Fitness myths exposed

July 19, 2014

Everywhere I look, it seems there’s some sort of fitness misinformation that makes it confusing for the average person to get in shape. To set the record straight, I’ve decided address the six most common fitness myths I hear on a regular basis.

Weight training will bulk you up

Nothing could be further from the truth. If done correctly, weight lifting will have a slimming effect, because muscle is lean and tight, taking up approximately 1/3 less space than the same amount of fat. The more muscle you build, the more you accelerate your metabolism, causing your body to burn an average of 50 more calories a day than the average person who doesn’t lift weights.

Nothing I can do about high blood pressure

As a fitness professional, I have seen countless people take control of their lives and reduce high blood pressure and cholesterol by subscribing to a fitness plan incorporating weight training, cardiovascular training and a healthy diet. When starting a fitness program, you should always consult with your doctor first, but with a little help from a trainer, you might be surprised at what you will be able to accomplish, and you just might be able to get off the meds.

All carbohydrates are bad for you

It seems the whole world has waged war on carbohydrates, but most people don’t realize that without them you wouldn’t even be able to move your little finger. Carbohydrates provide your body with much-needed energy stores that help you think, move and get great workouts. With that said, not all carbohydrates are considered equal. There are good carbs and bad carbs. Good carbs include grains and vegetables, such as sweet potatoes, oatmeal and brown rice. Bad carbs are usually processed foods that include white bread, sugary cereals and white rice.

Lighter weights will tone muscles

I’m not sure who started this rumor, but ask yourself when was the last time you put half the effort into something and got more results? That’s right - never. If you want to get in shape, you have to challenge yourself with weights heavy enough to create an intense muscle burn and light enough to practice great form.

I’m too old to get in great shape

Most of us are too old to play a game of tackle football, enter a wrestling tournament or learn to pole vault for the local track team, but we’re the perfect age to lift weights. In fact, weight lifting will stall the aging process and keep gravity from causing our muscles to atrophy and sag. It's been said that the average person who works out three to five times a week will look and feel 10-15 years younger than everyone else their age. As the old saying goes, “We don’t age because we get old, but rather because we stop moving,” and weight training is an excellent place to start.

Eating after 6 p.m. is bad

Research has shown that it's much better to graze than to gorge when it comes to eating a healthy diet. Eating two to three large meals a day will convince the body that food is not readily available, and calorie burn will slow down to a snail's pace. To get optimum results, eat five to six small meals throughout the day, and your body will kick your metabolism into high gear. Failure to eat after 6 p.m. is not only unsustainable, but will actually stop your metabolism from functioning at its full potential.

Keep these tips in mind when creating your program, and don’t let misinformation derail you from achieving your fitness goals.

  • Chris Antonio is a personal trainer and former world-class weightlifter. He has been lifting for more than 20 years and has trained a wide variety of clients ranging from All-American athletes to the average person trying to get into shape. To send a question to the Ask the Trainer column, email Chris at or check out

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