The Muscle: Fitness trends and myths

WHEN it comes to the world of health and fitness, there is an abundance of information out there which can be pretty daunting for even the professionals.

We have everything from Joe Wicks to CrossFit, from high protein diets to vegan diets, but the question is are any of these right for developing you as a GAA player?

All these various trends have their pros and cons and may have yielded brilliant results for others, but in all likelihood, they are not specifically orientated to improve you as a player.

In recent years, CrossFit has made a massive impact on the fitness industry. It has increased in popularity as the classes provided people with a fast and efficient way to get stronger and burn calories. Instead of how much weight, or how many reps you can complete in a certain time, the aim for you as a player should be to perform all of the movements with proper technique. The best way to do this is through functional training.

In simple terms, functional training focuses on movements that work the muscles we use most, on and off the pitch. Functional training concentrates on refining balance and coordination and building strength in the right way. This trend is particularly important for injury prevention and will allow our bodies to function and perform at their optimum for longer.

Your gym program is somewhat similar to your performance on field, insofar as you need to conquer the basic movements and skills before progressing.

Focus on mastering the basics or you will struggle to progress to the next level. The basic movements that one should incorporate into their regime should include squat, push, pull, rotate, carry and hinge.

With the advancement of technology, the fitness industry is constantly evolving. We are seeing more data available to us to help us manage our goals. The use of apps, GPS fitness trackers and smart watches are all useful tools which should be beneficial to players and coaches. These tools enable us to receive feedback about our performance and training levels, which should in turn allow us to change and adapt our training appropriately.

Here are some fitness myths to avoid:

1) Crunches are best way to burn belly fat

The best way is by combining cardio with ab-strengthening exercises. Along with this you will need to maintain a healthy diet.

2) All you need is cardio and weights

There is more to training than cardio and weights. You need to consider the following components of fitness within your training program; strength, speed, agility, endurance and flexibility.

3) No pain, no gain

This is generally the most overused myth of them all. During or after exercise you may feel a slight discomfort, but you should not feel sore to the point that it affects your day.

4) Stretching will always prevent injuries

Sometimes stretching cold muscles will actually harm them. It is important to warm up efficiently before exercise. When designing your warm up you should:

(a)        Raise your body temperature

(b)      Activate and mobilise muscles

(c)        Potentiation i.e, fire the nervous system and the particular muscle group you intend to train

5) Lots of protein and less carbs equals lean muscle

There is a belief out there that carbs are bad and that you should avoid them. The truth is that carbs give you energy during a workout and that you need them. When it comes to protein, you should aim to incorporate roughly 2g per a kg of bodyweight within your daily diet.

The most important element of any training program is consistency. Consistency is key, with this you are creating healthy habits.

A well-designed plan followed consistently will create maximal results. The plan should have a proper combination of stress and recovery and will ensure the right type of training occurs at the right time.

If you are struggling with your pre-season gym program or need advice feel free to drop us a message to help take your game to the next level. Check us out on social media at Core Performance Gym.

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