Workout Myth 1: Strength training will make you bulk.
Women don’t have enough testosterone when they’re young to bulk easily, let alone now. However, there are three body types. If you’re a mesomorph who gains muscle easily you could see results faster than someone else doing the same routine.
When we learned to strength train back in the day, most of us were given a 3 x 10 protocol, which is a bulk building protocol. Lifting light or lifting heavy, and actually a combination of the two is most ideal if you fear bulk.
Workout Myth 2: You can spot reduce.
You simply can’t. You can spot tone. Targeting an area to tone muscles will make those muscles stronger and firmer. You will still need to lose fat in order to see the tone and definition. Fat doesn’t go away on your belly for instance, because you do core exercises. You’ll tone the muscles underlying fat but still need a combination of dietary change and an exercise program that includes some cardio, weight training for major muscle groups
You can change your proportions with weight training better than you ever will with any cardio exercise alone.
Workout Myth 3: Burning calories should be your focus if you want to lose weight.
Science has put this old myth to the test. It isn’t at rest yet, unfortunately. Your hormones control your weight management. Exercise all you want and slash your caloric intake and you still won’t lose weight if you’re hormones are not balanced.
Essentially your body needs a healthy environment in which to thrive. When you create it and not one where you’re stressed due to too little or too much exercise, too much or too little food, and too little sleep your body naturally wants to be at ideal weight. You’re not a math problem.
Workout Myth 4: If you’re not seeing results you’re not working hard enough.
That’s the immediate response to a lack of results. You can lose weight without any exercise at all. It takes a small dose of the right exercise in order to help optimize hormones and wellbeing so your body can naturally become a fat burning machine. The media memes that tell you to work harder may in fact push a body out of balance further out and away from your goal.
Workout Myth 5: Exercise more and eat less to lose weight.
The reverse of this very old school message is your new truth. Eat more of the right foods, and exercise less by doing the right exercise at the right time. These are the variables that determine your success. If you’re still trying to eat less and exercise more, you’re slowing your body down then telling it to speed up and the response will be nothing. A body under stress will hold weight and fat to protect you.
Workout Myth 6: After 50 you should only be lifting light weights.
You’re 50 or beyond, you’re not broken.
This is true for those joints that you’ve injured or for special conditions like arthritis that may require special allowances. Otherwise, the older you are the more you want to retain strength and keep or increase your lean muscle. You’ll need some heavier weights to do that.
That said, always start light. A progressive exercise program will help you get safely to a heavier weight you can lift 10 or fewer times. You don’t need a lot of repetitions or more than two weight training sessions a week. They might only last 10 minutes in order to target all your major muscle groups.
Workout Myth 7: Sweating means you’re out of shape.
Sweating means your heating and cooling system is working. In fact, an early onset of sweat is something to be proud of. Sometimes failure to sweat is an indication that you haven’t done an adequate warm up. A good warm up increases your core temperature as well as your respiration and circulation. The better you warm up the more energy you will expend and it will seem more comfortable for you.
Workout Myth 8: If you don’t have at least 20 minutes, don’t bother.
We know now that it all counts. Being active at all is better than sitting. Non-Exercise Activity Time (NEAT) is credited by researchers for having more positive impact on reducing obesity than formal exercise sessions.
That means walking to lunch instead of driving or sitting at your desk to eat it counts. It also means if you have 10 minutes and you can do a very brief exercise session (somewhat lighter since you won’t have a long warm up) of intervals that alternate minutes or 30 seconds, you’ll boost your metabolism.
Though metabolism is often our key focus, you do so much good for your cognitive process too. You’ll concentrate, problem solve, and be more creative in the hours that follow these short energy bursts.
Workout Myth 9: Yoga builds bone density.
If you’re coming off the couch and into a yoga session that includes a lot of down dog you may experience a small increase in bone density. That said, once those initial gains are made you won’t make further gains in bone density. The science we know about increased bone density suggests that it requires overload that results in fatigue of a muscle group. Light weights can create that fatigue and a recent study suggests for the first six months at least a weight training newbie will reap bone building benefit.
Then the stimulus needs to increase. A Minimal Effective Stress (MES) must be met in order to have the remodeling effect on bone. You’ll want to increase your weights while using major muscle groups so you load the spine, hips, and wrists with weight you can lift 10 or fewer times once you have a good base foundation of strength. That is of course, provided you can do so without risk and in consideration of any special conditions.
Workout Myth 10: The more you exercise the more fit you will be.
You want to be better not tired thanks to exercise. The goal of exercise is to be better at life, not at exercise. If you enjoy hiking, skiing, and bike riding and by exercising you are able to do more of these types of activities then yes the statement holds true.
Simply adding more minutes, miles, another day of exercise or more exercises to a strength training routine will not create more fitness. Rest and recovery are a forgotten component of fitness. We’re a society of more. Too often, especially in the second half, we who love exercise (I hear you) need to remember that it isn’t the quantity of exercise it’s the quality that matters. Planning a variety of hard, moderate, and light exercise along with rest and recovery days will result in the best fitness. You should be recovering by playing more in life activities you love, not on the couch.
Workout Myth 11: Crunches are a good way to get a flat stomach.
Crunches use the abdominal muscles in a way that may help you feel you’re working those muscles, but aren’t the best way to flat. I don’t recommend crunches. In fact, I recommend most people stop doing crunches in exchange for other core exercises that both target the muscles better without risk of injury and that help build in rather than out.
Think about it. Doing a crunch creates a muscle in the core that comes out, not goes in. The risk of injury to the neck, and lower back are not worth the minimal results a crunch provides.
Workout Myth 12: You’re stuck with cellulite.
You are stuck only with the genetic predisposition for cellulite. You can change two other factors that lead to cellulite: nutrition and exercise.
The reason cellulite becomes a greater problem as we age is thinning skin and dehydrated almost scar-like connective tissue (fascia). If you’re also gaining fat and skip a few more workouts that you should, this combination things will increase the appearance of cellulite. You can target the areas where you have cellulite with exercise, and massage (self or other), along with stretching in a 4-step strategy that I teach. (You can get it in the Muscles in Minutes guide!) It helps you see results in about eight weeks.
I’d love to hear from you! Which one is the hardest myth to let go of?