Training Myths Part 1

The health and fitness industry is full of myths and fallacies regarding training mostly based on emotion. Thing is some people believe in these so much you could almost mistake it for another religion.

All my Personal Training and Boot Camp training programs are based on scientific principles and not somebody’s unfounded emotional opintion or some massive supplement company out to make a quick buck by manipulating  the truth. Remember these companies pay marketing houses massive amounts of money to help relieve you of your hard earned cash. So oftentimes the only thing losing weight is your wallet!

Over the next few articles I’m going to cover some common myths that I’ve come accross recently with regards to training and nutrition. I’ll start with a quick list a quick list of the more common ones before I pull it apart and give your the TRUTH.

  1. Women who lift weights get big bulky muscles
  2. Your lean toned muscles will turn to fat if you stop lifting weight
  3. Specific exercises are great for toning muscles
  4. Specific exercises are great for ‘spot reduction’
  5. Lifting light weights for high reps is great for ‘toning’
  6. Men can get ‘muscle bound’ and can’t move around
  7. Men and women need different exercise programs
  8. Children should not lift weights
  9. Specific exercises help ‘shape’ a muscle
  10. Specific exercises can help ‘cut up’ a muscle
  11. You can train different ections of a muscle
  12. You can eat and drink protein powders to build extra muscle
  13. You ‘must’ take supplements to enhance muscle strength, power and size
  14. You can take fat metabolisers, fat burning pills anduse cellulite cream to burn unwanted body fat
  15. You should go on a diet if you want to lose weight
  16. You should stop strength training if you are pregnant
  17. You should not lift weights if you have arthritis
  18. You should not lift weights if you have diabetes
Ok so lets take a closer look at each of these training myths. I’m going to start with the one I hear most often at the moment:

Women who lift weights get big bulky muscles

Ok so lets knock this one on the head straight away. Women do not have the neccessary levels of testosterone and growth hormone required to increase lean muscle mass dramtically naturally. The majority of women only have the ability to replace the muscle tissue they have lost naturally since the age of about 20. At most an increase of a couple of kilograms of lean muscle tissue, above and beyond what your genetics determines may occur in a small percentage of a very few lucky women.

Lucky because this increase in muscle tissue will results in a faster metabolism therefore speeding up the bodies fat burning ability and slowing down the ageing process.

Ok, so suppose you have increased your muscle tissue by 5lbs over and above your genetic potential you are still not going to be bulky. There are a couple of reasons for this. Firstly, if you are training hard, are ingesting calories congruent with your training goals (which for most women is weight loss), then you going to lose weight due to the increased calorie burn from the extra muscle. Its like putting a supercharger on your car, it will burn more petrol.

Another factor that would prevent you bulking up is the fact that muscle tissue takes up 1/3 the space of body fat. So if you gained 5lb of lean muscle and burned off 5lbs of fat then yes you would weight the same on the scales but as we know the scales lie but you clothes would be looser due to your decreased body fat. Next time you are in the super market why not put it to the test. Get 1lb of lard and compare it to 1lb of lean steak.

So the take home message from this is: don’t be afraid to lift weights if your goal is weight loss. Set your training up  in a circuit fashion to help you burn more fat and not only will you lose weight and get in great shape, you wont bulk up!

I’ll be back in a couple of days with Training Myth 2: Your lean toned muscles will turn to fat if you stop lifting weights

Train Hard, Eat Smart!

Marc