Myths of exercise: The ones to do and ones not to do

Published 9:25 am Friday, July 19, 2013

Through the years I’ve received innumerable fitness and nutrition questions.

In my industry, there’s not a lack of information, but too much. And much is false or misleading at best. Today I’d like to dispel some popular exercise myths and tell you why they aren’t true.

Myth 1. Lifting weights (particularly if you’re a woman) will make you bulk up.

Sign up for our daily email newsletter

Get the latest news sent to your inbox

I was once lead trainer to L.H. Fields modeling agency. Among the models I trained were five who traveled all over the world. Each one of these models would tell you they worked strenuously in the weight room. Adding extra muscle size requires a specific type of lifting, but even with that, women don’t have necessary levels of the male hormone, testosterone to add much muscle size.

Myth 2. You should train abdominal muscles every day.

I get this one a lot. Abs like every other skeletal muscle, need rest to tone and tighten. I had a friend once who one day decided he was going to get in shape. He started running five miles most every day and worked out in the weight room, but he said his abs were still loose and flabby. I asked about his routine, and he said he worked his abs every day, because that’s what he’d heard. I told him to work them no more than three days a week.

In just a few weeks he told me that for the first time his abs were firm.

Myth 3. Exercise turns fat into muscle. Muscles are made up of cells called muscle fibers. These cells are tube-like structures that run the long length of muscles. Adipocytes or fat cells, are spheres containing lipids. Also, muscle is 70-75 percent water, while fat is 14-22 percent. Not only can fat not turn into muscle, but if you stop working out, muscle can’t turn into fat. Some folks believe this, because once not exercising, muscle that’s not toned will tend to sag and fat can accumulate on top of muscles.