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Exercise Myth Buster

Updated on November 13, 2011

As a personal trainer, there are certain beliefs that I hear over and over, even if they are misconceptions. My goal as a trainer is to help people become better versions of themselves and to encourage them to make exercise a life-time journey. The five myths below make it difficult for people to believe in exercise. So the next time you hear someone say one of these myths, now you can come back and say, "Well, actually that's not true."

Intensity and quality of exercise is better than the amount of time you exercise for.
Intensity and quality of exercise is better than the amount of time you exercise for.

Myth 1: Exercise longer at a lower intensity burns the most amount of fat

Fact: When you work out a low intensity your main source of fuel is fat. When you work out at higher intensities your body uses carbohydrates as its main fuel source. So it may seem like you would be better off staying in the lower intensity range to burn more fat. But as you take up the intensity, you also take up the number of calories that you burn per a minute, making it more effective to exercise at a higher intensity. For example, if you walked on the treadmill at 3 mph for 30 minutes, a 180 pound male would burn about 200 calories. If you did intervals on the treadmill for 30 minutes, the same person would burn about 430 calories. Same amount of time on the treadmill but over double the amount of calories burned.

Myth 2: There's no way to strength train without bulking up.

Fact: Strength training is considered one of the five components of fitness and contributes to maintaining a heathy weight. Strength training is essential for maintaining muscle mass, decreasing body fat and increasing metabolism. Depending on your goals, completing different number of repetitions will give you different results. If your goal is to lose weight, tone-up, or maintain muscle mass, complete 12 to 15 repetitions and 2 to 3 sets of each exercise. Focus on major muscle groups and combining movements to target more than one muscle at a time. Bulking up requires you to lift heavy weight in only 3 to 5 repetitions. Genetics and testosterone contribute to your ability to build large amounts of muscle. So, go ahead lift weights and show off your toned body.

Myth 3: Running is bad for the joints.

Fact: Since I run between 40 to 45 miles a week, I often hear people tell me that I'm going to have bad knees. But research continues to show that consistent activity helps joints build cartilage and keeps the knee joint healthy. Knee injuries occur when individuals do too much, too quickly. You have to build up to running long and hard. Building leg strength is also necessary in order to have happy knees. Complete exercises that build the quadriceps, hamstrings, and the other leg muscles that attach at the knee. Increasing your flexibility will also allow you to run with less knee pain. When your leg cannot go through its full range of motion, it must modify, causing strain on joints and muscles. Shoes, rest days and nutrition are also other elements that can contribute to maintaining healthy knees. So continue to run and feel great about it.

Myth 4: I don't have an hour to work out so I might as well skip it.

Fact: Combining cardio and weights in a fast-paced circuit routine can burn up to 500 calories in 30 minutes. Now, do you think 30 minutes is a waste of time? You do not have to spend a lot of time working out to stay healthy, lose weight or build muscle. Everyone can find 30 minutes in their day to exercise, it's a matter of making it a priority. Lack of time is just an excuse to make ourselves feel better about not exercising. But researchers have even taken it to the next step to conclude that you don't have to do all your exercise at once to get healthy benefits. You can do 10 minutes three times throughout your day to decrease your risk for diseases and stay healthy. So the next time you only have 30 minutes get to the gym and feel great.


Myth 5: I need my protein shake or bar after my workout.

Fact: Protein shakes and bars have as many calories as a meal does. So unless you skip another meal, you're adding an extra 350 to 400 calories to your diet. And you're consuming products that are highly processed and preserved. Eating food is a better option since you are able to control calories, sodium and fat. Did you work out for more than an hour? Depending on how long and hard you worked also depends on if you need to consume something right after exercise. Keep your goals in mind the next time you justify eating a protein shake with 450 calories in it.


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    • jpcmc profile image

      JP Carlos 5 years ago from Quezon CIty, Phlippines

      The information is definitely eye opening. I must find the right routine to get the most out of the exercise.

    • amvabecreations profile image

      amvabecreations 5 years ago from Netherlands

      Thanks for this great hub! It will help me to set realistic exercise goals!

    • grizzbass profile image

      grizzbass 5 years ago from SoCal

      I injured my knees in high school and I know they hurt for years until I returned to power lifting and the more I lifted the better they became.