UPDATED: Mar 26, 2020
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There is a ton of information out there about the best way to get fit, lose weight and build muscle. Unfortunately, not all of it is correct. Below are several common but inaccurate myths about working out.
Cardio is the Best Fat Burner
It is true that cardio burns more calories than resistance training during your workout, but lifting weights burns more fat. Muscle burns more energy than body fat at rest. The more muscle you have, the more calories you burn. A recent study showed that women who completed an hour long strength training workout burned an average of 100 more calories in the 24 hours afterward than those who only did cardio.
Lifting Weights Makes You Bulky
Muscle hypertrophy, or muscle growth, occurs very slowly over a period of weeks, months and years. Because muscle is more dense than fat, it contains the same amount of weight in less space. This means the more muscle you build, the tighter your body will be. In other words, as long as you are losing fat while you gain muscle, you will become leaner when lifting, rather than bulkier.
Unused Muscle Becomes Fat
If you stop working out for a while, will your muscles turn to body fat? No, your body does not function this way. The percentage of lean muscle mass that you have shifts as you decrease the amount you exercise. Muscle and fat are two completely different tissues. As you slow your strength training, your muscle mass will begin to drop, and your fat cells will gradually begin to increase, but your muscle will never actually transform into fat.
Excess Protein Builds Muscle
Protein aids in muscle growth, which requires a combination of proteins, carbohydrates, and fats. But you can have too much protein. Protein is used for energy only after carbs and fat energy have been depleted. The average person needs about .4 grams of protein per pound of body weight. Active individuals may require .6 grams. Anything more than that and you may experience weight gain as excess calories that are not burned is stored as fat.
You Can Target Fat
Many people believe that the more lunges they do, the more fat they will burn in their hips and behind. Or that if they do a never ending set of crunches each day, their gut will disappear. The truth is you are only building the muscle underneath the fat layer. Your body doesn’t burn fat in targeted areas. Fat is burned evenly from all parts of your body. So matter how hard you work on specific areas on your body, you cannot burn the fat from them. You can, however, shape and tone these areas.
Now you know not to make these workout blunders. Try to stick to a balanced diet, don’t overdo it on the protein and make sure you are getting in strength training as well as cardio. Follow these rules of thumb, and you should begin to see the results you’d like from your workout plan.