Womens Fitness Myths

By: Seth Albright

I bet at one point and time in your life, you believed in the easter bunny, the tooth fairy, or santa claus. Later in life, you found out this belief was false. I am willing to bet you believe in some fitness myths that simply are not true. Let's have a look at some of the most common myths and the underlying truths to them.

1. I don't lift weights because I don't want to bulk up.

After training hundreds of women, giving dozens of seminars, and speaking with still hundreds more about working out, this is the most common statement I get from women about why they do not strength train. The good news is, women only have about one-third the testosterone a male has therefore making it highly unlikely you will bulk up. You say; the first thing that comes to mind is all these women I see on TV are huge with bulky muscles. First of all, these women have a very unique gene set. Secondly, they are taking testosterone and growth hormone injections. Thirdly, they are training hours a day under the close scrutiny of a personal trainer and a nutritionist. So, the good news is you do not have to worry about bulking up. The facts are, increasing lean muscle mass from strength training will: 1.Decrease your body fat. 2.Make your body more firm and compact. 3.Increase your metabolism. 4.Increase your energy. Take a look at some of these celebrities that strength train frequently: Jennifer Garner, Madonna, Jennifer Love Hewitt, Fergie, any of the Desperate Housewives. The list goes on and on. Do any of these women look bulky? Not hardly. Most of these women are the epitome of the body every woman wants to have. Lastly, you say; I can feel my arms getting bigger, my legs getting wider, and so forth on. Do not rely on a subjective feeling. Instead get cold hard objective data. I have dealt with this situation before. Have your measurements taken by a professional and see for yourself. BUSTED!

2. Higher repetitions will help me tone up.

Higher repetitions are a component of muscular endurance. While muscular endurance is an important part of overall physical fitness, it is not a part of muscular strength. Muscular strength is dependent upon stressing the muscles enough for them to adapt and change to work more efficiently. When they become more efficient, this is where the increase in strength and lean muscle mass occurs. Think of it this way; you can carry a five pound bag of groceries up and down the street probably for hours on end. However, replace that five pound grocery bag with a sixty pound sand bag. You are going to: 1.use more energy. 2.In turn, burn more fat. 3.Increase lean muscle mass. 4.Look more firm and TONE. BUSTED!

3. I'm turning fat into muscle.

Really? Can you turn a hand into a foot? Can you turn a piece of junk clunker car into a Cadillac Escalade? If it were only that easy, but I don't think so. Fat cells and muscle cells are two separate entities with their own structural and chemical composition. Without getting into deep anatomy and physiology here, I'll explain on the most basic level. Fat cells are nothing more than extra stored energy. They can do three things. They can get smaller by your body using fat as energy. They can stay the same size when there is an equal energy balance. Lastly, they can get bigger when there is a positive energy balance; from overeating. Muscle cells function is to produce movement, deliver blood, and deliver oxygen. They can either get stronger, from strength training, known as muscle hypertrophy. They can atrophy, which means they get smaller or destroyed. Lastly they can stay the same. They are totally unrelated in the way they are used physiologically. So you see, even though when you are losing fat and putting on muscle, this has the appearance that you are turning fat into muscle. However, what is really happening is that you are increasing the amount of lean tissue in your body, and your body is dropping body fat, revealing the lean tissue that was previously covered up body fat. BUSTED!

4. If I do enough situps, I will have a flat, firm stomach.

If that were the case, everybody would look great in a bikini. Unfortunately, walk down any beach in the United States and you will know this is not true. Everybody would have these lame ab machines that you see on TV infomercials, and there would be no reason for anybody to undergo any fitness training whatsoever except for situps. Is the picture becoming much clearer? Unfortunately, this myth is rampant in gyms and homes across America. The fact is that in order to a flat, firm stomach, there is much more to the puzzle than doing countless situps. It is true that performing correct situps, the core abdominal muscles will become stronger which is a good thing. However, performing endless situps hoping to get the dream stomach will only end in demotivating frustration and disappointment. There are certain keys that must be achieved to get a flat, firm, tone stomach: 1.Reduction in body fat is the only way the muscles of the stomach will show. 2.Proper nutrition must consistently be maintained to decrease the amount of body fat. 3.Proper exercises of the abdominal must be performed correctly and consistently. 4.Lean muscle mass must be increased to boost metabolism and decrease body fat. Pretty simply huh? BUSTED!

5. Lower intensity exercise will have me in my fat burning zone.

Oh please, and gas will be five cents a gallon too right? The truth is your body is always using energy to even maintain life. A combination of fats, carbohydrates, and protein is always being used by the body for energy AT THE SAME TIME. It is to bad the body can't use one energy source at at a time. Then, you could truly be in the fat burning zone. However, that is just wishful thinking. The body has complex physiological processes it undergoes when using energy. During aerobic exercise the body is using all three energy systems, but mainly carbohyrdates. Here are the keys: 1.The harder you are working, the more energy you use. 2.The more energy you use, the more calories you expend. 3.The more calories you expend, the more weight you lose as long as you are in a negative energy balance: Taking in less energy than you are expending. ANOTHER MYTH BUSTED!

In part two, we will cover myths 6-10.

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