Busting Health and Fitness Myths
There are so many health and fitness myths that either steer people away from the gym, reduce their progress, dampen their excitement, or in some cases cause people to get injured.
Jeff Behar, MS, MBA, sought after personal trainer,
based in Beverly Hills, California discusses some of the more common and some of the oldest health and fitness myths that never seem to go away:
If you exercise, you can eat whatever you want.
A healthy diet goes hand-in-hand with a sound workout program. Of
course the more you train and the more muscle you add to your frame,
the more calories you will burn at rest. If you really want to lean out
and get into shape, do not use exercise as an excuse to eat more. Use
it as a driver to eat healthy, and really get your body to a state that
you only dreamed of! Behar suggests these healthy tips, "Cut down on
processed foods, eat more fibrous veggies, eat lean protein with every
meal, add some good essential fatty acids to your diet, up your water
intake, up your fiber eat small frequent meals, and eat fresh organic
Spot reducing is possible.
"It's simply not possible to 'burn off' fat in one specific body part
by exercising that area," Behar states. Numerous studies have tried to
refute this claim, but none of any scientific valor has proven that
spot reducing is possible. At best you might lose some water weight in
the area to give the impression that you indeed did "spot reduce".
Rehydrate and you will see those stubborn inches "magically" reappear.
Only regular exercise -- aerobic and strength training (weight lifing) -- and a
sensible diet can melt body fat.
Exercise requires a huge time commitment. As little as
30 minutes a day works when you're in health-and-fitness maintenance
mode, and 60 minutes a day will help you lose weight.
"I spend 40 minutes a day 5 days a week. I was able to compete and win
an overall bodybuilding title at a national qualifying spending no more
than 60 minutes a day in the gym", noted Behar. If you are not looking
to be the next Mr.Olympia, 40 minute workouts will more than suffice if
you are performing the exercises correctly, with great intensity, and combining the workouts with proper rest and proper nutrition.
There's a secret diet or a secret workout out there to get you in shape quickly.
There is no quick fix, says Behar. There are ways to train that can
help maximize your time in the gym and the benefits you will drive from
your workouts, but there is no quick fix. Slow and steady always wins
the race. The most important tip Behar can give, "believe in yourself,
believe in the process, stay the course, and you will look the best you
ever looked before!"
You need supplements to be get in great shape. Although
many people do take various supplements, be it fat burners, protein,
vitamins and minerals, it is not necessary to take supplements to have a
great physique. If you eat well, you can look great without
incorporating supplements into your work out program. However,
incorporating the right supplements as the name implies: to
"supplement" an already nutritious diet can help you reach your goals
Exercising at high intensity burns more fat.
"This is a particularly confusing topic for some people," says Jeff Behar
"Many people have thought that higher intensity means burning more fat.
Well, you can burn more fat this way, you will burn more calories this
way, but you also run the risk of burning more muscle this way too. If
you burn hard earned muscle, the ultimate result will be a slower
metabolic rate and in the long run you will be less lean than if you
worked out at a lower intensity for more time. I suggest to most of
my clients looking to lose bodyfat is to do their cardio on an empty
stomach, and at 60-56 % max heart rate. There are exceptions to this
rule, but generally speaking following this principle will do most
Women who lift weights will get bulky muscles.
Women don't have enough of the "male" hormone testosterone to develop
large, bulky muscles, says Behar. Strength training will not cause
women to build muscles, although steroids might. Behar sometimes hears
the same things from men who state that "they don't want to get too
big". Well, as any seasoned gym rat will tell you, you can not get too
big by accident. Putting on muscle takes dedication, hard work, and a
Muscle weighs more than fat. "A pound of
muscle weighs the same as a pound of fat," according to Behar. "The
difference is that muscle is much more dense than body fat. Therefore,
a pound of muscle will take up much less room in your body than a pound
No pain, no gain.
It is important to know what is good pain and what is bad pain. Often
beginners have not learned the difference here. It's OK to push
yourself to fatigue, tax your heart, lungs, muscles, feel the burn, --
but be reasonable. Don't push yourself so hard that you have to miss
sessions, and even worse, possibly risk an injury.
Yoga will make you leaner and stretch your muscles.
According to Behar, "Yoga is a great activity for physical fitness.
Yoga is outstanding for balance, static strength, stress reduction and
flexibility. Yoga, however, does not make you "longer and leaner". Yoga
can help improve posture and flexibility, but your body is not "longer
because of yoga. The "length" of a muscle is not going to change any
more than the skeletal structure it's attached to. As far as being
leaner, yoga will contribute no more to being "lean" than any other
physical activity using equivalent caloric expenditure. In other words,
yoga will burn calories proportional to the energy expended in the
class. Your best bet for overall calories expenditure over the long
term is building muscle, because muscle causes the body to burn more
calories 24/7 and not just during the physical activity itself. "
About the Author
Jeff Behar, MS, MBA is a recognized health, fitness and nutrition expert, regularly writing about hot topics in the areas of health, fitness, disease prevention, weight loss, nutrition, anti aging and alternative medicine. Jeff Behar's work also often appears in several of the major health and fitness newsletters, health and fitness magazines, and on major health, fitness and weight loss websites. Jeff Behar is also the CEO of MuscleMagFitness.com, and MyBestHealthPortal.com; two very popular health, fitness, nutrition and anti aging information sites.
Jeff Behar, MS, MBA