Good article I found on debunking different myths I hear constantly.
By Jim Karas
I’ve been in the weight-loss field for over 15 years and not a day goes by when I’m not asked a question about weight loss. Most of these questions deal with eight common weight-loss myths. Here are the myths—and the real truth:
1. Your genes determine your metabolism and body weight.
I’ve heard thousands of people say they can’t drop pounds because their weight is genetically predetermined. Do you know what percentage of your body weight is truly determined by your genes? Only 25 percent—the rest is determined by your behavior. Please believe me: At any time in life, you can drastically change your body weight by combining low-calorie eating and exercise. You can increase your metabolism at any age by performing strength and resistance exercises. If you don’t believe me, ask the experts at Tufts University. In one case study, they found that individuals in their 90s who strength-trained three times a week for eight weeks increased their strength by 300 percent. No, that is not a typo. Individuals in their 90s increased their strength by 300 percent. If you increase your strength, you’re increasing your lean muscle tissue. Increase lean muscle tissue and you increase your metabolism. It’s just that simple.
2. By performing strength and resistance exercises, women will bulk up.
This is totally untrue. Men have 20 to 30 times the muscle-building potential that women do. This is because of the male hormone testosterone. In all my years offering fitness instruction, I’ve never witnessed a woman bulking up. On the contrary, those who follow my exercise prescription and perform minimal cardiovascular exercise followed by intelligent strength and resistance exercises typically look lean and thin.
3. You can spot-reduce to lose weight.
I’ve witnessed women performing hundreds, if not thousands, of lunges and squats in a desperate attempt to slim their legs, hips, and glutes. While I love squats and lunges, they don’t spot-reduce body fat. On the contrary, the way to achieve leaner legs, if that’s where you’re carrying your body fat, is to increase your lean muscle tissue throughout your body. By working all your muscles, you increase metabolism. Up your metabolism and exercise caution with your eating, and you’ll start looking the way you want to.
But here’s one surprising benefit of strength and resistance exercise: A study at the University of Alabama at Birmingham showed that women ages 61 to 77 who strength-trained three times a week lost more fat from their midsections than their male workout partners. So, if you are a woman interested in losing fat from the midsection (and by the way, a million crunches will not help you reduce your waist; they will only help strengthen that area), start strength training today. And for those of you under 61, why wait?
4. To build muscle, you should lift heavy weights/Xertubes and perform few repetitions, but to tone a muscle you should perform more repetitions with lighter weights.
The first part of this sentence is true. The way to achieve a toned muscle is to build the muscle and burn the fat. You can do it by lifting heavy weights/Xertubes and performing no more that 10 to 12 repetitions. Lifting lighter weights and doing more repetitions won’t do much of anything. You’re not stressing the muscle enough to stimulate it to change and grow. Think about all the time you wasted in exercise classes with names like “body sculpting.” Those classes urged you to perform dozens if not hundreds of repetitions with light weights. Did anything change on your body? I’ll let you be the judge.
5. Strength and resistance exercise doesn’t benefit your heart, only cardiovascular exercise does.
This statement has been proven false. New research from the Archives of Internal Medicine shows that strength training can increase aerobic capacity. You can derive similar benefits from both strength training and cardiovascular exercise. Plus you boost your metabolism 24 hours a day, seven days a week, 365 days a year.
6. I’ll lose flexibility if I perform strength and resistance exercises.
Not true. Proper strength-and-resistance training can actually improve muscular balance and flexibility. A recent study from the International Journal of Sports Medicine showed that formerly sedentary individuals who participated in resistance exercises showed an increase in flexibility. This occurs because of a concept called reciprocal inhibition. In lay terms, it means that when you contract, for example, the biceps muscle in the front of the arm, the triceps muscle at the back of the arm has to relax, elongate and stretch out. Basically, when you contract one muscle, you stretch the opposing one. This clearly will improve flexibility over time.
7. This type of program will take a long time to achieve results.
Fact is, you can see results in as little as four weeks by coupling effective strength-and-resistance exercises two to three times a week with a low-calorie eating plan. The reason this occurs so quickly is that the moment you start challenging your muscles, they will respond.
8. I’m already too muscular.
From my experience, most people are not too muscular, they’re simply carrying too much body fat. A woman may feel that she is muscular because her thighs are large but firm. Actually, her thighs are carrying a high percentage of body fat, not muscle. After age 20, the average person loses between one half to seven-tenths of a pound of muscle each year. As a woman approaches menopause, her rate of muscle loss doubles. As all individuals reach age 70, they begin to lose a full three pounds of muscle each year. That’s over 30 pounds in a decade!