We are pumped to share one of our favorite stories from Shape here on POPSUGAR Fitness.
After diet, there's nothing more rampant with myths, half-truths, and downright falsehoods than exercise‚ especially its effect on weight loss. Follow any of this inaccurate advice, and you may wind up wasting time, energy, and money, or even injuring yourself.
No need to bust out a lie detector, though. Jason Greenspan, an ACE (American Council on Exercise)-certified personal trainer and founder of Practical Fitness & Wellness, identified the seven most common, persistent misunderstood notions about fitness‚ and offered the honest truth to help you build a strong, lean body.
1. Myth: Muscle weighs more than fat
Reality: A pound is a pound is a pound‚ unless you're defying the laws of physics. No substance weighs more than another one unless it actually weighs more. Simply put: One pound of fat weighs the same as one pound of muscle. The difference is that fat is bulkier than muscle tissue and takes up more space under the skin, Greenspan says. In fact, one pound of fat is roughly the size of a small grapefruit; one pound of muscle is about the size of a tangerine. But that tangerine is active tissue, meaning that it burns more calories at rest than fat does.
2. Myth: Weight training converts fat to muscle
Reality: This is physically impossible, Greenspan says. Fat and muscle tissue are two completely different substances. Exercise such as strength training will help to build muscle, which encourages fat loss by increasing your resting metabolism so you can burn more calories throughout the day. To get a lean look, you need to build muscle through weight training while simultaneously losing fat‚ but one doesn't magically become the other.
3. Myth: Heavy weights make women bulk up
Reality: We just don't produce enough testosterone, the male sex hormone that spurs muscle growth, to get big, meathead muscles. Lifting weights sometimes gets the blame for adding bulk because if you haven't yet shed extra body fat, it can give the illusion that you're getting larger, Greenspan says. But muscle boosts your metabolism, so don't be afraid of those 20-pound dumbbells (or at the very least, work your way up to them).
4. Myth: You can walk off extra pounds
Reality: Although walking is good exercise and most Americans don't do enough of it, if you want to lose a noticeable amount of weight, it's not the best method since it's low intensity and doesn't burn a lot of calories during or afterward. To substantially shrink your belly and keep it flat, Greenspan says you want an integrated approach of strength training, cardio (preferably intervals), and a calorie-controlled diet. Adding in a few extra miles on your feet daily as one part of an overall weight-loss plan is good and good for your health, but that alone probably won't lead to significant results on the scale.
See three more myths after the break!