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Bringing Truth to 3 Popular Fitness Myths

Updated: Apr 5, 2022

1. Cardio Is The Best Weight Loss Tool

The fitness craze first became popular a long time ago, as a way for people to lose weight and become healthier. There was an emphasis on cardio such as kickboxing video tapes (who remembers Tae Bo?!), aerobic classes, and of course, jogging and calisthenics. While this worked for a while, science has since come a long way, and we are now finding new and improved ways to build strong, healthy, and beautiful bodies.

Cardio is an excellent way to improve cardiovascular health and lung capacity, in addition to a long list of other health benefits. It's an incredible weight loss tool, but, ultimately, works best as a supplement alongside another form of training.

Weight lifting.

Yes. Weight lifting is the hero when it comes to weight loss. How does this make sense? Doesn't lifting weights make you bulky and burn few calories?

Truth is, if done properly, lifting weights can help maintain and build muscle. Muscle tissue is extremely metabolically expensive, meaning it demands a lot of energy and helps us to burn more calories when at work and resting. Think of having lean muscle tissue like having a sports car engine. It just burns through fuel! On the other hand, cardio may burn a lot of calories, but it doesn't help maintain (or build) muscle. It can have the opposite effect by making your body run efficiently while burning a lot of calories, and actually lower metabolism to compensate for all the calories burner. After all, the human body is designed for survival and burning a lot of calories on a regular basis means that metabolism must slow to prevent us from becoming too fragile and weak.

That said, the key to weight loss is NOT just cardio. However, a focus on lifting weights 3-5 times per week and using cardio as a supplement is ideal!

2. Lifting Weights Makes You Bulky

As a fitness trainer, I can't tell you how many people I've helped who are hesitant to lift heavy weights out of fear of putting on too much muscle or becoming "bulky". Actually, I used to be one of those people!

It wasn't until I started lifting weights myself, each of them serving a different purpose. You can use weights to train strength, endurance, speed, power, or hypertrophy (building muscle). The differentiator is the volume (sets and reps), rest periods, speed, and of course, the weight selected. When it comes to gaining muscle or aesthetics, your diet will be a key player in how your body responds to the type of weight lifting (and training in general) you choose to do. In terms of bulking with weight lifting, you would need to be following a specific, periodized

hypertrophy program in conjunction with a substantial calorie surplus to put on muscle or "bulk". Even so, the average female can naturally gain 0.5-1 lbs of lean muscle per month and the average man approximately 1-2 lbs per month.

To conclude, gaining muscle while following a strict diet and exercise protocol is a very slow process that takes consistency, patience, and dedication. So...fear not the heavy weights! Physical changes are slow and changing course of action is always a possibility.

3. Crunches and Twists Will Give You Abs

Ab burnouts, crunches, Russian twists, you name it! Repetitive ab exercises that create that sought-after "burn" might leave you feeling like you did the best possible workout for some "6-pack" abs but there may be a more efficient way to achieve this!

The burn that is felt with exercises such as crunches and twists is simply a buildup of lactic acid in the muscle. "The burn" is a great feeling because it usually appears when we are doing challenging exercises for an extended period of time and can make us feel like we accomplished what we came for. Unfortunately (or fortunately!) "the burn" is not an accurate indicator of making progress in the gym! Lactic acid will build up in any muscle that is repeatedly contracted for a period of time and does not indicate growth or tearing of muscle tissue. While many of us are after "the burn" in the gym because it gives us a sense of accomplishment, a more realistic goal that would indicate progress is striving for progressive overload with each exercise on a weekly basis. This could be anything from heavier weight, more sets, reps, tension, etc.

Using exercise as a way to achieve abs can be helpful, however, it is much more realistic to use them as a means to achieve a strong core and strong body! Of course, hypertrophy of the ab muscles can help with the appearance, but the more adipose tissue that lay in this area, the less visible they will be. This means diet and proper nutrition (and genetics!) are key when it comes to achieving abs.

So the truth? Ab exercises are great for achieving a strong core and a strong body, but won't affect the appearance of a "6-pack" or "11 lines" abs as much as proper nutrition and fat loss will.

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