Everyone has heard about the myths associated with the fitness industry. Even people who don’t work out have heard most of them. Statements like “Athletes like baseball players and soccer players shouldn’t lift weights because it will make them slow and tight.” “You should lose the bulk of your weight before you start to weight train.” “I lift weight using high reps to shape and tone my muscles.” “Eating a diet high in protein will cause kidney and liver damage.


Myth: Training your abs using the right machines or exercises will give you the washboard abs you want

     You can do abs until you’re blue in the face – I don’t care if you do 1000 sit ups three times a day. If you don’t get rid of the fat covering the abdominal wall, you aren’t going to see any change. There is no magical exercise or combination of exercises that will magically dive your abs.

     There is no such thing as spot reduction. This is very important. How fast and where we lose weight is genetically programmed, and the only way to lose body fat is to eat correctly.


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Myth: You should lose weight before you start to train with weights or you’ll just bulk up.

     This is another one that’s been around a long time. Lifting weights is exactly what you want to do if you’re overweight. Actually if you had to choose only one type of exercise, weight training would be it by a long shot. 

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Myth: Cardio is more important than weight training when losing weight, isn’t it?

     There are two things to keep in mind about cardio when losing weight. One is that it doesn’t build muscle. It also doesn’t perverse muscle when losing weight. Why is this important? As we lose weight, we also lose muscle along with fat, especially on a low calorie diet. It’s muscle that drives metabolism. The only way to preserve or build muscle, which is what you really want and need to get lean, is through weight training.

Myth: If you want to shape and tone your muscles, you should do high reps.

     There are two myths contained in this statement. It’s still a widespread misconception that certain exercises are considered “shaping exercises. It’s still widely accepted that preacher curls helped build the bottom half of the bicep. Unfortunately, it is physiologically impossible to change the shape of any muscle in our bodies. If it were possible we would all be doing it. If you have high thin calf muscles, you are always going to have high calf muscles that are on the thin side.

     “I want to make my muscles look more toned so I’m doing more reps.” You can look more “cut”, more “shredded”, more “define”, but it is impossible to appear more toned. Muscle tone is the amount of tension a muscle exerts at rest.


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Myth: I’m not sore today so I must not have had a good workout yesterday

     If you are sore in the days following a workout, it might mean you had a good workout, but not being sore in the days after a workout has nothing to do with whether or not you had a good workout. You should be paying attention to the intensity and productivity of your workout. Were your sets done with 100% intensity? In other words, did you take your working sets to failure using proper form? Did you increase the amount of weights or did you increase the number of reps with a particular weight?

     If you’re not sore, don’t worry about it. Pay attention to intensity levels, productivity and how you feel instead.


Myth: Eating a diet high in protein will damage your kidneys and liver.

     This one isn’t as common as it once was, but it’s still a classic. There isn’t one study to support this myth either. No diet high in protein will harm the liver or the kidneys in a healthy individual. However, there is a mound of evidence supporting the benefits of high protein diets. Protein has many positive effects. If you do not consume enough protein you will not only put a halt to your efforts to have a leaner more muscular body, you can actually loose some of the muscle you’re working so hard to get.


Myth: Strength training is too dangerous and will stunt the growth of children.

     These days, if a child doesn’t start playing sports in the primary grades, they are going to be behind. Parents should enroll their young children into sports like soccer, basketball and others. Some parents have their children playing three or more sports a year, but these same parents would never consider putting their child into a strength training routine. Numerous studies have shown the benefit of strength training, including increased bone density and development, injury prevention and improved athletic performance.


Myth: After 96 hours of training muscle will start to lose its size and strength.

     Training frequency, which is determined by your recovery ability, is often a forgotten part of most training protocols. Some people can handle a high volume of training and others can only handle a minimal amount. The average person on a four day split routine with 100% intensity, will need between six days and 10 days off between body parts.


Myth: Athletes who playing sports like baseball, soccer and basketball should not lift weights because it will make them slow and tight.

     As far as athletes becoming tight, research has shown that full range progressive resistance training is a great way to develop functional flexibility. Research has also shown the people who weight train properly, but don’t stretch are more flexible than those who don’t train or stretch.


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