Five Fitness Myths Exposed

August 10, 2009
Many people come to me curious on the topics of health, fitness and nutrition. With so much information out there, it can be daunting to separate the truths from myths. A friend says one thing, a health/fitness professional says another. Who do you believe? In an effort to sort out of some of this confusion, I will address some of the most frequently discussed myths. 
MYTH 1: Stretching BEFORE a work out prevents injuries:
Studies show that stretching prior to activity can weaken the muscle by lengthening it to a point past optimal performance. This minimizes the benefits of strength training, cardio, and athletic performance.
Instead try dynamic stretches that mimic the specific movement patterns you are about to do. This will loosen up the joints for your activity as well as reduce chance of injury.

MYTH 2: Lifting weights will make you bulky: 

 Women shy away from heavier weights for fear they will become too masculine looking

DAVE Q SAYS:                                                                   
Strength training will help you shed fat quicker and help to keep it off long term. When building muscle, testosterone is a key determinant. Men produce 20-30 times more testosterone that women. Therefore, it is almost impossible for women’s bodies to yield the same results as men’s after lifting heavy weights. Women should challenge themselves with a weight that is manageable yet difficult especially at the last 2-3 reps. Exerting the energy to get the weight up burns calories and feeds muscle fibers, making you toned and lean overtime. 

MYTH 3: Holding weights during cardio increases calorie burn:                                                                                                       

The added intensity of the weights do make you burn more calories, however, it doesn’t burn enough to make it worthwhile. Holding weights while doing cardio can also lead to elbow and shoulder injuries or knee injuries for those who use ankle weights. The added weights interfere with your natural movement pattern and lead to compensations which spur injuries.

If you’re looking to increase the intensity of your workout,  increase the speed, incline, or resistance up and down while performing your cardio. Interval training enables your heart rate to fluctuate during your workout and is an excellent calorie blaster! For those who still prefer to be “weighed down” during cardio, try a weight vest. The vest allows for equal distribution of weight on your body and lets you perform cardio activity more naturally.
MYTH 4: Long distance cardio is most effective for fat loss:       
 While long slow distance cardio (LSD) does wonders for the pulmonary and cardiovascular systems, it does very little to improve your body’s ability to burn and lose fat!  


Performing an interval-based program improves both aerobic and anaerobic fitness. When paired with resistance training, interval training has the greatest effect on altering body composition and provides the most “bang for your buck”. Try using a 2:1 rest to work ratio for best results (30 seconds of sub maximal effort followed by 60 seconds of active rest). You will be surprised how much harder you body works and how quickly you knock out that cardio session!

MYTH 5: Your body should be sore after every workout:                  
If you’re not sore after a workout, it DOES NOT mean you didn’t work hard and your muscles didn’t benefit!Using soreness as an indicator of intensity can have a negative effect, and lead to over-training or reduction in progress.

It is possible to become sore a day or two after beginning a new exercise routine or altering an existing one. This is known as delayed onset muscle soreness (DOMS), which is caused by microscopic tears in the muscle fibers during the lowering phase (eccentric phase) of the “lift”. As you progress, the soreness will diminish allowing you to achieve your goals. To keep your muscles challenged, you should modify your routine every 4-6 weeks.