The Personal Trainer: Three common workout misconceptions debunked
by Ann Angell
Special to The Star
Jul 06, 2013 | 3689 views |  0 comments | 52 52 recommendations | email to a friend | print
There are so many misconceptions in the fitness and exercise world.

One of the most common questions I get every week is, ”How can I get rid of this?” as people grab a chunk of fat from some place on their body. No, you cannot get rid of fat by doing side bends or leg lifts or even 1,000 crunches a day.

Misconception No. 1: You cannot spot reduce.

No matter how many crunches you do, it will not get rid of the fat around your abdomen area. You build muscle when you do crunches, but you may need X-ray eyes to see it. That doesn’t mean the muscle isn’t there, it just means it’s hiding under a layer of fat.

To burn the fat that’s covering up that awesome six-pack, you have to do cardiovascular exercise. Swim laps, run on the treadmill, ride your bike or do a 5k. Anything that raises your heart rate and makes you sweat is a good option. Shoot for 30-40 minutes, three or four times a week. For best results, incorporate changes in your diet as well.

Misconception No. 2: Women who weight train will look like Arnold.

Not gonna happen. The difference between men and women, besides Mars vs. Venus, is that women have just a percentage of the testosterone that men have, not enough to build muscle as quickly as men. A woman would have to work out for many hours a day and lift extremely heavy weights for this to even be a possibility.

Anyone training for a bodybuilding event can tell you it is like having a full-time job. But women should not shy away from lifting weights, as strength training is important to a healthy body. Of course, there are exceptions to every rule, but in general women are safe from looking like Arnold’s twin.

Misconception No. 3: You can work out for 20 minutes then go get a double cheeseburger and fries, guilt free.

Only if you want to gain weight. Years ago I went to a strength class and the instructor said we would burn 1,000 calories in 45 minutes, which is pretty high. She must have thought we were stupid, yet I am sure some believed this and then off they went to eat their dozen doughnuts.

Many people are confused about how much effort it takes to lose weight. Did you know that we have to burn 3,500 calories in order to lose one pound? I know, this info makes you want to bang your head on the table, but it’s true. A better way to think about it is to cut 500 calories a day for one week. This will equal 3,500 calories. Does that sound better? It does to me. That can be three regular sodas or portion control at each meal. It can be done.

The most important advice is to educate yourself about fitness before you start by reading up on the subject, talking to trainers or seeking advice from friends who have been successful. In the world of diet and exercise, common sense goes a long way.

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