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Top Fitness Myths Debunked

Strength training makes you bulk up

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Your top fitness myth: "[I believed] that strength training would make you bulk up — [but] it's HARD for women to put on tons of muscle without really trying!!" — Gabriela Une Vie Seine

Fitness fact: Many of you said you believed the bulking myth. In reality, however, building huge muscle requires testosterone coupled with a serious weight-training regimen (not to mention a protein-filled diet), so you aren't going to sculpt a bodybuilder physique unless you really want to. As celebrity trainer Jackie Warner says, "Would you rather have fat under those jeans or a little bit of tone?".

You can eat whatever you want as long as you exercise

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Your top fitness myth: "[I believed that] if I work out everyday I could eat whatever I wanted. Duh!!!!" — Facebook user Brighty

Fitness fact: Whether or not you gain or lose weight is all about the math. Losing pounds happens when you have a caloric deficit, meaning you eat fewer calories then you burn. Whether you want to maintain, gain, or lose weight while you exercise, having your metabolic rate checked and wearing a heart rate monitor can help you know exactly how much you should be eating. What you eat is also important, especially if you're training for a race; it's important to find the perfect balance of fats, protein, and carbs that will keep you fueled and energized.

You should do "fat-burning zone" exercises to lose weight.

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Your top fitness myth: "[I believed] that you would lose more weight if you stayed in the 'fat burning zone' instead of upping it into the [more-intense] cardio zone." — Vanonymous

Fitness fact: Wouldn't it be nice if all we had to do was walk away the pounds? The fat-burning zone you see on cardio machines refers to lower intensity, lower heart-rate zone exercises that burn more fat calories than carbs. In reality, however, the type of calories burned matters less than the overall amount of calories you are burning; if you want to lose weight, higher intensity cardio exercises will do that more efficiently, so it's better to up the intensity and go for the overall burn.

Six-pack abs are just 1,000 crunches away.

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Your top fitness myth: "[I believed I could] spot train fat away . . . I used to try and work my hips and stomach like crazy thinking the fat would just go away because I worked those areas so hard. Now I know that it is a total body workout plus cardio AND a good diet will get me there." — teacupkat

Fitness fact: Toning exercises are important for obtaining definition, but without the right plan your well-defined muscles will be hidden under a layer of fat. To banish the belly, stick to a healthy balanced diet and remember to do high-intensity cardio exercises to burn that stubborn fat as well.

Doing cardio is the only way to lose weight.

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Your top fitness myth: "[I believed] that cardio was the only way I could ever lose inches and pounds. It wasn't until I got a stress fracture in my foot from too much running and switched to lifting weights three times a week with a trainer that I realized the importance of strength training — and I actually got down to a size 2!" — laellavita

Fitness fact: It's not all about cardio, however. Some of you believed that cardio exercises were your magic ticket to shedding pounds, but as mentioned a balanced exercise routine should include strength training as well, since more muscle mass equals a higher metabolism. In fact, not only should you become a regular in the weight room, but you may want to try out heavier weights as well; studies have shown that women who lifted heavier weights and did fewer repetitions upped their caloric burn compared to women who used lighter weights and did more reps.

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