Slide background

Myths and Misconceptions

There are a lot of misconceptions and myths out there on anatomy and physiology that have prevented many people from reaching their goals. The problem is that people don’t know how their body works, what to feed it and how important rest is. My aim with all my clients is to provide them with all the information they require to be able to do this on their own one day. Although some old fitness fictions, such as no pain, no gain and spot reducing are fading fast, plenty of popular exercise misconceptions still exist. Here are some of the most common exercise myths as well as the not-so-common facts based on current exercise research.

  • Exercise myth #1: if you’re not going to work out hard and often, exercise is a waste of time

    This kind of thinking keeps a lot of people from maintaining or even starting an exercise program. Research continues to show that any exercise is better than none. For example, regular walking or gardening for as little as an hour a week has been shown to reduce the risk of heart disease.

  • Exercise myth #2: exercising with light weights and a lot of reps will get me toned and defined

    Training with light weights and high reps will build muscle endurance. This may be helpful especially if you participate in a sport that requires muscular endurance. However if your goal is to firm up your arms and butt, light weights won’t help.

    Certainly your muscles will be firmer than those of an untrained person, however the real muscle ‘tone’ will occur when you lift heavy weights with low reps. The muscle fibers that have the ability to really grow and become visibly firm are the ones that are recruited only when we lift a challenging weight.

    If your goal is to get defined, you should also incorporate a healthy diet and add some cardiovascular exercise.

  • Exercise myth #3: crunches and other ab exercises will flatten your stomach

    Crunches alone won’t flatten your stomach, because there are no exercises to reduce fat in specific areas of your body. Basically, you can’t spot reduce – your body decides where to store fat and a lot of that is based on your genetics. The best way to get a flat stomach, then, is to burn calories to reduce fat in the first place. Crunches will simply tone areas under the fat, and won’t reduce the fat there on their own.

    Exercise in general will burn calories and reduce body fat overall. Crunches burn calories, so performing large numbers of them every day will contribute to weight loss, but not as effectively as cardio.

  • Exercise myth #4: you will burn more fat if you exercise longer at a lower Intensity

    The most important focus in exercise and fat weight control is not the percentage of exercise energy coming from fat but the total energy used, or how many calories are burned during the activity. The faster you walk, step or run, for example, the more calories you use per minute.

    However, high-intensity exercise is difficult to sustain if you are just beginning or returning to exercise, so you may not exercise very long at this level. It is safer, and more practical, to start out at a lower intensity and work your way up gradually

  • Exercise myth #5: if you stop working out, your muscle turns to fat

    This myth probably originated from people seeing toned, muscular athletes develop some extra layers of padding with age. What actually happens is that when you stop working out, you rapidly lose muscle and gain fat, potentially giving the appearance that muscle is turning into fat.

    As most people stop working out, they most often don’t cut back on the calories they were eating. With the scales showing more energy in than out, the energy is eventually stored as fat. Simply, they’re two different types of cells, Muscle doesn’t turn into fat and fat doesn’t turn into muscle.”

  • Exercise myth #6: women who weight train will bulk up

    For a woman to bulk up, it takes a tremendous amount of weight training, more so than men. Men who work out a lot may bulk up, but that is due to their level of the anabolic hormone testosterone. Women produce this hormone too, but in much smaller quantity. So the average woman, therefore, should not be concerned.

    Women who do strength training may gain some mass, but they will lose an equivalent amount of mass in fat. Effectively, he said, they’re trading fat for muscle. That extra muscle mass will help them burn the extra fat.”

  • Exercise myth #7: train until you feel the burn

    The burn is a simple chemical reaction within the muscle fibers. It is an excessive build up of hydrogen ions that need to be removed through oxygen consumption. The muscles reach temporary failure, and can not engage whilst the hydrogen is still within the muscle.

    If you are an endurance athlete or perform feats of endurance, then lactate (burn) tolerance is required. However if you want to get strong/toned/bigger muscles then the burn will keep you from achieving that goal.

    Even if you feel the burn in your arms then you go to train legs, the same blood you used will still be contaminated with excessive hydrogen. So save the burn for your last set of your last exercise.

  • Exercise myth #8: if you exercise long and hard enough, you will always get the results you want

    In reality, genetics plays an important role in how people respond to exercise. Studies have shown a wide variation in how different exercisers respond to the same training program. Your development of strength, speed and endurance may be very different from that of other people you know. You may not get the body of Arnold or Elle, but you will get closer to it than you
    are now.

    Just remember that overtraining will take you away from your goals. Additionally, overtraining results in an injury, than you may find yourself back to square one.

  • Exercise myth #9: exercise is one sure way to lose all the weight you desire

    As with all responses to exercise, weight gain or loss is impacted by many factors, including dietary intake and genetics. All individuals will not lose the same amount of weight on the same exercise program. It is possible to be active and overweight.

    However, although exercise alone cannot guarantee your ideal weight, regular physical activity is one of the most important factors for successful long-term weight management.

  • Exercise myth #10: overweight people are unlikely to benefit much from exercise

    Studies show that obese people who participate in regular exercise programs have a lower risk of all-cause mortality than sedentary individuals, regardless of weight. Both men and women of all sizes and fitness levels can improve their health with modest increases in activity.

Contact me if you’d like to any further clarification on any of these or any other myths you may have been told by a friend of yours. I love to teach people and see them achieve their goals and empower them with the knowledge to make the right choices for the rest of their life. Knowledge is the potential for power, so arm yourself with the facts so you can then make an informed decision on your fitness goals.