Years ago, it seems like there were even more crazy fitness myths out there; thankfully those myths have been exposed as nothing more than what they are — myths!
Myths such as:
—Woman will get overly muscular and look like men if they lift weights
—Lifting weights makes us bulky in appearance like many bodybuilders
—A person won’t add body fat if they eat fat-free, sugar-free or ‘light’ foods
—All carbs are bad
—All fat is bad
—All calories are equal
And so on. Today we are going to reveal two fitness lies that many people still believe to be true. Since the overwhelming majority of people who work out have goals to lost fat and tone muscle, the two areas that we are going to address are those: toning muscle and burning body fat.
Anyone that has ever been in a gym knows that dumbbells under 15 pounds generally come in pretty colors that appear to be aimed more towards women than men. The smaller the weights, the more “feminine”-looking the colors of the weights.
For most men who lift lighter weights or who are doing any type of rehabilitation, the feminine-looking colors won’t do much to boost his male ego, but they can certainly be used as stepping stones to work their way up to heavier weights.
Big Fitness Lie #1
The first BIG fitness lie that I would like to address is something that I call the ‘The Pink Dumbbell Myth’ that is often shown by magazines and infomercials, convincing us that we should use lighter weights (e.g., pink dumbbells) for higher reps to tone our bodies.
There’s also a belief that this approach somehow burns more fat and that people should lift weights this way to avoid getting big and bulky.
While there is a tiny bit of truth to this, well over 95 percent of that claim is completely false.
The truth is that this type of strength training doesn’t burn more fat than other styles of weight training and the only way it will ‘tone’ your body is if you’ve created a calorie deficit that allows you to lose body fat. Using lighter weights for higher reps will help you increase muscular endurance and it does have a place in training routines, but that lean, defined look comes from losing body fat. This is why proper nutrition is so vital for you when it comes to actually achieving the fitness results that you hope to achieve.
With that being said, if you already have a great deal of muscle like a competitive bodybuilder, you can use a style of training that will help shape the existing muscle ‘mass’ by using higher reps, but this isn’t an issue for most people so you probably won’t have to worry about this one.
So, does that mean you shouldn’t use the light weight/high rep approach with strength training?
How you lift weights depends on your goals and fitness level. However, for body fat loss, it’s great to use a variety of rep and weight ranges. The general breakdown of reps and weight according to goals is:
—For strength gains: 1-6 reps, heavy weight
—For gaining muscle and size: 8-12 reps, medium-heavy weights
—For endurance and shaping: 12-16 reps (and more), light-medium weights
No matter what range you choose, you should always lift enough weight that you can ONLY complete the desired reps. If you’re doing 12 rep
bicep curls, choose a weight that allows you to do 12 reps with good form. If you can do more than that, increase your weight.
Cycle your training style using all three rep ranges; whether you use them each week, each month or change them every few weeks, it’s a great way to challenge your body in different ways. I generally recommend to my clients that they should change their fitness routines once every four weeks if not more frequently.
Big Fitness Lie #2
Fat-Burning — I should only do cardio
This one drives me crazy because so many people fall victim to this old outdated lie. While cardio exercise is important for burning fat and losing weight, it isn’t the only type of exercise that you should be doing to help you lose fat.
Strength training helps you preserve the muscle you already have as well as increase your muscle mass; the more muscle you have, the more
calories you’ll burn all day long. The more calories you burn, the more fat you burn and the leaner you will get.
One of the great things about having a fair amount of muscle is the fact that the more muscle a person has, the more calories they will burn while at rest because having muscle literally makes your body burn fat!
Here is an interesting fitness fact for you: Muscle is much more active than fat and muscle makes your body burn calories just to sustain it. In fact, a pound of muscle can burn anywhere from 10-20 calories per day while a pound of fat burns only 2-5 calories a day.
Therefore a 200-pound man who has 100 pounds of muscle can expect to burn anywhere from 1,000 to 2,000 calories per day by doing absolutely nothing! His muscle is actually burning the fat off for him.
Also, muscle is more dense than fat and takes up less space. That means when you lose fat and gain muscle, you’ll be slimmer and trimmer.
Plenty of people, especially women, avoid weight-training like the plague, either because they think they’ll gain weight or because they like cardio better. However, strength training has a number of benefits:
—It builds lean muscle tissue
—It strengthens muscles, bones and connective tissue
—It keeps your body strong and injury-free for your cardio workouts
—It raises metabolism
An effective fat loss program will include regular strength training and cardio workouts, done either separately or together, depending on your schedule and goals. Another important component is, of course, eating a healthy diet as well. By implementing all three components,
you can maximize your weight loss and your health.
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Sidney Wilson is a Las Vegas-based celebrity fitness trainer and lifestyle coach dedicated to providing his clients with the tools needed to “Get Vicious.” Through rigorous workouts and extensive nutrition coaching, Sidney trains clients at The Get Vicious Training Center located at 5693 South Jones Blvd. Suite 103, Las Vegas, NV 89118, or remotely around the world through his website www.sidneywilson.com. Sidney can be contacted at: firstname.lastname@example.org or 646-226-6359.