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Myths and Facts about fitness
When it comes to getting in shape, there are some myths that have been lurking around for so long that they have almost come to be accepted as truth. Unless these myths are shattered and the truth is rediscovered, your commitment and hard work will lead you nowhere.
Lets take a look at them.
Myth No1: Aerobics is better for shaping up than weights.
Fact: To transform your physique, you must train with weights. That goes for women too.
You'll hear many people say this; in fact, you may even be one of them. "Yes, I exercise. I walk 25-30 minutes every day." Take a good look at these people, perhaps yourself. These people have looked like that for years together. They've made absolutely no transformation despite the fact that they've been doing those walks religiously for years! Sure, walking or climbing up fleets of stairs is better than just sitting around doing nothing. But, the best form of exercise for reshaping your body is weight training.
Through weight training, you can increase your metabolic rate (the rate at which your body burns fat) significantly. That's why weight training is superior to aerobic exercise for people who want to lose fat. It addresses the core problem - the rate at which your body uses energy (burns calories).
If you just do aerobic exercise, even if you eat less, you will only lose weight but will never be able to change the shape of your body. Your overall shape will always remain the same. You'll just end up looking like a smaller version of your old fat self - which is fine, if that's what you want. But that's not what you call getting in shape.
Myth No 2: If women lift weights, they'll get "bulky."
Fact: Weight training helps women create lean, toned bodies.
Women who train with weights along with doing aerobics/cardio activity can completely change the shape of their bodies. That's partially because fat takes up five times as much space as muscle. This means if you replace the fat on your hips and thighs with the same weight in muscle, your thighs and hips will get much smaller. Women worried about "bulking up" need to understand this. By replacing the fat with muscle, women can make amazing body transformations without feeling weak and unhealthy. Women should actually be concerned about not having enough muscle rather than too much.
Myth No 3: Weight training is only for the young.
Fact: People of all ages should be weight training.
If we don't work out, we lose muscle mass as we grow older. And believe it or not, this process starts kicking in at about the age of 30! This is when most men and women start seeing their body fat levels increase. When we lose muscle mass, we lose strength. When we lose strength, we start becoming fragile, weak, and prone to a host of physical disabilities. The good thing is that this is not inevitable. We can reverse the process of aging by weight training which will help older people maintain muscle mass, strength and flexibility. And you don't have to go through some type of special conditioning before you step into a weight room. Whether you are a beginner or you've been working out for years - if you're healthy, you are ready to step into a weight room NOW!
Myth no 4: Muscles grow while you're working out.
Fact: Muscles grow while you're resting and recuperating.
During workout, you're basically trying to damage the muscle fibres by overloading them. When that's done your body mobilizes to fix the damage. You can't start damaging the muscle again before it has had enough time to recover and rebuild. This will definitely short-circuit the recovery process and that's not good. Recovery through rest and a healthy diet is essential.
Myth No 5: A certain number of sets and reps get the job done
Fact: High-intensity effort produces the best results.
Sure, even the most casual weight-training program will improve your overall health and help you burn calories. But if your goal is to make a significant transformation, then you will have to focus on pushing yourself further than you've ever pushed yourself before. We're not referring to how many hours a day you spend in the gym, we're taking about training with heart and soul, training with the kind of intensity which will force your muscles to adapt and grow. You may think you're pushing yourself enough, but you probably aren't.
Myth No 6: To lose fat and improve your body, don't eat.
Fact: To build a lean, healthy body, you have to eat!
Another thing we hear far too often - "I'm not eating much, but I'm still not losing!" Honestly, you are losing; you're losing the battle. If you try to starve in an effort to lose body fat you're playing a game you can never win. For best results, work with your body, not against it.
Your body's "survival mechanism" is to lower your metabolic rate when you starve it. What does that mean in lay terms? Well, your body understands that you don't intend to feed it much through the day. So whatever you feed it, it stores in the body and this decreases the rate at which it burns fat. But that's not all. Your body also begins to lose muscle tissue. You feel tired, weak and irritable. Your immune system suffers. You develop nutrient deficiencies and literally thousands of your body's natural metabolic processes start to misfire. Within days, your body will sound an alarm of emergency and the next thing you know your eating everything in sight: ice-creams, chips, cookies, etc.
How many times has this happened to us? Many. Yet, we follow the same principles over and over and end up getting fatter each time around. Once again, to change the way you look, permanently, you have to change the way you think, and you must accept that there is no easy way out. You have to change your lifestyle and you need plenty of good quality nutrition through the day to build a better-looking, healthier body.
Myth # 7: Eating right means three "square meals" a day.
Fact: Eating 4-6 balanced, nutritious meals a day is the right way.
Now that you know that starving is not the best way to lose body fat and you have to "eat right" in order to transform you body, so let's understand what eating "right" means. You'll hear many men and women saying, "if you want to lose weight you have to give up those in-between snacks. They are the worst."
We don't know exactly where that idea of "three meals a day is best" comes from, but it wasn't the way our ancestors ate. If you look at how humans evolved, you'll see that our long-lost relatives were "frequent feeders", not bingers.
It's revealing to take a look at the animal kingdom and notice the relationship between creatures' eating patterns and their body types. At one end of the spectrum are animals that load up on large amounts of food at one meal and then go for long periods without eating. Bears are a prime example. They have huge body fat storage compartments. At the other end of the spectrum are the frequent feeders that eat almost constantly but in far lesser amounts. Horses are a prime example. Relatively speaking, they have very low body fat and lots of lean muscle.
It seems pretty clear how we should be eating.
Eating small, balanced meals throughout the day helps convince your body and mind that there is no famine around the corner. Studies also show that eating often accelerates the metabolism, so you burn more calories. The food you eat is also more efficiently absorbed and processed by the body.
Myth No 8: High-carbohydrate, low-fat diets work best.
Fact: People are becoming fat from a "carbohydrate overdose".
People have fallen prey to the multi-million dollar "fat-free" campaign and have started eating more and more carbohydrates. Result? We continue to see a rise in the incidence of obesity. The fact is, lowering your dietary fat intake and increasing carbohydrate consumption is not the best way to get lean and healthy.
Remember those long-lost relatives we talked about previously? They were hunters/gatherers. They ate a very protein-rich diet. They didn't eat breads, biscuits and chocolates. And according to anthropologists, they were strong, had well-formed bones, strong teeth, and were rarely overly fat.
The fact is that our bodies work best with a balance of protein, carbohydrates and healthy fats. Protein is essential for building healthier muscles and maintaining a strong immune system.
A fact that will be argued very strongly but needs mention is that fruits are a source of carbohydrate and must be controlled tightly when you're trying to lose body fat. Fruit contains a simple sugar called fructose, which because of its molecular structure, converts readily in the liver into a long-chain triglyceride (a fat). Put another way, fructose is metabolised as a fat in the body. You'll notice an incredible difference when you limit fruits and juices to either breakfast or post-workout when your body is low on sugar.
True, fruits are high in vitamins, minerals and fibre, but so are natural, complex carbohydrates. If you want to get lean and shed body fat, avoid too much fruit. You can have some post-workout or a small serving at breakfast