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I'm someone who's undergone a complete life/self overhaul. I'm now a professional in my dream job, balancing an amazing relationship, a healthy body, a healthy self image, my passions, my family and surrounding myself with good people. It's hard, not gonna lie. But I'm here to help, to inspire and say "you're not alone."

Me, today. 4.22.12. Exercise Myths Debunked!

Today, I am so grateful for the body I do have – no matter what shape it’s in – because it allows me to pursue my passion for dance, and live the life I love.I had an amazing time training break dance with friends today, where 2 years ago I could barely sit up for that long. I was in 2 car accidents within 3 months of each other and it destroyed my life, sending me into migraine fits, physical therapy and months of pain. I am grateful each day for the body that allows me to live a normal life. Be grateful for your body and treat it well.

Me, doing a chair freeze.

Start to think and respect your body as a system. The more stresses you put on it, the more you have to take care of it. Stresses come in all forms, lack of sleep, poor diet, irregular eating schedule, work stress, working out (yes that’s a stress) and so much more. The body you want and how you treat it is like buying a silk blouse. You see it in a store and you want that look, but you know it comes with a high price tag, careful ironing and dry clean only. You’ve got to make that decision to buy it or not. Then if you want that blouse to last and look as good, you have to take care of it. Same goes for your body. You can’t eat poorly, sleep less, add stress and expect it to perform or transform into what you want. And just like that silk blouse, once you buy one, buying more is easy. The work to take care of others is marginal once you buy the first. So take that big first step and decide to change your lifestyle, the rest are marginal changes!

Ok Ladies, I’m on the exercise info kick so here’s some about working out. I’ve done it all. I’ve been a consistent gym-goer for 13 years, doing light body building. After 2 bad car accidents within 3 months of each other, I couldn’t workout for more than a year. I’ve slowly had to build back up from not being able to lift a carton of milk to break dancing… so it’s safe to say I’ve done a wide range of exercises from the crazy intense, super light, and setting up a slow “ease into it” plan. Here are some common myths around exercise unveiled.

weight training

weight training

1. If women lift weights, they’ll become bulky and masculine looking.

No way. Go ahead and try, I dare you. If you have the problem of building too much muscle and looking too “manly” you can always pull back. Women have far too much estrogen to bulk up. Lifting weights – and doing it in a challenging way with good form is VITAL to decrease body fat, increase lean muscle mass and efficiently burn calories around the clock. I only do cardio for 10 minutes to warm up, and the rest of my hour is lifting weights, hard. The more muscle you have, the more calories you burn with every movement and when you’re sleeping or at rest! Talk about efficiency. That’s why the lean stay mean and the not-so-lean stay, well… squishy. The biggest thing for weight loss and becoming healthy is changing your diet (in previous posts) secondly, start building some strong muscles!

2. Spot reducing will correct those problem areas.

Not true! Spot reducing doesn’t exist – that’s why when you do the Susanne Summers ab workout twice as much as she says to, it doesn’t work. When you exercise a body part, you’re building muscle in that area. Now, building muscle will help you burn more calories in each workout and continuously, but not for a certain area. Best way to tone is cardiovascular exercise and overall total body strength training to create metabolically active (calorie burning) lean mass. It’s much smarter to focus on the total body than on one body part at a time.

A complete weight training workout can be perf...3. Body weight is the best indicator of the effectiveness of your exercise program.

Getting on the scale is the last thing you should be doing to check for change. Body weight is not a good indicator of change. Because muscle mass is denser, heavier and more compact than fat, chances are that you will see your waist size decreasing and your body shape improving before you see much change in your weight — not to mention all the other health benefits you will enjoy. So get off the scale and have your baseline body fat measured… then periodically recheck it to see how you’re progressing.

4. Doing chest exercises will reduce your cup size

Not at all! It will not reduce your breast tissue, and according to #2, won’t spot reduce either. Actually the contrary. Once you build muscle there, you could see a better shape overall and at very least help keep the girls in place.

5. Your cardio machine is accurately counting the calories you’re burning.

Soooo untrue, it’s not even funny. The lower your body fat, the more calories you will burn. So someone with a higher body fat percentage is going to burn less calories than someone with less body fat — on the same machine. Don’t even look at the calorie counter! Instead, put it on the interval training and focus on breathing. When your sides ache, and your thighs feel like they’re turning as hard as day old bagels, focus on breathing. It will keep your body under control and get you through your workout.

6. Wearing leg and hand weights while walking or running will boost exercise benefit.

First off, are we in the 80’s with leg warmers and panty hose too? No. Secondly, this is actually VERY bad for you. Wearing weights while walking or running puts you at astronomical risk of injuring yourself because it alters your normal gait and movement patterns and is detrimental to joints, nerves, and muscles. A better thing to do would be to interval train your walks/runs. This will do so much more than adding 2 lbs to your ankles.

7. Muscle soreness after exercise is caused by lactic acid.

Nope. Lactic acid happens after weight training, but clears very soon after. The tightness, soreness and slight inflammation are actually teeny tears in your muscles, and your body rushing to repair it. And guess what, that’s good! It’s how you build muscles. When you use them enough to need more, you’re body will re build your muscles stronger and more than before – which is what you want.

I hope you’ve learned a few things here, and are excited to revamp your workout, to weight train and be healthy. Ease into it, if you’ve never done it. It’s important to do exercises you like otherwise you’ll never do them.


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7 Comments on “Me, today. 4.22.12. Exercise Myths Debunked!”

  1. bigprogress April 23, 2012 at 6:00 am #

    Thanks for the great tips. I especially like the metaphore about the silk shirt and treating your body right. I personally tend to get really excited about my workouts and expect to lose weight, but sleep fewer hours to fit in the workouts and forget to drink enough water, so my body never loses the weight I want.

    • Jennifer M Leong April 23, 2012 at 2:24 pm #

      You’re absolutely right! Sleep and water are essential for weight loss. Keep on going, you’ll get there. I’m so happy that you’re excited to workout, that’s the biggest challenge I hear. And thank you, I hope the post was useful. Any other topics you would like to hear about?

  2. yanina21 April 24, 2012 at 9:55 pm #

    Great post Jen! I agree with you on many of these issues ;however, I personally have a harder time weight training not because it’s not effective but because i get bored easily doing it. I took a weight lifting class at 24 hour fitness and I didn’t enjoy it as much as the classes where you use your body as a weight, it just didn’t feel very dynamic. I wanted to move around more and do more challenging things with my body, in the middle of the class I got tired of standing in the same spot 🙂 When I took pilates, TRX, breakdance and circuit training classes I felt very challenged and inspired. What are your thought on substituting weight training with these types of classes?

  3. yanina21 April 24, 2012 at 10:14 pm #

    Great post Jen! I agree with you on many aspects ;however, I personally have a harder time lifting weights not because it’s ineffective but because I easily get bored doing it. I took a weight lifting class at 24 fitness and I found it to be very static, half way through the class I wanted to move around and do more challenging things with my body. I guess I enjoy constant movement 🙂 I love the concept of utilizing my body as a weight. I also enjoy working out with resistance bands because it makes the exercise feel more dynamic. For example with resistance bands I can do exercises such as bicep curls and shoulder presses but at the same time I can criss-cross the band around my legs and do some tube walking along with walking lunges, I can also wrap it around a tree and do different rowing exercises. I also took some classes in pilates, TRX, breakdance and circuit training and was very motivated to use my body as a weight and inspired by the dynamic range of motion. What are your thoughts on substituting weight training with these types of workouts? 🙂


    • Jennifer M Leong April 25, 2012 at 3:39 am #

      I think those exercises are great! Doing exercises that you enjoy is more important than forcing to weight train. You can get heavy bands and do exercises that still build muscle. I find break dancing and these dynamic movements wonderful for building overall heath, flexibility, coordination and strength. But, if you’re going for a specific look – say building biceps or deltoids. I’ve found weights to be the most effective because you can target one muscle group, whereas the dynamic movements utilize several to work together.

      You sound like you’re very creative with your exercises! What are some that you do? I’d love to learn more and put variation in my workouts too.

  4. Yanna Rabinkova April 25, 2012 at 5:06 pm #

    Something weird is going on with my posts, I just realized I posted two at the same time ;however, I couldn’t see any of them on my home computer, haha, I’ll get it figure out.

    Yes I see what you mean regarding weight lifting playing an importance in targeting a specific muscle group, I guess I like to target multiple muscle groups at once.

    I am thinking about cancelling my gym membership, at least for the summer because it’s hard to be in a crowded, sweaty gym when the weather outside is so lovely. During lunch time, twice a week I help to lead a workout class at my job. Since we don’t have a gym to go to, we had to get creative with our workouts. During the winter time we utilized 15 flights of stairs for running, pushups on stairs and circuit training workout with bands. Now that it’s so nice outside we go workout at the park. Until recently I didn’t realize that there is such a large variety of exercises to do in the park!! It’s so effective and I love getting fresh air! We jump on blocks and rails, wrap resistance bands around trees to do internal/external rotations, chest presses, rowing and lunges. We also utilize the playground to do pullups on monkeybars, pushups and planks on a swings along with many other exercises. What a great way to turn a regular workout into an obstacle course workout 🙂 I love discovering new ways to workout because it keeps me excited and motivated! If you ever want to Jen, we should do a workout like this together. I think you would love it!

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