I am always amazed at the number of misconceptions about losing weight and fitness training. I see television commercials regularly with exaggerated claims about the amount of weight loss and fitness someone can attain using a certain fitness product or exercising a certain way. If some of these claims were true, everybody would be fit and no one would be overweight. To get the most out of your exercise routine, know the facts about working out.

  • FICTION If you do 100 crunches a day, you will have a flat stomach.
  • FACT You cannot remove fat from one body part. Fat is lost proportionally.
  • FICTION If you wear sweats or a rubber suit when you work out, you will sweat more and therefore lose more weight.
  • FACT Sweat is a sign that your body is trying to cool itself. You can burn calories in many ways and you might not drip sweat in all of them.
  • FICTION If you lift weights, you can change your physique.
  • FACT Going to the gym and lifting weights will not transform you. The purpose of weight training is to increase strength, not to change your physique.
  • FICTION If you work out, you can do anything you want for the rest of the day.
  • FACT Sitting around too much can still have negative effects, and overeating can still result in weight gain.
  • FICTION The calorie counter on the machine you use is accurate.
  • FACT The numbers on machines are not accurate because they do not calculate calories burned based on your weight, gender and body fat percentage or whether you are using the machine correctly.
  • FICTION You’re not overweight, so you don’t need to exercise.
  • FACT Remember the main reason to exercise should not be to lose weight but to improve the health of your heart and lungs.
  • FICTION You should have a protein shake after you work out to help you recover.
  • FACT Julie Hartley, dietitian at Willis-Knighton, does not recommend pre-made protein shakes. She suggests a “real food smoothie” as the ultimate recovery food. Julie recommends adding a plant-based protein to your shake, ideally from a brown rice, chia or pea source. And if you really want to take your shake to the next nutritional level, she suggests adding a handful of greens, like spinach.Remember to always be on the alert for claims that just sound too good to be true. In most instances, they are too good to be true and will disappoint you. Working out and staying fit takes a commitment that lasts a lifetime.

Fitness Tip: Many women refuse to lift weights because they are afraid it will “bulk them up.” On the contrary, special training programs and a great deal of time are required to cause women (and even men) to become bulky from weight training. The main result of strength training is an increase in lean muscle mass and a decrease in body fat.