Training and Conditioning: Common Myths and Misconceptions

January 18, 2007 at 7:23 pm | Posted in Tricking | 2 Comments

First of all I did not write this, I just found it very revealing and helpful so I decided to copy and paste it however I will obviously give credit where credit is due. by compleks from Australia, Melbourne
The fitness industry is plagued with lies, scams, myths, ignorance, and misconceptions. Some of these myths have been around for decades without any evidence or truth what so ever, and yet they still seem to be believed by so many. No matter where you go or who you speak to you are bound to hear someone say something that is untrue. Hopefully this thread will help inform you on some of the common myths you are likely to hear, or may have heard already. Trouble is that so many people believe these myths, which cause them spread so fast, and few people actually step back and question their validity.
Below is what I believe to be the 10 of the most common myths and/or misconception surrounding the fitness industry. Most people here are probably well aware of most of these, but occasionally you still hear someone mention them. I got a bit off track at points so excuse any rambling. I don’t expect anyone to read the entire thing (I don’t blame you, I barely even proof read the thing) but atleast browse through the sub-titles to make sure there isn’t anything you may have believed. I think there is some useful information in there for most people, even if it is completely off topic.

Now, if you have anything you think should be added then feel free to reply and let me know. If you would like to write something up yourself to be added then PM it to me, or just reply back here and I will cut and paste it into the original post along with the name of the author. I know Maverick said he would like to add something about getting shredded abs I think, so that would be a good addition.
If you have any questions or criticisms or you disagree with anything I wrote then please reply and let me know so I can try to clarify or justify myself.

myth-“Doing lots of reps with a light weight will tone up my muscles”
Wrong. Tone, when referring to muscle composition is either a myth or at very least a poor choice or words. The definition of tone is described as “the amount of tension in a muscle”, so the easiest and quickest way to increase tone is to contract your muscles – there you go, instant toning without any real work.
Most myths surrounding the fitness industry stem from some minor truth or misguided logic. In this case I assume the myth began when someone decided to use weight training as a form of cardio by doing a ridiculous amount of light weight, high rep training (which really negates the purpose of weight training). Now we know that cardiovascular training is an effective form of exercise, which in this case may have reduced bodyfat in a number of people doing this form of high rep training. This reduction in bodyfat would have increased the visibility, or definition of their muscles which may have been mistaken as ‘tone’.

Since then the word has spread and the ‘toning’ myth has since plagued the fitness industry. Now I don’t have anything against high rep training, as long as you are doing it for the right reasons such as increasing your muscular endurance, practicing your technique etc…
There are a few basic guidelines when it comes to resistance training and rep ranges, but basically training over 15-20 repetitions will primarily work as an endurance exercises, increasing the rate at which your muscles can produce and use energy for extended periods of time. This will also target your slow twitch muscle fibers more specifically, which decreases the likelihood of muscular hypertrophy (muscle growth). Of course this could well be a good thing depending on your goals, and the rep range will also vary depending on the individual and experience.
You will probably have to come to accept the term ‘tone’ and will probably even find yourself using it, which isn’t the problem. The real problem here is the belief that high rep training is an effective way to increase ‘tone’.
To summarise, if you want to ‘tone up’ then your real goal is most likely to increase muscle definition. Increasing definition can be achieved by lowering your bodyfat and/or increasing muscle mass, in which case you will need to adjust your training and/or diet.

Spot reduction:
myth-“Exercising a certain muscle will reduce the amount of fat covering or surrounding that muscle”
eg: Doing situps to decrease stomach fat.
This myth is often blended in with toning, especially amongst the female population trying to loose weight from around their hips, glutes and thighs while trying to ‘tone’ them up at the same time. Fat is an important energy source used during exercise, especially lower intensity longer duration type training such as jogging, or in this case it’s usually high rep training once again.
Using situps as an example, the prime mover is obviously the rectus abdominus, which for men is generally directly below a major storage site for adipose tissue (fat). Females tend to store the majority of their fat in their lower limbs causing the ‘pear’ shape, where men are more likely to deposit their fat around their torso giving them more of an ‘apple’ shape. This fat deposition is largely determined by genetics and hormones, and from a health perspective women may have an advantage over men with abdominal and torso fat being a larger health risk factor than fat stored in the limbs.
Back to the issue, it is common to see people doing hundreds of situps in an attempt to burn fat from their stomach. Yes, muscle will utilise fat as an energy source under the right conditions, but fat cannot simply pass directly into the working muscles from its surroundings. The process is alot more complicated than that and the fat must first be broken down into useable molecules before entering the bloodstream and continuing to the desired location. Since your body has to undergo this complicated procedure the location of the fat being used is of little importance, and cannot be determined or manipulated by training different muscles. Your body will most likely burn fat evenly from around your body, breaking down fat from all over. You may notice some difficult fat retention around your main storage sites, even with a low total bodyfat percentage, this is no different to any other form of fat and should be delt with in the same manner as any other fat, which is proper diet and cardiovascular training. Situps are not an effective means of cardio, and will not utilise a significant amount of fat as energy

Muscle to Fat:
myth-“That unused muscle will turn to fat, or that with training fat will turn to muscle”

Okay, I have no idea where this myth began but if I had to guess I would say it was just simply ignorance. I’m hearing this less and less as of lately which is a good sign that people may finally be wising up to this one. There isn’t alot to be said here unless you want to get into the molecular composition or muscle and fat and why it is impossible for one to transform into the other. This statement is just as absurd is implying that bone can turn to muscle, or that wood can turn to steel or that paper can turn to rock etc… You get the idea.
Muscle and fat are two completely different substances, they are divided within the body and don’t even make direct contact with one another. It is completely false and illogical to believe that one such tissue or compound can be converted to the other.

Weight training & Hypertrophy:
myth-“Resistance training will make your muscles huge, and the process is irreversible”
eg: “I don’t want to do weights because I don’t want to get huge” or “I’m lifting the light weights so I don’t bulk up”
Many aspiring bodybuilders find this particular myth to be especially frustrating, because they know how much effort, knowledge, discipline and dedication is required in order to increase muscle mass. Bulking up will not happen overnight, you will not wake up one morning, look in the mirror and realise you are massive. Alot of people have seen images of professional bodybuilders and don’t wish to look like that, so they avoid weights all together which is a shame. Adding muscle is a very slow process, it requires a well structured routine and strict diet, aswell as alot of patience. If you do manage to stick it out and actually accumulate this desired muscle you must continue all your hard work in order to maintain it, or it will atrophy (shrink, decrease, waste away). Fact is that very few people have the commitment or knowledge to increase their muscle mass even significantly.
Hypertrophy (enlargement, growth) of your muscles occurs when you consistently apply overload to them while supplying your body with the right nutrients, your body will respond accordingly by increasing your muscle mass and strength. In a reverse scenario if you are not using your muscles consistently or are not supplying them with the right nutrients then your body will be unable and unwilling to maintain them, this will cause atrophy of your muscles.



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  1. Most people are concerned about thier weight. I lost 3kg a month by not eating after 6pm daily. It’s work on me. I think is the lesses fats being built up when I was sleeping. But, the harder parts is you have to be serious on this weight loss plan. Because, foods temptation is the main cause to give up yourself.

  2. My fellow on Facebook shared this link with me and I’m not dissapointed at all that I came here.

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