I’ve been a personal trainer for well over thirty years and it never ceases to amaze me how some of the mainstream media and public still believe certain myths about diet and exercise as fact. So what I will try to do here is “debunk the funk” about some of the most common myths that many people believe to be true. We all have our excuses not to workout or to stay out of the gym but in order to see great results, we need to STOP making excuses, and as my company slogan says- “Get over it”.

So I decided to list the most common exercise myths in the order of what I believe to be the most rediculous.

1) “Lifting heavy weights or lifting any weights makes you bulky.”

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This aggravates me more as a personal trainer than any of the other myths on the list. I can point out many men under 150 pounds that can lift far more weight than I can. They are actually skinny. So what makes someone bulky you ask? It’s simple: Your Fork! Weight lifting and the type of results you want to achieve all depends on how you workout with those weights. So many woman are tricked into this “bulky belief” which robs them of so many benefits, such as greater bone density to prevent osteoporosis, strength that helps them in everyday life and vital hormone and immune system stabilization that only hard work can attain as we age. Lastly, an increase in metabolism at rest, due to an increase in lean tissue (not bulky fat). Muscle cells have something called a mitochondria which is the powerhouse of the cell and uses energy. With an efficient mitochondria a person can burn more calories at rest. Here’s more info on weight training’s benefits.

2) “Too much muscle turns into fat”

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This one is so crazy that it doesn’t even warrant much of an explanation. Muscle is muscle it can not turn into fat. What makes this seem true is many of the bodybuilders and football players continue to eat like they did when they were competing and put on weight when they quit because their eating habits do not change.

3) “If I don’t eat I will lose more weight”

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This is true at first, however after 24hrs your body begins to slow the metabolism to accommodate for the lower caloric intake and before you know it you’ll find yourself putting weight on by eating just a Tic Tac. So try to aim for a daily caloric deficit of 300 calories below your maintenance. This will prevent the body from slowing the metabolism. As a general rule of thumb, a good way to find a starting point to determine your daily caloric intake is to take your body weight and multiply it by 15. Realize some people may require more or less. This is only a starting point and a safe amount of weight loss per week is 1-2lbs. If you lose more than 3 pounds in a week you run the risk of slowing your metabolism. Here’s some good information about nutrition and personal fitness.

4) “I just want to work my stomach so I can spot reduce”.

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Are you sure??
The initial feeling of spot reducing that many new exercisers experience is the toning of a muscle that was not used for a very long time. After that, all one can do is build that muscle and not spot reduce the fat around it. Unfortunately when God created us, he made us all unique and we all deposit fat differently. Some around the stomach, some around the hips and butt and others between the ears. The ones that develop fat between the ears will never lose weight because they continually believe these crazy myths and try to replace hard work and dedication to a healthy lifestyle with fad diets, pills and potions and other drugs that make your stomach look…down right nasty.

4) “Stretch before you workout”

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Although I am a big believer in stretching it is also possible to over stretch and impede performance. In sport a muscle requires a certain amount stretch reflex to attain maximum speed and performance. By over stretching an athlete can impede this reflex and slow his or herself down or worse cause injury. Light stretching on a daily basis before and after exercise or sport is best. Stretching should be relaxing and not painful.

5) “Don’t eat before you workout”

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This school of thought is correct when it refers to a large meal, however studies have found that small feedings a half hour before exercise actually helps to limit fatigue and muscle tissue breakdown. Realize it is not advisable to eat prior to a competitive event and it’s a good idea to speak to your coach or nutritionist if you are competing in any activity.

6) “Don’t eat fatty foods”

This pertains mostly to trans fat or saturated fats. The fats contained in walnuts, seeds, avocados, fish and oils such as olive oil are excellent for maintaining health and should not be avoided unless there is a medical reason why.

Well I hope this information helps and as always if you are under the care of a doctor or nutritionist always ask them what to do before adding or changing your diet and before beginning an exercise program.