Top Ten Exercise Myths
1. You can exercise away – ‘spot reduce’ - fat deposits.
Unfortunately, we can’t target our problem areas through exercise. Exercise can strengthen specific muscle groups like abs and thighs, but can’t make the fat on top of those muscles go away. Fat will disappear only when we create a calorie deficit by eating less and moving more. Fat tends to be lost from problem areas last of all!
2. Lifting weights will give women big, bulky muscles.
No, most women don’t have the hormones necessary to ‘bulk up’. Weightlifting makes most women smaller and tighter, not bigger and bulkier.
3. You burn more fat by exercising longer at a lower intensity – the myth of the ’fat-burning zone’.
No, we burn a higher percentage
of fat as a fuel source when working at lower intensities, but we burn more total
calories when exercising at higher intensities. At the end of the day, it’s calories in versus calories out that matters.
4. If the scale goes up a few pounds when you begin exercising, it’s due to adding muscle.
No, it’s generally due to water retention from sore muscles or changed eating habits. You won’t build muscle doing cardio exercise, so starting a biking, walking, or elliptical program won’t result in a muscle gain. Strength-training will add muscle, but it takes considerable time and hard work for a woman to add even a few pounds of muscle. And muscle doesn’t ‘weigh more than fat’ – a pound of muscle is smaller and denser than a pound of fat and takes up about 1/3 the space, but the two weigh the same amount.
5. If you exercise, fat will turn to muscle and if you stop exercising, muscle will turn to fat.
No, fat and muscle are two separate and distinct kinds of tissue and can’t ‘turn into’ the other. But if you stop exercising, you may gain fat because you’re burning fewer calories!
6. The best time to exercise is in the morning.
No, the best time to exercise is whenever you can do it. There isn’t any proof that exercise done first thing in the morning burns any more calories. Of course, if you exercise in the morning, then you get it done regardless of what unexpected events may happen later in the day. But the most important thing is that we just do it!
7. If you’re not sore after a workout, then you didn't work out hard enough.
No, exercise doesn’t have to hurt in order to be effective or good for you.
8. Wait to start your exercise program until you’ve lost some weight.
No, studies show that the most successful losers and long-term maintainers exercised consistently from the beginning of their weight loss. There are exercises that people of ANY size can do!
9. You can eat anything you want as long as you exercise.
No, the bottom line for weight loss is calories in versus calories out. You can wipe out any calorie deficit that you create through exercise by eating too much. Plus you want to be eating high-quality, nutritious foods to fuel your workouts. What and how much you eat matters a lot!
10. The more exercise, the better.
It is possible to overtrain, which can result in illness or injury. If you’re not sure how much exercise you should be doing, a good guideline is the latest government recommendation of 60 to 90 minutes of moderate to vigorous exercise on most days for weight loss and maintenance. Dietary Guidelines for Americans 2005