7 Fitness & Weight Loss Myths Busted

The myth of anything giving you “longer” muscles. The ONLY way your muscles get longer is if your bones get longer. If you’re an adult, this is impossible even if you take these “height enhancement” pills.

I hate to see people really putting in the effort only to be disappointed by the lack of results. These are the 7 most time-wasting fitness and weight loss myths:

Myth #1. More crunches = more abdominal definition

Fact: crunches do little or nothing to address the real limiting factor for abdominal definition — having too much body fat.

Fact: crunches are a dangerous exercise — research has show crunches are “the most potent mechanism leading to [spinal] disc herniation.”

For more on how to lose that extra fat, check out this piece; and read this for what to do to work your abs (or core).

Myth #2. Running is a beginner’s exercise

Fact: you don’t run to get in shape, you get in shape to run. Each mile you run is 1,500 plyometric jumps on a single leg where you strike the ground with 5 times your body weight. So, if a 200 pounds man runs 3 miles he will have hammered his body with 4.5 million pounds of impact. If you’re new to fitness, resistance training is going to be much easier on your body and create the foundation you need if you want to become a runner without really hurting.

Myth #3. Soreness = success

Fact: being very sore mostly just means that what you did was excessive, or that you’re not recovering very well from your workouts.

Fact: you measure the effectiveness of a workout by results produced. If you wanted to lose fat, then you should be dropping clothing sizes (provided your diet will allow you to lose fat). If you wanted to get stronger, then pounds lifted should go up. You might get moderately sore in the process, but that’s not the goal. The goal is the goal.

Myth #4. Each body part needs it’s own exercise

Fact: training this ways costs a lot of time but will not produce superior results.

Fact: it is actually impossible to isolate a muscle in a living body. This is only possible, with a lot of work, in a cadaver.

For the best results in the least amount of time focus on these kinds of exercises instead.

Myth #5. You can judge a workout by how much you sweat

Fact: sweating is something your body does to cool down. You will sweat more when it’s hot, when it’s humid and sweating doesn’t work so well (so your body just does more of it), or when you’re bald (you no longer have hair to catch the sweat to it pours onto your face). The goal is the goal.

Myth #6. Cardio must be done for a minimum of 30 min for heart health

Fact: you don’t actually ever need to do steady state aerobic exercise (like when you do the same thing at a relatively steady pace) for heart health. Your heart is a “dumb” muscle — it only does what your muscles tell it to do. You can get tremendous cardiovascular health and fitness with resistance training. This will make you look better, be stronger (it’s nice when everything is relatively easy to pick up), and save you lots of time. Here’s how to do it.

Myth #7. Yoga will make me long and lean

Fact: normal muscles can’t get any longer. Only if you have a muscle that is abnormally short and stiff will you actually be able to lengthen it. Beyond extreme stiffness, we’re all stuck with the lengths determined by our genes. For example: I’ve got super long monkey arms (as indicated by my +6 ape index), and reasonably low body-fat, so my arms are actually both long and lean. And there is NO exercise that I can do to make my arms short. I overdo the ice cream curls and get fat and bulky, but these monkey arms will still be long!

My wife on the other hand is built more like a T-rex. With her little arms, she should never take up boxing because jabs win fights. My wife can eat better and workout more to get her arms leaner, but those short arms are always going to be as short as the bones God gave her now that she is an adult.

Fact: losing body fat will make you look lean because that is what getting lean actually entails. Yoga isn’t a very effective way to lose fat. It’s great for relaxation, and some aspects of mobility, but not fat-loss.

Josef Brandenburg is a Washington D.C.-area fitness expert with 16 years of experience and co-author of the international best-selling book “Results Fitness.” In 2004, he started True 180 Fitness (formerly The Body You Want) personal training program, which specializes in helping you get the body you want in the time you have available. Get a complete assessment (including the Functional Movement Screen), individualized programming, 4 coaching sessions and more for $89 with our 14 Day Trial.

Learn more about Josef on his blog, follow him on Twitter and Facebook, or check out his fitness videos on YouTube.