys that go straight from their lounge chairs chugging a 16 Oz. Monster to the starting gate. Need more proof, don’t take my word for it, read what one of the top trainers in our sport has to say about it!
Myth #3 – I am too Busy to Train. All I can say about this myth is Bullshizzle. Instead of saying you are too busy; simply say you don’t want to train. We could get into a pissing contest as to who is the busiest, but the fact of the matter is, if you wanted to exercise you would; simple as that. Training on a busy schedule is actually very easy. In that loaded down day planner or fancy blackberry schedule 45 minutes, Monday, Wednesday and Friday to exercise. Use the exclamation point if you need to increase the importance and just do it. Tell your boss that a healthy employee makes a happy employee.
Myth #4 – My Body, Particularly my Back Hurts because I’m Getting Older. I can speak first hand on this myth because I have had a “bad lower back” all my life. My dad has it and so do I. The myth is that it get’s worse with age. I just turned 40 and my back is no worse now than it was when I was 18. In fact in a lot of ways it is better. Body pain (your back in particular) is one of the leading physical complaints aging adults present to physicians, coaches, and trainers, but it’s primarily due to muscle weakness and being overweight rather than age. Strengthening your body’s structural core (abs and lower back) while increasing your overall health and fitness will lead to a higher quality of life no matter what your age and have you competing at a high level well into your 60’s and 70’s…..relatively pain free!
Myth #5 – Long and Slow is Better for Fat Loss. Although this myth relates more to general fitness, I still get questions from overweight people all the time who think that long, slow exercise is the best way to lose weight. While it is true that long slow exercise draws its energy from fat, high intensity exercise burns more calories. At about 30 percent of your maximum effort, approximately 70 percent of your energy comes from fat and the other 30 percent from carbohydrate. But when you increase exercise intensity to 50to 60 percent of maximum effort, the fuel mixture shifts so you’re burning about half fat and half carbohydrate. However, because your overall caloric burn rate is higher, you actually burn more total calories per minute and per hour than at the lower intensity. The result: More fat disappears from your body in less time. The simple way to think about this is calories in and calories out. If you burn more calories than you take in over a given period of time you will lose weight. To lose one U.S. pound (.454 kg) of fat, you must burn 3,500 more calories than you take in as food.
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