Common fitness myths debunked

Do you really need a gym to get in a good workout? Lisa Reed tackles that myth and more. (Thinkstock)

Lisa Reed
WTOP Fitness Contributor

WASHINGTON – From the types of exercises performed, to the location at which you exercise, there are numerous myths surrounding fitness workouts and routines.

Lisa Reed, certified personal trainer and owner of Lisa Reed Fitness, sets the record straight with these myths:

Myth 1: In order to get a good workout, you must go to a gym.

Truth: Just because you don’t have a gym membership does not mean you can’t work out. If you don’t belong to a gym, you can perform strength training at home or even jump rope with strength circuits in your garage. And “workout rooms” don’t stop there.

You can burn calories in your living room, your kitchen, your backyard, the park, etc. For short at-home exercise ideas, check out Lisa’s YouTube channel for guided routines.

Myth 2: Women shouldn’t lift weights because it will give them big muscles.

Truth: This is so false. Women are genetically different than men, in that they produce a fraction of the amount of testosterone men produce (and therefore will not bulk up like men).

Women need strength and resistance training to shape their bodies, burn energy at rest and build bone strength to prevent osteoporosis.

It’s not the scale you’re looking at; it’s how your clothes fit and how you feel — and working with weights will help you to feel your best.

One reason a lot of women think lifting weights will make them bulk up is because more muscle mass results in a higher metabolism, which may lead to a slightly increased appetite. However, that does not mean you can eat whatever you want.

Instead, you must change your eating habits. For example, you may start by eating a nutrient-rich breakfast, such as a three-egg white veggie omelet with berries and a slice of toast, or oatmeal with berries and two hard-boiled eggs (minus the yolk), or Greek yogurt with fruit and a green smoothie.

After breakfast, plan and prepare the rest of your day with mini meals that include greens, a lean source of protein and a complex carbohydrate.

Once you begin a strength-training program, it’s important to adjust your daily food plan and also incorporate cardiovascular exercise into your daily routine.

Myth 3: If you have an injury, you cannot work out.

Truth: If you have an injury, the first step is to see a doctor for diagnosis and treatment. Do not try to self-diagnose with information on the Internet.

Once you visit your doctor, talk to him or her about how to work around your injury. Work with a certified physiotherapist and/or certified strength and conditioning specialist during this time to develop a program tailored to your injury and recovery. Your focus should be modifying your workout to maintain strength and flexibility.

Most injuries come from an imbalance in another part of your body — especially knee and back injuries. When you’re injured, focus on the positives of what you still can do and remain grateful. With a positive energy shift, you can take care of your body through small, daily exercises. Soon enough, your body will begin to heal itself.

Myth 4: Not all adults can do three pull-ups — especially females.

Truth: In reality, everyone can do three pull-ups, so long as they train appropriately. But certain variables — such as body type, body composition, athletic base, strength ability and genetic differences — can play a role in executing the pull-ups.

First, a program should be tailored to upper body pulling movements with different reps, sets and hand positions, as there are many exercises that will help achieve your goals.

Examples include back exercises, such as rows (barbell, cable, dumbbell — all with varying hand grips and angles) and pulls or pull-ups (inverted, under hand, wide grip, close grip, negatives, weighted, resisted).

Other examples of exercises and muscle groups to be included in a pull-up training program are clean pulls and exercises for arms, shoulders and abdominals.

Don’t forget: Nutrition is key to a lean body as you build strength, and a lean body will be easier to lift to that bar.

Related Story: Common nutrition myths debunked

A power workout at home:

A workout for the whole family on a snowy day:

Lisa Reed is a certified personal trainer in the D.C. area and owner of Lisa Reed Fitness. Lisa can provide tailored strength training workouts, in-home personal training or group fitness at your office. She also has a circuit training DVD that includes six different workouts, as well as abs and stretching. In addition, Lisa provides nutrition programs designed to help you reach your health and fitness goals. Read more about Lisa at www.lisareedfitness.com. Follow @lisareedfitness on Twitter.

Follow @WTOP and @WTOPliving on Twitter.


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