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7 exercise myths - debunked, busted, kaput

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Fitness myths or exercise facts?  

We've heard them all time and again: gotta do crunches to build six-pack abs, try  exercising long and slow to lose weight, if you stop working out  your muscle turns to fat.

Sure, we know the facts.  Or do we?   Check for yourself with this list from Gold's Gym:

* MYTH #1: 1,000 crunches a day will guarantee you a six-pack.

FACT: There is no such thing as "spot reduction," but there is such a thing as spot conditioning. Muscles can be conditioned by training and focusing on them, but without burning the fat covering your abdomen, you'll never get that washboard stomach.

* MYTH #2: It's only a good workout if you're sore the next day.

FACT: Soreness is related to a number of factors, none of which directly correlate to muscle growth. In fact, Delayed Onset Muscle Soreness (DOMS) occurs when nerve endings become inflamed after micro trauma to muscle tissue. In short, don't overdo it.

* MYTH #3: Women get "bulky" or "masculine" if they lift weights.

FACT: Women simply don't have enough testosterone to attain the appearance of a male body builder. The muscle you are able to build lifting weights will only improve your appearance for a toned, sculpted and feminine appearance. Also, weight training builds muscle density, which is key to fighting osteoporosis.

* MYTH #4: Exercising long and slow burns more fat.

FACT: Your body uses fat for energy while exercising at a lower intensity, but training at a high intensity will burn more calories during and after you've stopped working out.

* MYTH #5: If you beef up on protein, you'll gain muscle.

FACT: Everybody needs protein to rebuild and repair muscles, but overloading on protein will get you nowhere. There's only a certain amount of nutrients your body can handle before it just turns to waste. According to the American Dietetic Association, six to seven daily ounces of lean meat provides enough protein for most athletes.

* MYTH #6: Running on a treadmill is better for your joints than pavement.

FACT: Joint pain surfaces anytime your body is pounding on a surface it isn't used to. To avoid jolting your neurological system, it is best to vary workouts between treadmill and pavement running. Elliptical machines and recumbent bikes can also be used in place of running.

* MYTH #7: Muscle turns to fat if you stop lifting weights.

FACT: Muscle cannot physically turn into fat, however muscles can begin to atrophy (reduce in size) after eliminating weight training from a fitness routine. In addition, metabolism will slow down and hinder the ability to burn as many calories, which results in an increase in body fat.

Dispelling myths and providing accurate information is all part of Gold's Gym's mission to help people achieve their individual potential through fitness. For more information, visit or on Facebook at

UPDATE - A reader question brought up some points, to which Gold's Gym and fitness professional Robert Reames gladly replied . Here is that information:

“Myth #3 says, overall, that women don't have enough testosterone to achieve the appearance of a male body builder. That's true. And yes, testosterone is only one part of the equation, however, a very crucial part.

Of course there are exceptions where women naturally build more muscle due to overall hormonal profile and genetic pre-disposition. Many female gymnasts do have the ability naturally to build more muscle, especially when you factor in their training regimen and nutritional plan.

However, a female gymnast, even the most elite, has nowhere near the muscle mass and male hormone count than that of a male body builder. You can not only tell this by appearance, but by an actual analysis by a qualified physician. The spectrum and range of both categories is relative. This is simply a mythbuster that applies to the mass majority of the population.

As far as the ADA recommendations for protein:

- endurance athletes: 1.2-1.4 grams/kg of body wt. per day

- strength and speed athletes: 1.2-1.7 gram/kg of body wt. per day

The ADA standard is the standard. Most all unbiased sources, based on the science, will confirm the above recommendations. If the ADA standard is outdated....what is the new standard?”

About Gold's Gym

Established in Venice, Calif. in 1965, Gold's Gym is the largest full service gym chain in the world with over 670 locations in 43 states and 28 countries. Gold's Gym offers the latest equipment and services, including group exercise, personal training, cardiovascular equipment, spinning, Pilates and yoga. With nearly 3.5 million members worldwide, Gold's Gym helps all kinds of people achieve their individual potential through fitness

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  • Rob E. 5 years ago


    Actually you're incorrect in two areas. Women CAN get bulky from lifting weights depending upon their body type. Have you looked at some female gymnasts lately? Same concept - it's based on genetics and how the body responds to load bearing exercises provided their protein intake supports it. Some women will put on mass, some will not. Testosterone is only part of the equation. Which leads me to the next part.

    Protien is an absolutely essential element in adding muscle mass. The ADA standard is outdated and based on a sedentary, small female. A male, drug-free weightlifter needs approximately 1 gram of protein per pound of bodyweight to sustain strength and add muscle mass when actively in a weightlifting routine.

    The beauty of protein, if from a healthy source and enough water is consumed, is that it isn't stored as fat like carbohydrates. So one way to control weight and appetite is to add protein and reduce the carbs (ala Atkins).

    Rob E.
    Auto Examiner

  • Amy 5 years ago

    Hey Rob - thanks for the comment - as I pointed out, this was from Gold's Gym, not me.

    I felt good about the info, since it was vouched for by Robert Reames (the official trainer and consultant for “The Ultimate Weight Loss Challenge” on The Dr. Phil Show).

    But I'm sure Gold's would want to know if there is room for confusion in the wording or if there are issues that deserve further information when they stand behind this. I've contacted them.

  • Amy 5 years ago

    Readers: a reader comment pointed out that two of the points in the article needed further explanation, which Gold's Gym and Robert Reames supplied for us.

    For space reasons (Comments only hold limited number of words), the explanations have been supplied in the article above as an UPDATE

  • Rob E. 5 years ago

    Amy, thank you for the clarifications. Some women add muscle rather easily, some don't. You can actually say that for men, too. Obviously the ratio is far different!

    Regarding protein, 7 ounces of meat or fish has about 49 grams of protein, far below the needs for an athlete.

    Once your in a fitness routine, you're an athlete, right?

    Thank you again, good information!

    Rob E.
    San Jose Autos Examiner