Please don’t believe everything you hear on those late-night infomercials! While doing abdominal exercises might help strengthen the muscles around your midsection, having a flat stomach or being able to see those six pack ab muscles has to do with your overall percentage of body fat. If you have excess fat around you belly, you won’t see those muscles no matter how long you sweat on the infomercial machine.
Further, doing ab exercises will NOT make you lose that belly fat. Spot reduction is only possible with the help a surgical procedure. You cannot pick and choose where you’d like to lose fat. Therefore, using that ab-circle, ab rocket or even doing regular crunches isn’t going to target weight loss in that area. Where we store our fat is based on genetic predisposition.
In order to get a toned flat stomach, you need to engage in a workout routine that involves both cardio and strength training. This will decrease your total body fat content including your belly fat.
2. Women will get big bulky muscles if they lift heavy weight. FALSE!
This myth never seems to die. Women have far lower levels of testosterone than men. Unless she is on anabolic steroids, growth hormone or other enhancing drugs, a woman will never achieve the muscular size of a man. However, she can get a degree of muscularity that makes her lean, toned and tight.
3. Skipping Meals Helps With Weight Loss
I hear this all the time. “I’m trying to lose weight so I don’t eat dinner/lunch/breakfast”. In reality this will simply cause your metabolism to drop. To make matters worse, when you resume a regular eating pattern again you will find that gaining weight has just become even easier than before. Instead of skipping meals, eat 5-6 smaller meals per day instead of 2-3 larger ones and then combine this eating pattern with an exercise regime.
4. Low Weight and High Reps is good for Toning. FALSE!
The process of “toning” actually involves two stages. Building muscle and dropping fat. Muscle responds to overload. If you lift heavier weight with sufficient intensity, your muscles will become tighter and stronger. Subsequently, reducing body fat is what will create the “lean and tight” look, not high reps (15 plus reps). Reduced body fat is a result of efficient weight training, proper amounts of cardio and healthy nutrition. Light weight with high reps will not help you build stronger muscles nor does it create enough intensity for efficient fat loss.
5. Weight Machines are Safer than Free Weights. FALSE!
Although at first sight it may appear as though an exercise machine automatically puts your body in the right position and helps you move correctly, that’s only true if the machine is adjusted correctly for your body. Unless you have coach or a to figure out what is the right setting for you, you can make just as many mistakes on a machine as if you work out with free weights. Furthermore, machines can cause a higher risk of injury in the long run. This is because you are never performing the action in a natural way and the machines tend to target and isolate particular muscle groups. As a result you will develop a muscle imbalance. Additionally, machine training does not teach you muscles to balance and stabilize like free weights. As long as you perform the exercises with proper technique, free weight training is not only safer but is also a more effective whole body training method.