Gym Myths BUSTED - Part 2

Dermot & Dave

Gym Myths BUSTED - Part 2

Stewart Griffin
Stewart Griffin

12:23 PM - 12 Aug 2019

Listen to this episode

It's crunch time!

After the success of our first gym-myth-busting session, fitness expert Ronan Murphy (of is back with more answers for our puzzled listeners.

And Ronan has some top tips for you...

Baz,i heard the irish rugby team are training in special plastic suits to burn off all their body fat for the world cup..where wud i get one,need to lose 2 stone of body fat in a month or is this like the clingfilm wrapping,at myth ? Pat

Ok, so what you’re referring to are Sweat Suits or Sauna Suits.  They’re typically used by people like boxers or jockeys looking to drop weight on the scales in order to achieve a specific weight class.

By training in a sauna suit you’re increasing your core temperature and as a result the body sweats more to cool itself down.  By sweating you’re losing fluid from your body.  It’s purely water weight.  You will not lose body fat by training in a sauna suit.  The scales may go down temporarily but as soon as you re-hydrate it goes straight back up again.

People make the weight / fat mistake time and time again…. They’re completely different things.  When someone says they need to lose weight what they’re actually, more accurately, saying is they need to lose body fat.

You can still lose body fat and see the weighing scales needle stay exactly where it is and in a lot of cases it will actually go up as a result of the training you’re doing to lose the weight.

Anyway, getting back on topic… I would be very surprised to see an international rugby team training in sauna suits.  I’m going to have to call ‘Myth’ on this one.

Was 10,000 steps a day as the figure for the number of steps a person needs to take to get healthy pulled out of fresh air?

This is a hard one to call… Without any concrete evidence I can only go on what I know myself.

What I do know is that we were designed to move, regularly, and on different surfaces while carrying, pushing, pulling and bending.

We weren’t designed to sit at a desk all day hunched over a keyboard.

10,000 steps would be a good starting point to a daily movement goal.  A ‘pass rate’ if you will.  Ultimately I’d like to see you move more…. As much as you can, as regularly as you can.  Aim higher than just the pass rate.  Go get a freakin’ A!

Is yoga a bit of a swizz really?

No, it’s not.  Yoga is actually one of the oldest forms of exercise.  It’s a culmination of mind, body and soul (depending on your views).

For the body it’s awesome.  It ensures full range of movement and flexibility of all muscles and joints.  It encourages blood flow to all areas and as a result can help limit injuries and rehab existing injuries.  A tight muscle is generally a weak muscle so yoga ensures you can use the full capacity of what you’ve got.

From a mind and soul point of view it’s more of a personal taste.  Personally speaking I don’t get anything from it but that’s not to say it doesn’t work for others.  Some people look at my training and say ‘nuh-uh, no way!’ ……Works for me though.

Anyway, in summary, Yoga ain’t no swizz.

If I do 100 sit ups a day, how long will it take to get a six pack?

OK, here you go, are you ready?  The truth about 6 packs and sit ups.

Sit ups will get you a 6 pack.

There you go, in the simplest explanation and view of it.

Now, if you want to actually see that 6 pack you gotta do the following…

…Eat the correct amount of calories which match your energy requirements and expenditure.  Everyday.

Take a second and picture what that would be like on a daily basis.  Not so easy now, right?

Almost everyone has the ability to have a 6 pack, or abs (abdominals).  We all have them to a certain degree already otherwise we wouldn’t be able to stand up, pick things up, twist, breathe, talk etc… etc… etc… there’s a reason they’re referred to as the ‘core’.

The issue with a 6 pack is that it’s generally covered in a layer of body fat.  The depth of the body fat is relative to the calorie intake and energy expenditure we subject ourselves to on a daily basis.

People who have visible abs have a much lower percentage of body fat, alongside their (direct or indirect) core workouts, and as such the muscles show through.  Maintaining that low body fat is a tough job in itself by ensuring you eat and train correctly, very regularly.

Now, go audit the contents of your fridge!

Does muscle memory really mean less pain long term?

Yes, it does.

If you stretch a muscle and mobilise joints and do it regularly it will maintain that ability on its own i.e; retain the ‘memory’

Now, consider that a hell of a lot of pain is due to tight muscles and joints, then a more mobile muscle will result in less pain.

This doesn’t mean do the splits on a daily basis, although it’d be pretty cool to be able to do the splits.

Do squats do more harm than good?

Nope, provided they’re done right, they do the polar opposite!

Squats (any compound movement really, but especially squats and deadlifts) will:

  • Increase bone density
  • Mobilise and strengthen joints
  • Strengthen the Core
  • Strengthen your quads
  • Strengthen your hamstrings
  • Strengthen your glutes
  • Strengthen all of the other supporting muscles
  • Increase your cardio capacity
  • Burn bodyfat
  • Release endorphins and dopamine
  • Increase your metabolic rate
  • Increase energy levels
  • Cure the common cold
  • Make you a better lover

Should I go on?

Step 1: Learn how to squat with the proper technique

Step 2: Do them daily

Step 3: Add resistance to make you even more awesomer!

Should I be taking protein if I’m exercising

Yes, you should be taking protein.

You should be eating protein with every meal regardless of training or not.  Protein and its amino acids, wherever you get it, is essential for a healthy diet and active lifestyle.  Without protein the body will start to break itself down to get the amino acids… where does it get it from?  Your muscles.

If you don’t eat enough protein, daily, you run the risk of cramping, soreness and generally being a weak ass.  What’s more, you’ll actually start to metabolise your own muscles to sustain the other vital bodily functions.

Now, considering the above, if you’re training and the training results in muscle ‘damage’ (this is controlled damage through resistance or endurance, not a .50cal round to the thigh) then it would be wise to increase your protein intake post session. A handy way to do this is via a shake or have a lunchbox with some protein in it.

Keep in mind that foods claiming to be high in protein may need more investigation as the actual quantities of it to be eaten to get a decent amount of protein (think a ball park figure of 20-30g depending on bodyweight) may be very high.

For example;  A chicken breast would generally have about 25-30g of protein and 0g of carbohydrates.

A cup of cooked black beans (172g) generally contains 15g of protein and 12g of carbohydrates.

Now, consider your daily calorie intake needs and you’ll to factor this in.

Shakes are the exact same.  Some have very low carb levels, some have high levels, so do your research beforehand and choose the one that is most relevant to your training and nutritional needs.  Have a read of the nutritional info on the back to find out the exact contents of a serving.

HIIT vs Endurance - running is better for losing weight

There’s that word again – ‘weight’ – when they actually mean ‘body fat’.  So we’ll pretend they said ‘body fat’.

HIIT and Endurance training both have pros and cons.  Neither is ‘better’.  HIIT is an anaerobic activity.  Running is an aerobic activity.

Now, think of your heart rate like a rev counter on a car.  The higher the rev counter needl  is from idling levels the more fuel you’ll burn.

Anaerobic activities require more energy in a shorter period i.e; sprinting.  This means you work at a much higher level for a shorter period of time.  Your rev counter needle spikes high and also takes a period of time to come back down to idling.  Anytime the rev counter is above the idling level it’s burning fuel at a higher rate.  The needle falling back to idling is the ‘after burn’ period post training and can last anything up to 3 hours depending on the length and intensity of the session.

Aerobic activities, like running, don’t require the needle to be pushed higher and as such burn fuel at a slower rate but can also allow you to work longer, burning fuel all the time.

If you were to compare the average heart rates for each type of training the anaerobic would be very high for a short period and the aerobic would be moderately high for a prolonged period.  From a calorie burn perspective, on paper they would be similar, on average.

Here’s the kicker… the body is lazy and falls into a routine easily.  With the predictability of an aerobic session the body can hit a plateau where the energy output falls off and is less effective as the initial sessions.  It’s important to mix the two types of training up and keep the body ‘guessing’.

There’s a load of other pros and cons for each of the two types but the above is probably the simplest way to compare them.

Stay happy, mix up your training.  Change is good!

The longer the workout, the better the result

Not necessarily true.  It’s more of a quality over quantity….

Working on endurance?  Some steady state cardio like a run followed by interval sprints.  In and out in half the time compared to just running for 2 hours.

Working on Strength?  Load a bar up, do about 5-8 sets of  5 rep deadlifts with the heaviset weight possible (provided technique stays on point).  Do some core.  Session done!

Working on Power? Load up a medium to light bar.  Do explosive lifts focusing on maximum power output i.e; Clean and Jerk for about 30 – 50 reps with rest in between. Despite the mental fatigue you’ll be puffing hard and your power output will be completely depleted.

In, Quality, Out.  Done!

You Can only digest 30g of protein per meal

Not necessarily true.  It’s all down to your physical make up.  There’s no real value on what you can take in and process..

Only about 10% of the protein you take in is actually used for muscle repair. The rest goes on amino acids for essential bodily functions etc…

Anything left after that is either excreted via the nitrogen pool or stored as bodyfat.

A general rule of thumb would be 2-3g of protein per kilo of bodyweight on a daily basis.

Take a week off and you’ll have to start all over again


Take a week off every few weeks to actually become stronger, faster, more explosive etc…

By taking a week off you’re letting your body completely rest, refuel, repair and recover.

Of course, this is all provided you rest, hydrate and fuel up correctly.  A week on the session isn’t going to do you wonders

Young people lifting weights stunts their growth

Nope, not true.  In fact, it actually helps increase growth by encouraging the hormone testosterone to be produced in more abundance.

Now, the above is generally reserved for the male of the species but it’s also massively beneficial for both sexes from a stability, strength and coordination perspective.

Get people into lifting weights early but ensure they’re taught the correct movement patterns without any weight first.  Only when the patterns are down perfectly do you add resistance i.e; weights / bands etc…  Start with a small amount, repeat the movement patterns.  If they stay perfect then introduce a little bit more.  Even the slightest hint of a breakdown in the movement then you revert back to the last level of resistance that was doable without any compromise on movement.

Gradually the joints, muscles and relevant tissues become stronger, stable and more accustomed to the additional resistance and therefore allows you to gradually add more.

Barbells build strength better than Dumbells

Yeah, I’m gonna side with the barbell on this one.

You can load up the barbell with a lot more weight than the dumbbells and therefore you can subject the whole frame to a lot more.

Everything has a pro and a con.  Be careful, barbells can mask imbalances in the body between left and right sides and if you only train with a barbell it can overdevelop one of these and result in an injury.

Be sure to mix up the barbell work with the dumbbell work.

A general rule to go by if you want to keep it simple is to do your strength training with predominantly a barbell and some dumbbells while it’s the opposite if you’re looking for more hypertrophy (growth).  Now, there’ll be people up in arms over that last statement but if you’re new the game then you can’t really go wrong with it.

Drinking celery juice helps you lose weight

So does drinking water.

Drink more water.

If you just drank celery juice you’d lose more weight….. hair, skin cells, elasticity in the skin, muscle density, your immune system…. Need I go on?

Don’t be silly… wrap your wi……wait, wrong tagline.  Eh, Don’t just drink celery juice, stupid!

Excessive sweating is a sign of being unfit

Get asked this all the time.  No, it’s not… each to their own.

Sweating is the body’s way of cooling itself down, it’s as simple as that.  As we’re all different our bodies heat up and cool down to different degrees as we train.  When the body needs cooling it sweats.

If somebody is sweating excessively and they’re not doing too much to cause it then they’re either in a sauna or they could have an underlying issue.

There’s cases of the body starting to sweat earlier in ‘fitter’ people as it’s used to the exertion and so it tries to cool earlier to allow prolonged endurance but as a general rule of thumb it’s not a direct sign really of anything fitness related.

People really try to make this stuff complicated.  It’s quite simple really.  Eat less, move more, repeat for 8 weeks and hey presto you’ve just lost a shit tonne of body fat.

Now put down the celery juice and drag that ass outside and start moving it!

Check out Ronan's chat with Baz in full by pressing the play button on screen.


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