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7 Common Muscle Myths, Busted!

Myth: Cardio is Best to Burn Fat

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While cardio burns more calories than resistance training during your workout, lifting weights torches more fat overall. In a study published in The Journal of Strength and Conditioning Research, women who completed an hour-long strength-training workout burned an average of 100 more calories in the 24 hours afterward than those who skipped the weights. The more muscle owned, the more fat burned.

Myth: Lifting Weights Will Make You Bulky

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Muscle hypertrophy (growth) occurs very slowly over a period of weeks, months, and years. I've heard people say that after they started lifting weights, they grew so much muscle that their jeans felt uncomfortably tight and too small. While that may be true, strength training is not the cause. Because muscle is denser than fat, it squeezes the same amount of weight into less space. That means the more muscle you build, the tighter your body will be. A poor diet and lack of exercise, as opposed to a weight-training program, create the appearance of bulk.

Myth: Unused Muscle Turns to Fat

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Your body doesn't work this way. Muscle and fat are two completely different tissues. If you stop strength training, your muscles will begin to shrink and muscle tone and density will change. At the same time, fat cells gradually begin to replace the lean muscle tissue, creating the illusion of weight gain, but muscle will never actually transform into fat.

Myth: Stretching Before Your Workout Prevents Injury

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There is no scientific study that shows stretching before exercise will improve performance. Stretching increases flexibility, but most injuries occur during normal range of motion. The best way to prepare for your workout and reduce your risk of injury is to warm up (We love this dynamic warmup from celebrity trainer Joe Dowdell) and slowly increase blood flow to your muscles.

Myth: Cables and Resistance Bands are Best for Getting Toned

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Somewhere along the line, cables and resistance bands became known as the go-to tools for toning muscle, while free weights were considered better for building muscle. There's no real basis for these labels. A muscle contraction is a muscle contraction, regardless of the tool and form. The same resistance can be achieved using bands, cables, or free weights.

Myth: Eating an Excess of Protein Builds Muscle

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While it's true that protein aids in hypertrophy (growth), muscle growth requires a combination of proteins, carbohydrates, and fats. When your body has adequate amounts of carbs and fats to burn during your workout, it spares protein. Without sufficient carbs and fat, your body will use protein stores for energy.

Myth: Lunges Burn Fat from Your Hips and Butt

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"The more lunges I do, the more fat I’ll burn in my hips and glutes." Sound familiar? The truth is, you can do a thousand lunges a day and never lose fat from your hips and glutes. Your body doesn't work that way. Fat is burned systematically or from all parts of your body. So despite focusing on training one muscle group, you can't fool your body into using fat from one specific area.