As an exercise physiologist, I work day after day with people who are ready to change their lives, lose weight, and get in shape. Thanks to all of the fitness-related TV programs, infomercials (shake weights anyone?), magazines, websites, forums, Pod casts, apps, and Tweets out there, many well intentioned people show up with misguided, misinformed, and downright wrong beliefs about exercise. Over my next few entries, I hope to set the record straight on a some of the most common misconceptions about fitness.
Fitness Myth #1
I don’t want to get big – just toned. Light weights + high rep= tone; heavy weights + low reps = bulk.
This is one of my favorites. First of all, can anyone please tell me exactly what “tone” is? How do I measure it? I remember from Music Theory 101 that trombones have a certain “tone”, but how does it relate to my muscles?
Too often I have people who refuse to lift any remotely heavy weight because they don’t want to get “bulky”. You’re in the gym, surrounded by barbells, dumbbells, and strength machines, and you don’t want to build lean muscle? Building lean muscle increases your resting metabolism, increases your energy level, enhances your functional strength, and flat out, makes you look and feel better. If this is the “tone” that you’re looking for, then you have to strength train hard.
In order to see any gains, you have to overload your muscles while strength training. Try using a weight that causes your muscles to fail between 6-12 reps over the course of 3 sets for each exercise.
So remember, heavy weights just do not mean bulk. This fitness myth is busted!
Have any questions about fitness myths you may have heard over the years? Then post them below!
Dedham Health & Athletic Complex