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3 Exercise Myths Busted

By REENA VOKOUN 

When it comes to exercise, there’s a lot of conflicting information out there. Let's "bust" the three top exercise myths and set the record straight, so you can get the most effective workouts and results possible.

Woman lifting weights.

Myth 1: Women will bulk up if they lift heavy weights.

Reality: Genetics play a key role when it comes to your build. According to the American Council on Exercise and Jessica Matthews, M.S., E-RYT, women — especially those who have small frames and little testosterone and muscle tissue — have a minimal chance of bulking up when lifting heavy weights.

Even men are unable to bulk up easily, despite the amount of testosterone and muscle tissue. In fact, lifting heavy weights with fewer reps or lighter weights with higher reps could have a similar outcome, if the exercises are performed to the point of muscle fatigue in less than 90 seconds.

[Read More: 3 Moves for a Strong, Toned Upper Body]

So the next time you're worried about bulking up, remember that the chances are minimal and depend on your genetics and the amount of time, weight and repetitions you're using to perform the exercises.

Try to challenge yourself with weights that really make your muscles work and give you an effective workout. For example, the next time you work out, you might consider lifting 12-pound weights instead of 10 and doing 12 reps for reach muscle group. However, remember to be safe and lift weights that still allow you to maintain a full range of motion and don't cause a risk of injury to your back.

Myth 2: Muscle weighs more than fat, so if you're not slimming down from working out, this is the reason.

Reality: While most of us have probably heard this myth before, it's incorrect. According to the National Academy of Sports Medicine and Stacey Penney, NASM CES, PES, FNS, one pound of muscle actually weighs the same as one pound of fat. The key difference is in the density levels.

Muscle is more dense than fat, therefore, it takes up less space. This could explain why some people with more muscle look tighter and leaner than people with less muscle, even if they weigh the same.

[Read More: Why Your Workout Isn’t Working]

Look at your nutrition and eating habits. Sometimes we eat more than usual when we're working out hard because our bodies need fuel. However, it could cause us to eat more calories than we're actually burning, which ultimately could be attributed to the lack of weight loss.

According to the Aerobics and Fitness Association of America, you should subtract 500 calories through exercise and diet in order to lose weight. For example, if you want to lose one pound per week, aim to burn 250 calories through exercise and cut 250 calories from your meals.

 Myth 3: If you want to improve or perfect your fitness level at a certain sport or type of exercise, you should do it over and over again.

Reality: Doing the same sport or exercise repeatedly may result in overuse syndrome in certain muscle groups. According to the Aerobics and Fitness Association of America, overuse syndrome is defined as "excessive, repeated stress placed on one area of the body over an extended period of time."

While it's important to practice consistently, you want to ensure you're cross-training and focusing on four key things -- cardio, interval training, strength and flexibility -- in order to maximize your performance and be a well-rounded and balanced athlete.

Finally, don't underestimate the power of a rest day. Rest days are critical for allowing your muscle tissues to repair themselves and for your body to take a little breather so you'll have more energy the next time you're back at it.

--Reena

Readers -- Do (or did!) you believe in one of the three myths mentioned? Do you agree that these are all myths? Or do you still believe some of them are a little bit true for some people? Leave a comment below and let us know!

Reena Vokoun is the founder of Passion Fit, LLC, a certified fitness and dance instructor, blogger, video expert, digital-advertising professional and award-winning ESPN National Aerobics Championships competitor. She's a happily married mother of two boys.

 You can visit her website and follow her on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Google+ and YouTube.

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