We hear about fitness everywhere these days, but there are tons of myths that swirl around the fitness world.  Here are five fitness myths I often hear that I would like to bust:

1) Fat turns into muscle.  

Fat and muscle are two completely different types of tissues in the body, making it impossible for one to “turn” into another.  However, by burning fat through a great workout plan, you can reveal the muscles that had been hidden by the fat layer. 

2) Doing crunches will give you six-pack abs

Unfortunately, there is no such thing as a workout that can burn fat in a specific area of your body.  Doing hundreds of crunches will not directly correlate to you gaining six-pack abs.  While working out a specific body part may strengthen and tone the muscle, it will not directly affect the fat composition of that body part.  However, resistance training will help with overall weight loss.  Increasing muscle mass forces the body to increase the amount of calories that it expends every day, since muscle utilizes more calories to maintain.   So while doing crunches for your abs, squats for your legs, or tricep extensions for your arms may not decrease the fat in those areas it will help overall weight loss in the long-run. 

3) Women will get bulky if they lift weights

Not true.  In fact it is difficult for a woman to develop a big, bulky muscular physique due to the lack of testosterone in their bodies when compared to men.  Resistance training is a crucial component to a woman’s workout routine whether the goal is increased strength or weight loss.  So ladies, don’t be afraid to pick up that dumbbell!

4) The more time you spend at the gym, the more results you will see.  

While sticking to your routine and making time for fitness is very important, it is also crucial that you don’t over train.  A balance between workouts and body-recovery is the key to everything.  Instead of building muscle, overtraining will actually cause muscle to breakdown.  As a result, you will notice a decline in your performance in the fitness center involving: increased fatigue, soreness, headaches, or even Rhabdomyolysis (when your muscle leaks chemicals that are detrimental to your kidneys).  The body builds new muscle when it is at rest, so be sure to give it time!

5) You need a large amount of protein in order to build muscle

While protein builds muscle and is an important part of your diet, consuming an excessive amount isn’t necessary because your body doesn’t utilize it.  A person’s diet should contain around 15-20% of protein and the best source is food, not powder drinks.  While powder drinks contain protein, they are not regulated and manufacturers may make misleading claims about their products which are difficult to verify, including the content.  Although protein drinks may be handy, so is a slice of turkey, a hard-boiled egg or a handful of nuts. 

Consult a Healthy Living Professional 

The fitness world is full of people giving advice. The challenge is identifying which ones are accurate and worth listening to. Your best bet is to get your knowledge from a professional like the personal training staff at any of YMCA of Greater Boston's 13 branches. Please don’t hesitate to ask the staff any questions you might have in relation to health and fitness. We have an abundance of knowledge and are eager to help.  Having the proper information can help you maximize your training and protect yourself from potential injuries. 

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About the Author

Dean Ientile, ATC, CPT ASCM, Personal Trainer at Burbank YMCA

Dean Ientile has been a certified athletic trainer since 2006, personal training since 2011 and is currently a personal trainer at Burbank YMCA in Reading, Massachusetts.  He has worked with local athletes; assisting in prevention, treatment and recovery from injury.  He has also aided his athletes in conditioning in order to prepare them for athletic events.  Along with athletes, Dean has treated and trained a wide variety of populations with various injuries or medical issues.   In his spare time Dean enjoys fishing, mostly freshwater but has been known to also go deep sea fishing.  Dean is a die-hard Patriots fan, but enjoys watching and talking anything football.


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Powers, Scott.(2004). Exercise Physiology: Theory and Application of Performance and Fitness. New York, New York. McGraw-Hill.

American College of Sports Medicine. (2010). ACSM`s Resources for the Personal Trainer. Philadelphia,PA. Lippincott Williams & Wilkins.