by Nemanja Korać
ITU Level 2 certified triathlon coach
and B.Sc. in Sport sciences – swimming coach.
Besides standardized training principles influencing the improvement of ability and achievement of a particular goal, people are often led by certain popular themes which are either fake or misinterpreted and do not have any scientific and medical proof.
1. NO PAIN, NO GAIN
Training must never produce pain. Well-prepared athletes can withstand a very exhausting event without the feeling of pain and an obvious discomfort. Pain is not a natural consequence of training, it is a signal of a problem that you must not ignore. The only acceptable saying is that there is no progress without the feeling of discomfort.
2. YOU HAVE TO TEAR THE MUSCLE TO BECOME STRONGER
Muscle microtraumas sometimes occur as a consequence of training or competition, but they are not desirable and necessary result of training. Studies have shown that marathon racers, after a race, usually experience the high frequency of microtraumas, especially on long downhill slopes (the reason is an eccentric muscular contraction during running downhill). Extreme trauma does not help training and its progress, it is rather slowing and disabling it.
3. EXCERCISE UNTIL YOUR MUSCLES GET INFLAMED
This saying is often heard among bodybuilders who perform a huge number of repetitions and series in order to build and shape muscles. The feeling of “burning” in the muscles is probably the result of increased acidity (of the blood), associated with high lactic acid concentration in the muscles. This feeling is not dangerous, but it is not necessary.
4. LACTIC ACID CAUSES MUSCLE PAIN
This usual misconception has no firm grounds. Training leads to lactic acid production, but lactic acid itself is not the cause of pain. After the completion of physical activity lactic acid is removed from the muscle by the blood (it takes about an hour to remove it). Pain occurs only after 24 hours or more, when lactic acid is already removed or metabolized.
5. MUSCLES TURN TO FAT AND VICE VERSA
One very often misinterpretation is that when an athlete stops training, muscles can turn into fat, and vice versa when you start with a training process. Both tissues are highly specialized and have specific functions.
The muscle composition consists of long cylindrical fibers composed of contractile proteins, formed in such a way that they can produce force and perform mechanical work. Fat tissue cells are round tanks for storing fat. Training causes hypertrophy (an increase in muscle fibers), but being in the state of rest reduces them. Increased calorie intake (without an adequate burning) promotes the growth of fat cells, but the burning of a higher amount of calories than consumed decreases it.
6. I’M OUT OF BREATH
Athletes have this feeling often when they run too fast for their stamina level. This feeling, which comes from the lungs, is just another kind of discomfort during physical activity and is a result of the increased concentration of carbon dioxide that causes a lack of oxygen. An excessive amount of carbon dioxide is a sign that you are crossing your anaerobic threshold and you are above the level of aerobic training. Everyone has to get to know this feeling during the training cycle.