5 Lies About Fitness

When it comes to how to get the best sweat, everybody has an opinion. Whether you're looking to slim down, add muscle, get stronger or just feel more energized, you've got to make sure that you know fact from fiction!

Some of these are cringeworthy, but they're legitimate rumors that I hear floating around the depths of gym locker rooms and smoothie bars. Protect yourself against the dirty lies!


1. If you lift heavy, you'll bulk up like a bodybuilder.

I liken this to someone saying "If you eat too many vegetables, people will mistake you for a supermodel."

The bottom line is that it takes a lot more than that to have the physique of a bodybuilder.

Females with big bulking muscles have to follow very specific training programs (often training for multiple hours a day) and have to eat an excess of calories in order to maintain their physique. However, women with the "ideal" fitness physique, who are lean but "toned," use very heavy weights to create their bodies, but they do not consume an excess of calories to increase their size. In fact, they pair their weight training with just enough cardio to ensure that their body fat percentage stays down while their muscle size increases or stays just right.

Contrary to this line of thinking, building muscle mass with heavy weights is one of the best ways to lose and maintain a healthy weight! The more muscle you have, the more calories you burn, even after your workout! Without that muscle to back you up, all of your hard work is worth a lot less.

2. Sweating a lot means you're out of shape.

Sweating is a bodily function that's impacted by a lot more than just fitness level. One might sweat more or less due to temperature, humidity levels, hormone levels, or even what they ate before their workout. While it's true that overweight individuals tend to break a sweat quickly, it's thought that fit individuals break a sweat faster than those who are less fit because a body that is aerobically fit is more efficient at cooling itself and preventing overheating.

There are way too many factors at play to determine one's fitness level through sweat, so whether your workout leaves you dripping or bone dry, don't use sweat as a measure of your fitness.

3. You've got to be in the fat burning zone to burn body fat.

The fat burning zone is 50-69% of your maximum heart rate, which is roughly jogging pace. In this heart rate zone, your body is burning mostly fat instead of carbohydrates, but that doesn't mean that the fat that's being burned is coming from your thighs. Ultimately, the key to weight loss is burning calories, whether they come from fat or from carbohydrates. When you're in the fat-burning zone, you're burning less calories per hour than when you're in a higher heart rate zone, so even though those calories are coming from fat, you're simply not working as hard and therefore not burning as many calories.

Think of it this way:

When walking uphill, you're burning 250 calories per hour in the fat burning zone.

When doing HIIT sprints, you're burning 700 calories per hour in the anaerobic heart rate zone.

You're going to lose more weight performing an exercise at a higher heart rate, regardless of what your body is using as its energy source.

4. Crunches are the best way to get six-pack abs.

Remember the show Survivor? By the end of the season, the contestants all had washboard abs, but it wasn't because they were doing crunches all day.

Those six-pack abs are directly correlated to your body fat percentage, which is not to say that you should starve yourself to get them. The important thing to realize is that you can do crunches all day long, but you're not going to see your abs unless your body fat percentage is low enough.

That's where the phrase "abs are made in the kitchen" is from.

Don't waste your time with thousands of crunches - do your ab workouts, get your cardio in and eat healthy to see those abs come out to play!

5. A longer workout is a better workout.

You could spend all day working out... or you could spend 30 minutes doing a hardcore, kickass workout and get the same (if not better) results. Seems like a no-brainer to me!

Just like the fat burning zone myth, you're going to burn a lot more calories doing an intense, fast workout than a slow and steady one.

The Fit By Gab workout program is based on intense 30-minute workouts that burn crazy calories without taking up too much time in your busy schedule.

Now that you know the truth, you're going to save yourself a lot of time and heartache, so the next time you see a friend falling prey to one of these dirty fitness lies, set her straight!

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