- False: Lifting heavy weights will make me bulky.
The Truth: If you’re a woman, you probably don’t have hormones at the proper levels or at the right ratios to support massive muscle gain. Even men, with much higher levels of natural testosterone, often struggle to gain muscle mass. They’ll shovel thousands of extra calories into their mouths daily, lift weights religiously, and take a half dozen supplements, all to gain 5 or 10 lbs. of muscle (considered awesome progress!). The small amount of muscle a female might gain from weight training usually serves only to raise her metabolic rate (aiding in future fat loss) and to give her that “toned” look every woman asks her trainer about.
- False: I will get in shape and lose fat by jogging.
The Truth: Jogging and other forms of duration cardio exercise have been shown to have many benefits. You can increase endurance and support heart and lung health. However, efficiently burning fat is not one of those benefits. The science shows that low intensity/long duration exercise is simply ineffective at making body composition changes. Long jogs and the like can actually train your body to hold onto fat more stubbornly by teaching it to be “efficient”. Instead, it’s more effective to raise your metabolic rate with high intensity training and by building a certain amount of lean body mass, or muscle. Lifting heavy weights will help you burn fat and build muscle, which will in turn help you burn more fat.
- False: I’ll just eat salad and vegetables.
The Truth: If you want your body, and its metabolic processes to function properly, you’ll have to feed it right. For one thing, severe calorie restriction can cause a kind of metabolic shutdown. Your body will burn calories much more slowly than before. For another thing, you’ll deprive yourself of the necessary nutrients to improve your health and fitness. I’m not saying that portion control isn’t important… only that you shouldn’t starve yourself. In fact, if you start working out, you might have to eat even more than before. Just be careful about WHAT you eat. Consume plenty of PROTEINS, fats, and natural starches. Eat lots of fresh produce and don’t skip meals. Avoid processed foods, simple sugars, artificial preservatives, and wheat/flour products in excess.
- False: I trust the scale to track my fitness progress.
The Truth: Your scale can lie to you. Did you know that muscle is 2/3 more dense than fat? So, if you’re gaining muscle while losing fat, it is definitely possible to gain weight while losing inches and making desirable progress. Keep the long-term goal in mind and trust the process. Don’t weigh yourself 3 times per day or obsess about your weekly progress “number”. Then, when you do weigh yourself; remember that bodyweight can fluctuate over 5 lbs. on a daily basis with meals, trips to the restroom, and your current hydration level. For the most consistent results, take a trip to empty yourself in the bathroom as soon as you wake up in the morning. Once you’ve emptied yourself out, get on the scale before you eat anything or get dressed for the day. Weigh yourself the same way and at the same time each week.
- False: Men are just stronger.
The Truth: Female muscle tissue is just as strong as men’s. It’s only the difference in total muscle volume and (to a lesser degree) a certain level of mental training intensity that usually allows men to lift more weight than women. Don’t sell yourself short. Lift heavy weights, push yourself, and pretty soon you’ll be out-lifting that meathead guy from your gym. You’ll be leaner and look better than he does too.
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