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Bodybuilding Myths

Thinking about joining a gym and working out? Good. Just don't believe these common bodybuilding myths.

I don't lift weights because I don't want to be a huge, muscle-bound person.

Both men and women persist in believing this. Women, as a general rule, don't have enough testosterone to develop large, bulky muscles. Men may be able to, but the training and dedication required to build that type of physique is beyond all but the most dedicated bodybuilders. For most people, bodybuilding helps tone muscle and burns fat, not turn you into the Hulk.

Working out three times a week is good, so working out six times a week must be better.

Not necessarily. Many injuries that people experience working out come from trying to do too much, too soon. You have to start and build slowly, always paying attention to what your body is telling you. If you're on a weight lifting program, you can't continuously add more weight and expect to keep advancing. Weight training goes in cycles, and every few months, you may need to take a 7-10 day break or cut back your level of training intensity to progress.

No pain, no gain.

Exercising until you're in pain is not the way to get in shape. But be careful not to confuse muscle soreness with muscle injury. Your muscles will get sore after working out, especially when you're first starting a fitness program. Some soreness is a good thing; because it is an indication, your muscles are repairing themselves and growing. But if you're in physical pain, stop immediately. Your goal is to get fit, not end up in the hospital.

If I stop lifting weights, my muscle will turn to fat.

Muscle doesn't turn into fat any more than a hand can turn into a foot. When you stop exercising, your muscle tissues shrink (also known as atrophy). Keep eating the same amount of calories as when you were working out, and your fat cells will grow because you're not burning the excess calories off. Shrinking muscle and growing fat cells give the illusion that your muscle is turning into fat.

I just have a problem with (name your body part here) and only want to reduce weight in that spot.

You cannot lose fat from one specific body part just by exercising that area. There are numerous exercise equipment companies with late-night infomercials who claim you can, but they're lying to you. Listen carefully. At the end of the infomercial, you will always hear, "You too can achieve these AMAZING results! (Provided you participate in a regular diet and exercise program)."

I'm exercising, so I can eat anything I want.

Not at all! This is especially important to understand if you are one of those people trying to gain weight. (Yes, those people exist.) Pigging out on fattening, sugar-loaded foods WILL help you put on weight...but the majority of it will be artery-clogging fat. When you're exercising, it is even more important to eat healthy, so your muscles will have the proper nutrients to grow. If you don't eat properly, your workouts will make you sore but won't help build muscle.

I don't need to exercise; I just need to (follow this diet / take this pill / use this machine).

There is no magic potion to make you fit. That's a difficult message to understand if you read most fitness magazines. You're constantly bombarded with ads promising "rock hard abs in 4 weeks" or that you can "drop 10 pounds in 10 days - without dieting or exercise!" Here's a little secret. If you want to get in shape, the ONLY way to do it is by eating properly and exercising regularly.

I can start tomorrow.

You should start today! Right now, you can decide to improve yourself.

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CAUTION: Check with your doctor before
beginning any diet or exercise program.