Welcome back to this week’s edition of 2-Minute Tuesdays where we are talking about one exercise topic for two minutes and giving you three reasons why you should follow our advice.  This week we are talking about three commonly-accepted myths of exercise; things that people typically throw out there thinking that they are true but are actually false.  As personal trainers, these are myths that we have to combat on a regular basis.

1) Myth #1 – You Can “Spot Reduce” Fat

The first of the three exercise myths is spot reduction.  Spot reduction is the myth that says if you work a certain area, like your abs or your triceps, you are going to burn more fat in that area.  Spot reduction is a myth, meaning if you work more abs or you work more triceps you will not burn more fat in that area.  Your body actually has to burn fat all over the place.  You cannot decide where you are going to burn fat and where you are not going to burn fat.

Action Tip:  If you are wanting to burn fat, consider taking a close look at your nutrition or getting a hormone panel performed.  This can give you powerful insight into how well your body is functioning internally.  As for your exercise, focus on working all areas of your body, not just the ones where you would like to burn fat.

2) Myth #2 – Low Weight + High Reps = Toning; High Weight + Low Reps = Bulking

Myth number two is the idea that high reps and low weight will give you more of a toning look, where as low reps and high weight will give you more of a bulking look.  The amount of weight you use and the amount of reps you perform do not matter at all.  What matters is the fatigue that the muscle incurs.  How fatigued the muscle gets will actually dictate the adaptation, not the number of reps and not the amount of weight.

Action Tip:  Choose a weight that will be challenging for you to do for about 45 to 60 seconds.  Rate your exertion on a scale of 1 to 10, with 10 being momentary exhaustion.  Consult a professional to figure out where you should be starting, and, over time, slowly progress yourself to working close to a 10.

3) Myth #3 – Sets & Reps Are Important To Focus On

The last of the exercise myths is that it is important to focus on the amount of sets and reps that you do.  Every time we meet a new person, they are always asking us, “I would like to lose weight,” or, “I would like to build some muscle.  How many sets of this exercise should I do?  How many reps of this exercise should I do?  How much weight?”  It does not matter how many sets or how many reps you do.  What matters is how fatigued you get the muscle.  If you are wanting muscle to change, you have to fatigue it.

Action Tip:  How do you feel when you finish your exercise versus when you start?  If you are feeling beat up or sore, you over did it.  Aim to end your exercise session while you are still feeling energized overall, while pushing yourself to a high level of fatigue during each exercise.  Again, see Action Tip #2 above to figure out where you should start and how to progress yourself.  Doing an exercise to momentary exhaustion may not be appropriate for you right now, so a certified exercise professional would be the best person to consult with on that.

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Team MAS

Muscle Activation Schaumburg is an exercise facility located in Schaumburg, IL with a goal to help you keep your health for as long as possible. We know that it is your health that allows you to do the things you love in life. This is why we promote a lifestyle that includes exercise, rather than exercise that is a burden to your life. Muscle Activation Schaumburg provides Muscle Activation Techniques® (MAT®) and personal training services to its clients. We use MAT® and exercise to increase the function of your body. A well-functioning body is what allows you to stay healthy and do the things you love. We value helping the members of our community of Schaumburg as well as surrounding communities of the Northwest Suburbs improve their health.


Joe Tortorello · February 28, 2017 at 3:51 pm

I am enjoying your e-mails and your knowledge of exercise. I think I’m way old school, so I like the updates!

    Charlie Cates · March 1, 2017 at 3:54 pm

    Thank you, Joe!!

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