I’d like to dispel four common myths related to female fitness and help you get started on a healthy new year. Keep these things in mind—especially if you are making New Year’s resolutions related to the stewardship of your body (weight loss, exercise, etc.). Here goes:
Myth #1- Lifting weights will make me big and bulky.
This myth is dying, but many women still believe resistance training will make them look like the She-Hulk. This isn’t true—women simply do not have the same physiological capacity as men when it comes to building muscle. The average man, for example, has about 15x higher levels of testosterone than the average woman.
Weight training should be your primary strategy for making positive changes to your physique. It is the most effective, time efficient way to become a leaner, slimmer version of you.
Myth #2- Aerobics is the best way to burn fat.
You may have heard of the “fat burning zone”—the idea that your body burns the most fat while doing low intensity cardiovascular exercise. There is some truth to this—we tend to use a higher percentage of calories from fat in an aerobic state.
But this is no reason to focus all your efforts on the treadmill (or stationary bike). What really matters is the overall calories burned during exercise, and this is another way weight training is superior to traditional (steady-state) aerobic training. You may also want to look into interval training.
Don’t get me wrong—I’m not saying the walking on the treadmill is a complete waste of time. But other forms of exercise are more efficient and will probably help you reach your fitness goals more quickly.
Myth #3- Abdominal exercises are the best way to get a flat stomach.
It seems the infomercial world brings us a new abdominal contraption every week. These devices (some of them quite bizarre looking) promise to give you a tight, toned, midsection with just minutes of training a day.
Training the abdominal and core muscles is very important. But abdominal exercises alone do very little to help you get a slim waistline. A flat stomach is a direct a result of having a low body fat level. In other words you’ll get a smaller waist when your overall diet and exercise plan are in order.
Myth #4- “Fat burning supplements” are crucial for losing weight.
I’ve been lifting weights and studying fitness for over twenty years. I’ve seen countless pills, powders, and potions marketed as “fat burners.” Here are a couple of things to keep in mind:
First and foremost, remember that fat loss is always a matter of using more calories than you consume (a negative calories balance). There’s no “magic bullet” that will negate this fact.
Secondly, most “fat burners” are simply overpriced caffeine tablets (they usually have other exotic-sounding ingredients, but caffeine is the active ingredient). Caffeine does suppress appetite, reduce fatigue during training and help the body mobilize fat stores. But you’d to just as well to take a generic caffeine tablet or drink a cup of coffee before you train.
Don’t spend money on overprice, over-hyped “fat burning” supplements. Focus on a healthy diet and exercise program.