Fitness Myths

We Lie to You.

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We lie to you. We do. We fitness professionals. We don't always mean to. Sometimes it's because we've fallen in love with exercise. And as often happens when we're in love, we see what we want to see and ignore the rest. Love is blind, as the saying goes. And like an awesome girl with a shady boyfriend we desperately want our friends to like, we often gloss over what sucks about exercise and present it as it feels to us, and not how it feels to most people.

We describe exercise classes as invigorating, refer to sweating as sparkling and cheerily lead "beginner" workout sessions at an intensity-level the average person would more accurately describe as "vomit-inducing."

The truth about exercise, even when it's done at an appropriate intensity, is that it's uncomfortable. It just is. Your heart and breathing rates increase, your muscles burn and sometimes shake and your body temperature rises and you sweat. It is the antithesis of comfortable.

So, we don't say those things on our websites, or in our class descriptions. They don't look good on t-shirts or water bottles, you guys. And honestly, for a lot of fitness professionals while those things I describe above happen to us, we kind of like it.

I know, I know.

Here is where I confess my own participation in all of this. I mostly love it when my muscles are shaky and I finish a workout as a sweaty mess. But I recognize that isn't normal. And I wonder whether we (the collective we, that is) are doing a disservice to people by not always acknowledging that.

I suspect we are.

The reality is that as a trainer you can (and at our studio, we do) try to mitigate the discomfort. We plan breaks into each workout; we encourage you to drink water; we try to mix in less intense exercises with the higher intensity stuff; we play fun music and chat with you to distract you; we do everything we can do to make the experience a positive one so that you walk out the door feeling empowered and with an increased confidence and appreciation for your body.

But I've been to the other kind of class. And if that was my intro to exercise, I would have thought there was something wrong with me. For feeling tired and shaky instead of energized and invigorated. For feeling awkward and clumsy instead of empowered and strong. For wanting to go lie down in the fetal position rather than take on my day with confidence and joy.

Because no one, not the instructor or the class description, told me it might feel bad. And I get it--that's a terrible sales strategy for one thing. (The endorphins coursing through our veins from all that exercise, combined with that whole love analogy I made earlier, are other factors.)

However, it is counter-productive. Because whatever fun words we use to describe exercise, at some point that person is going to take our class or sign-up for a session and the truth of it, whatever that is for them, will come out.

Maybe they'll love it. Great.

Maybe they'll hate it but sign a silent agreement with themselves to gut it out until they lose those 30 pounds and then peace out. Not so great.

But maybe something worse will happen. Maybe they'll think we're delusional because their experience in no way resembled what was marketed to them and decide never to come back. Or maybe they'll internalize it. Maybe they'll think something is fundamentally wrong with them because they don't feel all of the wonderful things they were promised. Maybe they'll decide they just aren't meant for exercise.

And that would be the very worst outcome, in my view.

So, what's the solution? Well, maybe there's some kind of middle ground we strike in our communication between what we hope you will feel and the range of experiences people can have on the path to that outcome...

But that's really a fitness industry conversation. I guess what I'm trying to say to you here, friends, is this:

  • It's okay if you take a barre class and feel like the exercises could be used to extract state secrets from you, if you had any.
  • It's totally fine if the only thought that gives you joy during a circuit training session is imagining punching the instructor somewhere it will hurt. (Just to be clear, actually hitting them would be very bad. And possibly a felony.)
  • You're normal if your conclusion about Pilates is that you will never feel okay about a workout that requires you to spend that much time with your feet inches from your face.
  • You don't need to feel ashamed if your favorite part of a yoga session is that pose where you lie down with your eyes closed and nap.

It's "normal" to feel all of those things, or their opposites.

It's okay to love exercise. I hope you mostly love it.

It's okay to think it sucks. Some days I think it sucks.

What isn't okay is for fitness professionals to be disingenuous. Or to fail to acknowledge the struggle that exercise often is. Or to forget that our relationship with exercise is a committed, loving partnership, while for many of our clients it's a first date with someone they met online. They may get married one day, but it may not be today or tomorrow or next month.

So, if this post is nothing else, it is written acknowledgement from me of all of that. For whatever that's worth.

The Fitness Myth That Needs to Die

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I see this myth all over social media, particularly Pinterest, although a particular fitness e-newsletter I subscribe to is guilty of propagating it as well. And this myth is so pernicious because, not only does it promote bad fitness science but it also reinforces the adversarial relationship that many of us have with our bodies. I hate it and I wish it would die a quick and painful death, because the last thing we need is one more method with which to analyze and punish our bodies. The myth is spot-training and it has to go.

Spot-training, for those of you not familiar with it, says that by building muscle in one part of your body, that muscle will burn the fat that's sitting on said body part.

Any article you see that says something along the lines of "banish back fat with these five exercises," or "eliminate thigh jiggle with this series of lunges," is promoting spot-training.

It can sound appealing, right? Efficient, even.

But...

It's a myth. It's junk fitness science. And it's the worst kind of myth, because it takes elements of something true and twists it into something that's not.

There is an overwhelming amount of exercise-related information flying at us at all times and a lot of it is useless. Some of it is dangerous. One of the reasons we started this blog is to have a platform to share what we know about health and fitness, and part of that is de-bunking fitness myths. That's what I'm going to do here today. So here we go.

The 4-1-1 on Muscle and Fat. Fat exists in the space between your skin and your muscles. We all have it in varying amounts and how easy or difficult it is to lose it when we want to depends on things like: our age, genes, lifestyle choices and gender.

Muscle tissue is more metabolically active than fat tissue--meaning a pound of muscle burns more calories than a pound of fat. Generally speaking, the more muscle you have the more calories you will burn, even at rest. On the one hand, it makes sense that if you focused on building muscle mass that you would lose body fat. Your body can and does use fat as fuel during exercise. So, you can see that there are parts of the spot-training concept that ring true.

However, your body doesn't care where the fat it burns comes from and your muscles do not just burn the fat that's adjacent to them. Other factors, including genetics, determine where you lose fat and in what order.

Your body decides and it doesn't take your preference into consideration.

The myth. Spot-training advocates that my leg muscles will burn the fat that's sitting on my legs if I work them hard enough. Like the burner on a stove, melting the fat away.

That is not how it works.

Several studies have discredited the effectiveness of spot-training, or spot-reduction, as it is sometimes called. Yet the myth persists, buoyed in part by anecdotal evidence and taking study results out of context.

There was a study in the 1980's in which subjects completed intense abdominal exercise for 27 days. The researchers measured the subjects' fat in three areas before and after the study--their stomachs, backs and glutes. The subjects did lose fat in their stomachs, but they also lost fat in the other two areas. This is not evidence that spot-training works. Rather it is evidence that when exercise is difficult enough to burn a significant number of calories, weight loss occurs everywhere, including the spot-trained area.

Some muscles are more visible much sooner than others. Which means that there are muscles you can train, and you'll see the results relatively quickly. Shoulders are one. Calves are another.

Why? Well, people generally have less fat on those areas--there's not as much tissue between those muscles and the skin. As much as our bodies are unique and function differently in many other ways, this is a fairly universal truth. So if you target those areas regularly, you will see the muscles much more quickly than your abdominal muscles or triceps, for example.

How visible your muscles are depends not just on your muscle mass, but on how much fat tissue exists between your muscles and your skin. So, you could build tremendously strong abdominal muscles through crunches, but you won't see your ab muscles unless you lose fat and your body decides to take enough of it from your mid-section to reveal them.

The worst bit. Spot-training isn't necessarily dangerous, just ineffective. But the insidious thing about it is that it cultivates an adversarial relationship between you and parts of your body. It says, "target those jiggly areas for destruction because they don't belong here." "A back shouldn't have fat," says spot-training. And if it does, we must annihilate it.

By the way, if I haven't said it before on this blog, I hate that we conflate having and being. You hear people say they "are fat," all the time. You rarely hear them say, simply that they "have fat."

I'm not saying that wanting to lose fat is bad. It's not. But losing fat, for many of us, isn't a simple proposition. And spot-training is based on the premise that it is.

So ditch the spot-training. Keep exercising. Keep strength-training. Lift more weight. Complete more repetitions. Keep improving. Do workouts that target every major muscle group, not just the ones that have some jiggle. You need all of your muscles to be strong and healthy so that your body can carry you through a long and happy life.

 

 

 

The Secrets to a Great Workout Every Time

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We love to bust myths and share exercise tips around here. And this tip is something you can do whether you've never jumped onto the exercise bandwagon, fallen off it a couple of times, or have set-up camp there for decades. It works for yoga, for cardio, for strength-training, circuit, boot-camp, Pilates workouts--you name it. You don't have to be a certain weight to do this. It requires just a few seconds of your time. And it doesn't cost a penny. But, I swear it's one of the most important things I do. Set an intention and find something to be thankful for.

That's it.

Establish your mantra for your workout. It may sound all new-agey and hokey. I don't care.

It works.

Pick some words you can bring your mind back to when the workout gets tough.

I wrote a post a while back about body positive affirmations, and this is a similar idea. One of the affirmations I shared in that post "my strong legs carry me through the toughest of obstacles," is actually one of my favorite workout affirmations.

It reminds me why I'm doing this--so that I can be strong and healthy. And it serves as a distraction while my little quads are burning during sumo squats! I just keep saying it over and over again to myself and it (sometimes) takes my mind off of the discomfort.

Another one that I use often is, "a building is only as tall as the foundation is strong." I heard that in an core-focused class once, which makes sense if you think of your core muscles as the foundation from which your body moves. But it also works in a more general way. What I'm doing every time I exercise is taking care of my physical body, because when it's healthy and strong it's the foundation upon which all of the other things I want and need to do rest.

To start out with, maybe you choose something that reflects how you want to think of exercise. Perhaps for you, the thing  you struggle with most is a negative association with exercise. Those kinds of affirmations are great too. Something like, "exercise makes me feel good/energetic." Or maybe, "today I'm choosing to honor my body with exercise."

You can Google exercise affirmations for ideas, if you have trouble coming up with one on your own.

The reason this is important is because what you think and say to, and about, yourself and your body becomes your reality. It really does.

If what you think to yourself is that you can't do it, or you hate exercise, or your body is too big to exercise; those things will become deeply ingrained. They will become true even though they're not.

The good news is that if the negative thoughts can become reality, so too can positive ones. Tell yourself these things even if you don't believe them today or tomorrow or next week. If you keep at it--meaning you practice saying these affirmations to yourself multiple times a day--you will start to believe them.

The affirmations are something I do before and during my workouts. But I also do something at the end that has improved my life.

Gratitude.

I end my workouts by sitting or laying down, closing my eyes, and thinking of one thing I'm grateful to my body for that day. If I exercise in the morning, before I've had a chance to accomplish much, it's going to be related to my workout.

It might be gratitude to my body for leaving it's comfortable, warm bed and hauling itself to the gym. (Many days it's simply that.) Or it might be thanking my arms and back for holding me up during those last few seconds of that plank exercise, when they were shaking and wobbling and when I just wanted to drop.

It can be general or specific, but the deal is that I can't get up and get on with my day until I've said a genuine thank-you to my body.

I'm telling you guys, focusing on gratitude has transformed not only the end of my workouts, but also how I approach the rest of my day.

So, are those the secrets you were expecting when you were reading the first paragraph of this post? Do you have affirmations, mantras or other tips for nurturing that mind-body connection? If so, share them below!

 

 

That Time I Exercised Less & Got Stronger

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Yep. It's true. I exercised for less time, at a lower intensity for two months. And I feel better. I sleep better. I'm fitter. I'm stronger. I can feel muscles I haven't felt in years. My knees don't hurt. Everything changed when I changed my workouts. Here's what I did... I wrote a post a couple of months ago about how I suspected I was over-training and needed to decrease the intensity and length of my workouts, and add in recovery days. You can read it here, if you missed it. What I didn't make clear in that post was just how scared I was of doing that.

Doing what, exactly?

 

I switched from 60+ minute workouts 6-7 days/week to 30 minute workouts 5 days/week with a couple of days of active recovery on the non-workout days. Active recovery meant either a 30-minute dynamic stretching routine or a 35-minute "pre-hab" routine. The latter was a series of movements that took my joints through their full ranges of motion and incorporated some stretching movements as well. The idea behind it is to prevent some of the common injuries we get by making sure that your body is flexible and balanced enough to respond to the demands of daily living and of regular exercise without breaking/tearing/straining/dislocating anything.

The 30 minute workouts all included cardio--some days were designated just for cardio, but the strength training workouts were circuit workouts, so even during resistance training my heart rate was up in a cardio zone.

Just because I decided to try this doesn't mean I was completely sold on the idea though. As I said, I was scared when I started.

Scared that I would lose muscle mass. Scared that I would lose strength. Scared that I would be less flexible. Less fit. Less in control of my body.

I wondered if I would gain weight.

I wondered if I would feel challenged enough by shorter workouts.

I honestly wondered whether I'd stick to it for the full 6 weeks.

But I did. And here's what happened...

I got stronger. I know this because when I started, the advanced modifications were too difficult for me to complete. By the 8-week mark, where I am now, I'm able to do many of those modifications and I've been able to increase the weight of the dumbbells I use.

I can drop further down into squats. Exercises that used to bother my knees, don't so much anymore because my glutes, hamstrings and quadriceps muscles are stronger and better able to support my knees.

I gained muscle mass. Maybe lost some fat as well. Probably a little of both. Not sure. But I do know that I began to notice that my biceps and shoulder muscles were more visible when I moved my arms around. Muscles in my legs, specifically my adductor and abductor (inner and outer thighs) became more defined. I could see them, not just feel them.

The workouts were shorter but they were challenging. I never finished one and thought, "well, that was easy." I finished them with shaky legs and rubbery arms.

I don't know whether or not I gained weight. I don't own a scale and I don't weigh myself. I may weigh more now, depending on how much muscle I gained (muscle weighs more than fat) and a host of other factors. I don't honestly care about the number that much. But I feel really good and strong. My clothes fit. And I've noticed good changes in the shape of my body.

I feel like I gained a ton of positive things from this and didn't lose anything out of the deal. My plan is to continue with this schedule, switching out some of the workouts and playing around with the order of workouts each week. Variety is important, both so I don't get bored and so my body continues to have to adapt to new challenges.

It's working really well for me, which means it's improving my health and quality of life. My body was in rebellion when I made this switch and now I feel like it's working with me not against me.

I don't know where you are with exercise--whether you're just starting out, thinking about starting, totally content with your workout schedule, or over-training like I was. I hope you've got a healthy relationship with your workouts and that they make you feel confident and strong! That's how it should be.

But the reason I wrote posts about my experience is that when I was doing too much, reading articles by other people who had dialed-back on their workouts resonated with me. And because it resonated with me, I thought it meant something. It got my attention. It made me think that maybe something was off. Those articles gave me permission, in a way, to change. If you're in a similar situation, maybe this post will resonate with you. Maybe some changes are overdue in your own workouts.

Or maybe you'll check-in with how you feel about your workouts and decide they're working really well for you. Yay! Or maybe you'll decide your workouts aren't challenging enough. That what once was tough is now really easy. That you haven't upped your weights recently or tried the advanced exercise modifications in your favorite exercise DVD, and you'll decide that you should.

The point is that no workout or workout schedule is so sacred that it can't be revised. Changing things up can be really good for you, mentally and physically. Keep checking-in with your body and your attitude toward your workout. Give yourself permission to make adjustments. You can try new things, new schedules, new intensities and if they don't work for you, try something else.

Thanks for reading! As always, feel free to leave comments or questions below.

 

The Myth of Feelings

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As many of you know, we launched a non-exercise class at the studio last month. The goal of the class is to provide people with some tools to boost their self-confidence and love their bodies as they are. (Click here to read more about the class.) I'm taking the class too, because I may end up teaching it in the future, but also because I knew I would get a lot out of it. Today I'm pretty comfortable in my body, but I definitely struggled for years with low self-esteem, a disordered relationship my body and with food and exercise. Those things are still close to the surface, if I'm honest. Closer than I'd like them to be. So, it's been good for me to explore those things and to practice the techniques Nikki is sharing with us.

The thing I've been ruminating on the last couple of weeks, but haven't articulated yet in class, is that for me the change in my relationship with my body involved a complete shift in my thinking. See, I always thought that I would wait until I felt confident before I attempted the things that I really wanted to do, but that were intimidating to me. Or that I would wait until I loved my body (when it was skinny enough, tan enough, well-dressed enough, whatever) before I treated it as though I loved it.

But then I realized that I had it backwards. That by doing those challenging things and either, succeeding or just surviving them, I would build the confidence that would make it easier to do more of them in the future. Through action I would build the feeling.

Similarly when it came to loving my body, it was by treating it in a loving way that I behaved my way into feeling loving about it. Here's what I mean.

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I said kind and encouraging things about my body.

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I nourished it with good food and movement.

Paper Heart

I wore clothing that fit well and was comfortable (whatever size that was).

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I joined in on exercise classes even when I was the largest student in the class.

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I wore a bathing suit and swam in the summertime because I love being in the water and there's nothing better on a hot day.

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I prioritized sleep.

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I pampered myself with the things I know make me feel relaxed and happy.

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I went out socially and spent time with friends.

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I wore summer clothes in the summer, rather than sweltering in cardigans and long pants because I thought my arms or my legs were too big.

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If there was something I really wanted to do and the only reason I was going to say no was because of some insecurity about how I looked, then I made myself say yes.

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Some of you may be worried that if you do some of these things, that people might make mean comments to you about your body. The reality is that there is no way to prevent mean people from saying mean things. Hurt people often turn that hurt outward and try to cause pain to others. That's why you must be vigilant in ensuring that the things you say to yourself about yourself are positive; that you counter every criticism, every nasty discouraging comment (from yourself or someone else) with something good and positive and true.

Let's say I put on that bathing suit and heard someone say, "she has no business wearing a bathing suit when she looks like that." If I couldn't let that comment roll off my back (even though I should because who cares what someone else thinks about my body!), I would write an affirmation for myself that was the opposite of that statement. Something like, "My body is worthy of feeling the joy and freedom that comes from being and moving in the water. It is as healthy and strong as it can be today and it will be even healthier and stronger tomorrow." Then I'd put that affirmation somewhere I would see it every day and I'd make myself say it out loud at least once a day until I believed it at my core.

If I had waited for some feeling of love to wash over me before I did those things, I would have been waiting forever. Because loving my body ultimately had nothing to do with what size, shape or weight I was. Seriously.

There was a time that I thought if I could get down to a particular pant size, then I deserved to be confident, happy, loved, etc. And until then, no dice. But when I would get down to that size, it was never enough. There was no magic transformation in my feelings about my body. I didn't wake up that day as a size 6 and suddenly feel like I had permission to live a full life.

Because here's the problem with feelings: feelings are transitory and unpredictable. Relying on a feeling means waiting on something on whose arrival you cannot count, and on something that can disappear as quickly as it appeared.

But when you focus on the action; there is no waiting. You just do the thing. You have control over how you're going to behave toward your body. Trust that if you behave in a loving way, the feeling will follow.

This isn't to say that I never have a day or a week where I'm critical of my body. I do. But, even on those days, I still do the things I listed above. I still treat it with kindness and with love. And when you do that for long enough, it becomes impossible to hate it.

If you're struggling with negative body image, I want you to try something. I want you to ask yourself this question, "How would I treat my body if I loved it?" Maybe some of your answers will be similar to the ones I listed for you above. Maybe not. If you're struggling, think about how you treat someone you love--your best friend, your partner, your mother, siblings--and extend those same acts of kindness and grace to yourself.

Practice, practice, practice it. Keep doing loving things for yourself. Treat yourself the way you plan to treat yourself when your body is the size, shape, weight you've decided is acceptable. Do that now. Because your body is acceptable and worthy of love and kindness just as it is today.

None of this means that you can't strive to be healthier or to improve on the quality of the food you eat or the exercise you get. There is absolutely nothing wrong with wanting to be the strongest, healthiest version of yourself that you can be. I want that for myself and I want it for you too.

But you can and should love yourself at every step of your journey; from where you are now through all the variations you'll experience during your long life.

When Change is Good

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A while ago I wrote a post about recovery days, aka active rest days and how important they are. And they are. And then...I promptly ignored my own advice.

I did it because I loved my workouts and didn't want to miss an opportunity to move.

Part of the fun of being a personal trainer is that I can play around with my workouts and see what my body can do. But I also know how to keep myself safe and the signs to watch for that indicate that a particular exercise or program isn't working for me.

Which leads me to the subject of this post.

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Several weeks ago I started to notice that I didn't feel right. I had trouble sleeping and was tired all the time. My muscles were sore constantly. I was irritable. I had been sick a couple of times in quick succession. My knee, which I had injured last year and recovered from, was starting to hurt badly again. My appetite was often nonexistent.

And I was starting to dread my workouts. Workouts that I normally loved. Exercises that used to be challenging but doable, now often seemed impossible. I wasn't feeling stronger. I wasn't having fun.

I suspected that I was overdoing things. Big time. So, I decided I needed to scale back. A prospect that in some ways I didn't relish, but in other ways was desperate to do.

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I'm two weeks in to an 8-week scaled down, moderate-intensity program at this point and I gotta say...I'm feeling really good. My energy level is up, I'm sleeping well, and I'm enjoying moving through my workouts again. I'm following a program designed by another personal trainer that I really like, so I also freed myself from the responsibility of putting together my own workouts. I'm tracking things like my energy level, sleep, appetite, mood and how my body feels, which has been really helpful.

When the 8 weeks are over, I'll see how I feel and may bump up the duration or intensity of my workouts a bit. Maybe. Or maybe I'll change them up in some other way. I'm not quite sure yet. There are some classes I'm thinking about taking and they're a bit longer than my current sessions. If I take them, then I might decrease the intensity on other days. I'm just going to play around with different things until I find something that challenges me enough, while not draining me.

Keep Exploring

I encourage you to check-in with your body on a regular basis too. How are you sleeping? What's your energy-level like? How about your appetite? Your mood? Are you in pain?

How are your workouts working for you? Are you giving your body a chance to recover from activity? If you generally like exercise, do you find yourself looking forward to it each day or dreading it? Are you doing the same kind of workout, but not with the same amount of enjoyment? Have the gains you were making in strength, endurance, flexibility or balance slowed or plateaued? Are you bored? Are you feeling overwhelmed or too challenged?

We often stick to routines out of habit, or out of the fear that if we change things up whatever the new thing is won't be as effective as the old thing and we'll lose whatever gains we've made. And we very often don't pay attention to the signals our bodies are sending us that it's time to scale down, scale up or just change our activity.

When you've done your own self-assessment, feel free to change anything that isn't working for you. There are tons of great personal trainers who can help you figure out a great plan, and I'm always happy to share the name of the program I'm doing now with anyone who's interested, with the caveat that every body is different and what works well for me might not work for you and vice versa.

There are so many ways to move your body, that finding something that works for you is a matter of trial and error. And, in case I haven't said it here before, you can always break up your exercise time into manageable chunks. If your goal is 30 minutes a day, you can do three 10-minute sessions instead of one 30 minute block. Do what works for you, both in terms of content and time.

Take care all. Until next time...

5 Fitness Myths

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I wrote last month about the myth of spot-training, and then I realized that there were a bunch of fitness myths that deserve to be exploded. So here are my Top 5 Fitness Myths De-Bunked. Myth 1: If I stop working out, my muscle will turn into fat. Very, very much untrue. Scientifically impossible, in fact. Muscle tissue and fat tissue are two completely different kinds of tissue. One can no more turn into another than I can turn into, I don't know, a cute, fluffy kitten at will. If you stop training a particular muscle, you will lose muscle mass. That loss can cause your metabolism to slow, thus you are burning fewer calories overall. That can lead to fat gain. But it isn't your muscle transforming.

Myth 2: Crunches are the only way to strengthen my abs. Not only is this not true, but floor crunches aren't even the best way to strengthen your abs, in my opinion. Your abs are designed to engage when you are upright, so there are tons of great standing exercises you can do to strengthen your core, which includes your back muscles, incidentally. Here are a few from PopSugar. It's not a standing exercise, but planks are great for your core too, as are squats. Really, you can and should engage your abs throughout your workout to support your back.

Myth 3: How much I sweat is directly proportional to how many calories I burned. Sweating is the body's cooling system. How much you sweat is dependent upon a number of factors, but the lack of it is not an indicator that you aren't burning calories or vice versa.

Myth 4: If I'm not sore the next day then the workout was too easy. This is closely related to Myth 3. While soreness in the days after a workout indicates you stressed that muscle, the absence of soreness doesn't necessarily mean you didn't. Sometimes your recovery protocol--what you ate, how much sleep you got, how much water you drank--impacts how sore you are later.

Myth 5: No pain, no gain. This one has the most potential to actually physically harm you. Exercising can be uncomfortable. Sometimes your muscles burn. Sometimes they get a little shaky when they're fatigued. You may also experience soreness in the days following your workouts. But, exercise should not be painful. If you are in pain during an exercise, don't push through it. Stop and find an exercise that isn't painful, and possibly go see your doctor depending on the severity of the pain and/or how long it lasts. Pain is your body's way of telling you something isn't right. So, discomfort is okay. Pain is not.

Are there other things you've heard about exercise or health that you want to know whether or not they're true? We're happy to address them, so please submit them as a Comment and maybe you'll see them mentioned in a future post!