7 Fitness Myths by Greg Mooney

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Greg Mooney

1. You can pick where to eliminate fat from the body

False. Despite marketer and product claims, you can never decide where the fat will come off the body. Everyone is unique in how their body decides to store and spend it's fat (unused energy), so while that Ab Roller and 1000 crunches will strengthen your underlying muscle in your stomach, they have nothing to do with getting rid of that fat sitting on top. Body fat must be burned off by maintaining a caloric deficit, vigorous cardio, and strength training. So don't look to gimmick items to reduce those unsightly love handles! Get to hard work!

2. Women will get too 'Manly' by lifting weights

False. Unless a woman has crazy amounts of testosterone surging through her body, she doesn't have to worry about looking like the Hulk in a tube top after lifting. It takes many years for most to build high quality, dense muscle, so it's not hard to get to your ideal physique and then go into maintenance mode.

3. You need a gym or expensive equipment to get in shape

False. Don't fall into the trap that you will start getting in shape when you get that gym membership or fancy ***Flex machine! There's plenty you can do outside or in your own home. In fact, many of my clients prefer outside to break up the boredom of the gym. Find a nice park where you can jog, sprint hills, do lunges, jump squats, use a picnic bench for dips and push ups. Most parks have Jungle Gyms where you can wow the Kindergartners with your pull ups!

4. Light weights 'tone' muscle, while heavy weights 'bulk' them.

False. Believe it or not, there is no such body response that tells a muscle to 'tone' itself. Muscles either strengthen and grow, stay the same, or shrink. What you are actually seeing when saying a person looks 'toned' is some muscle growth coupled with less body fat and perhaps increased vascularity to the area. You should train with both light and heavy weights relative to your strength and experience.

5. Guys can Bench their way to get big

Yes and no. You could probably walk into any gym in the world on a Monday and you will not find ONE empty Bench. The reason, most people take the weekends off but can't wait to get back to that bench first thing. That's great, as benching is one of the big compound moves utilizing many muscle groups. The problem is that this trend continues for the rest of the workout week which results in overtraining of certain muscle groups which is counterproductive to building size and strength. Remember, it is all of the power moves such as Squats, Deadlifts and Bench Press that really tell a body to grow, so don't get stuck on just one.

6. You need supplements to make any real gains

Totally False. While some supplements have shown strong evidence for slight increases in strength, fat loss, and energy, they generally come with costs to the overall well-being of your body. Continuously imbibing substances that have received very little in terms of long-terms studies is both risky and sets you up for the magic-bullet mentality that you can just swallow something, and Boom, your in tip-top shape. I'm certainly not against all supplementation, but the important things to ask yourself are:

Am I training as hard as I possibly can? Leaving a little piece of myself in the Gym, on the Field, or on the Mat every time I work out?

Am I training smart? Using perfect form? Forced sets with a spotter? Switching up routines every 6 weeks?

Am I Eating properly for my specific goals? Getting enough quality proteins and healthy carbs? Staying true to my prescribed eating regiment?

If you've answered yes to all of these, then I'm damn proud of you and only then should you consider supplementation.

7. That 'Muscle Pump' you feel in the gym or right after the workout means your muscles are growing

False again. The 'Pump' is actually increased body fluid to that muscle area and will subside a day if not less after the workout. There is some evidence that having that increased nutrient-rich blood does indeed help support that muscle group, but your main area of focus should be on increasing strength. When you get stronger, your muscles get bigger and stay that way, so you don't have to worry about shrinking back down in a couple of hours.

Greg Mooney is a Certified Personal Trainer and 2006 World Cup Strength Coach to the US Virgin Islands Skeleton Team.

Greg also runs Jungle Cat Training in Boulder, Colorado.

Email Greg at Gmoonfrog@yahoo.com