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Work It Out: Fitness Myths, Debunked

Just a couple years ago, the global fitness industry was valued at nearly $100 billion dollars. Unfortunately, it’s an industry that’s been able to grow due to an increase in misinformation that influences many of us to spend more money on short-term solutions (think detox teas and crash diets) instead of long-terms investments and hard work (consistent movement and nutritious meals).
“As a trainer, we hear and see it all, including excuses as to why some people still believe some of the old fitness myths. Every year a new diet fad, workout regime, and ideas of ‘how to get fit’ emerge. For every two fitness truths and ideas that surface, there’s a lie, and sometimes it’s hard to determine what to believe or do, especially if it’s something that many of us have been assuming since the early ’80s,” says Heather Crivellone, a personal trainer and nutritionist at Roseville Health & Wellness Center ( Here, local fitness experts debunk the most common workout myths they’ve heard throughout their careers.

Myth #1

Women shouldn’t lift weights because they don’t want to get “bulky.”
Crivellone says this is an excuse she’s heard countless times. “Many women still feel they need to use the cute pink and purple weights and do multiple reps to ‘tone up.’ The truth is it’s pretty hard for a woman to bulk up and get the same muscle tone as a man,” she says. “Women don’t have the same amount of testosterone as men, which is the hormone needed to increase muscle size and get that ‘bulked up’ look. Women can benefit from lifting heavier weights, since the leaner the muscle mass someone has, the more calories their body will burn, even at a resting level. So, if weight loss or even just maintaining your current physical state is your goal, pick up some weights, watch your nutrition, and get moving.”

Myth #2

The only way to get abs is by doing crunches.
Doing crunches isn’t going to hurt your core strength, but there are many other ways of targeting your midsection than just lying on the ground and “crunching.” “First off, you need to work your entire body,” Crivellone says. “This includes your back, glutes, hip flexors, and finally, your abs. You can’t ‘spot train,’ but you can focus on overall strength and health. The best way to get that six-pack is by focusing on your nutrition and incorporating a variety of cardio and all-over strength exercises. Standing ab exercises, planks, pelvic tilts, and yoga poses are some of the best exercises to help ‘whittle that middle.’”

Myth #3

Breaking a sweat is boring.
While this may not be a myth for some people, the trick is finding the right workout that’s not boring to you. “There are so many ways to exercise at home, in a large gym, or in boutique fitness studios, but taking the time to find an enjoyable exercise is really important to fighting the boredom so you’ll stick with it,” says Kevin Groen, owner of CycleBar Folsom ( “For people who are less motivated or not sure how to get the most from a workout, boutique or class-based fitness, such as indoor cycling, rowing, and CrossFit are great options. There are so many choices that everyone can find a modality they enjoy. Plus, most gyms and/or studios offer a free introductory class. In most boutique fitness studios, you’ll also find a sense of community to keep you motivated and [excited to show] up every day.”

Check back next month for part two of this series: "Nutrition Myths, Debunked."


Myth #4

Working out takes hours at the gym.
A great workout can be accomplished anywhere and in just 45 minutes, says Celio "Ty" Silva, integrated trainer and therapist at One Body Integrated Training & Therapy ( “Simply using your own bodyweight and a couple of resistance bands delivers great results in fat burning and muscle building. Combining whole-body movements and isolated exercises into an efficient workout promotes muscle tone, bone strength, and cardiovascular health,” Silva says. “Whether at home or at a park, you can quickly and effectively stimulate the entire body while developing strength and power through the integration of both slow and fast exercises.” According to Christine Williams, group exercise director at Spare Time Sports Clubs (, recent studies show that one, four-minute round of true Tabata training using full-body movements—20 seconds of high-intensity exercise followed by 10 seconds of absolute rest—is the same as a 30-minute cardio workout.

Myth #5

Weight training is more important than cardio training.
The heart is the body’s most important muscle, says Williams. “Regular cardio exercise results in movement endurance, heart health, blood pressure regulation, and respiratory strength (how winded you feel when climbing stairs). Lifting weights may help your legs feel strong going up stairs, but without a healthy cardiovascular system you’re going to be breathless.”

Myth #6

One size does not fit all.
Tammie Fairchild, owner of Serenity Spa | Soul Yoga (, says we all benefit from movement because we’re built to be in motion. “Our mind and our body thrive when we exercise. However, a fitness regimen is as unique as each individual,” she says. “The right routine should leave you feeling revitalized, energized, and happy. The secret is to understand your mind-body constitution. The unique gift that Ayurveda offers is a one-size-does-not-fit-all approach to health and well-being. Fast-moving individuals who are light and willowy ('vata' people) respond best to weight-bearing and grounding techniques, like yoga, cycling, walking, and dance. Strong, competitive individuals (‘pitta’ people) benefit from stress-reducing and cooling activities (think outside routines like running, long-distance cycling, swimming, and even gardening). Hypo-metabolic individuals who are slower ('kapha' people) need motivation and movement, so aerobic dance, running, walking, rowing, and team sports are all good choices.”

Myth #7

You don’t have time.
It’s so easy to say you’ll get to your workout tomorrow because you ran out of time today. “Many of us live busy, fast-paced lives,” Groen says. “However, you don’t need to spend hours and hours every day working out. I encourage people, at minimum, to just move! If all you can find are small chunks of time throughout the day, take walks, stretch, or do whatever activity you enjoy. Walking three or four times a day for 10 minutes can make a difference physically and mentally. Class-based fitness is another great option for people with limited time. If you really examine your day, you'll find opportunities. Just move every chance you get.”

Wherever you are on your fitness journey—whether you’re just starting out, have been consistent your entire life, or are a ‘weekend warrior’—simply move your body and focus on your health, Crivellone says.

by Kourtney Jason
Photo © Jacob Ammentorp Photo ©