Health Corner – Nov. 20, 2015

by Marissa Pierce, CFT Contributing writer

There are many fitness myths that are thrown around so much they are often mistaken for truths. Here are five of the most common and some facts to bust those myths:

1. “I’m trying to lose weight so I’m going to do cardio and not lift weights.”

Cardio is a very important component of being physically fit. However, contrary to popular belief, sweating away hours on the treadmill is not going to get you where you want to be. While cardio is effective to a point, you have to remember that it not only burns fat but muscle as well. The more lean muscle you have, the less fat you will have. Muscle also burns a lot of calories, even when you are resting. So instead of doing endless cardio and burning some of your muscle with your fat, it is much better to focus on resistance training to build up muscle while burning fat at the same time. Cardio in limited amounts has its place, but don’t underestimate the importance of weight lifting.

2. “Lifting weights will make me bulky.”

Resistance training will help you build lean muscle and burn fat in the process, but just lifting weights will not make you bulky. Women, for example, have lower testosterone levels than men, making it harder for them to build muscle mass. While it is easier for some people to build muscle than others, it takes a very specific diet to gain large amounts of muscle mass. Also, for those that are new to resistance training, do not be afraid to pick up weights heavier than five pounds. As long as you do not have any physical limitations, you should be performing exercises with a weight that challenges you after a few repetitions.

3. “I workout so I can eat whatever I want.”

This is a fatal mistake that almost everyone has made at some point or another. Most people enjoy eating good food, and they think because they workout they can eat anything and everything. Although technically this is true, it is the volume of food that needs to be monitored. You might be amazed by how many calories you consume on a daily basis if you actually log what you eat. Now think about how many calories you burned at the gym. How do those numbers compare?

4. “Eating healthy is too expensive.”

It seems like this is the number-one excuse for people not changing their eating habits. If you think about it, eating can be rather expensive regardless of what food you choose. However, take a look at exactly what food you are purchasing. Are you stopping at the Burger King drive-thru a couple times a week? Do you regularly get a soda and candy bar when you stop to fuel up your car? When you buy groceries, do you spend a lot of money on junk food or frozen dinners? By spending less on fast and convenient foods, you will have enough money to spend on healthy foods such as vegetables and lean turkey meat.

5. “I’m doing a lot of ab exercises because I want to lose my stomach fat.”

Unfortunately, there is no way to spot reduce fat. In order to lose fat on a specific part of your body, you have to lower your overall body fat percentage. However, if you are trying to achieve more defined abs, doing ab exercises will allow you to appear more toned once you do lower your overall body fat percentage.

Those are just a few myths you may have heard before. The most important thing to remember is that it is your health you are dealing with, so if you have any questions, it is a good idea to conduct some research on your own or to consult a professional.

(Marissa Pierce is a certified fitness trainer and KA contributing writer.)