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The amount of misinformation that is available is enough to make your head spin. Here are the truths about 4 of the top female fitness myths.

Myth: You can spot-burn fat with your workouts.

Fact: You can use workouts to slim your thighs, but only because you do workouts that slim your entire body. Isolation exercises that we think will help us spot-reduce are the exercises that will do the least to make us slim everywhere. This means that these isolation exercises (such as the awkward inner and outer thigh machines) will do the least to slim you anywhere.

Bottom line – work your entire body hard and your trouble spots will take care of themselves, but if you focus on isolating your trouble spots, nothing will change.

Myth: The scale is the be-all and end-all of results.

Fact: You can drop 1, 2, or even 3 sizes without the scale changing very much. This is especially true when women begin to do resistance training – it radically speeds up how fast they shrink, but it also tends to slow down how fast the scale goes down. If you keep shrinking out of old clothes, needing to buy new, smaller clothes, and people keep telling you how good you look, then you are succeeding regardless of what the scale says.

Bottom line – keep the goal the goal. If you want to look great and feel great then pick a measuring device more specific for that – like being able to wear a dress you can’t zip right now. The scale only tells you how much you weigh, not how good you look.

Myth: Heavy weights will make women “bulky”.

Fact: If it doesn’t challenge you, then it won’t change you. “Heavy” is a relative term. When it comes to sculpting your body maybe a better word would be “challenging.” If you’re doing an exercise for 12 reps, then the resistance you use should be hard for 12 reps with very good from – you should only be able to do 2 more reps when you’re done. Working hard won’t make you bulky.

Bottom line – Challenge yourself when you workout. If you don’t look like a hot, sweaty mess when you’re done with your workout, then it probably won’t do you much good.

Myth: Exercising in your “fat burning” zone will help you burn more fat.

Fact: Low intensity exercise (like working in your “fat burning” zone) will help you burn more fat as a percentage of calories burned, but it is of a much smaller overall caloric burn. What’s more is that low intensity exercise does little to your metabolism after you workout, but high intensity exercise can keep your metabolism elevated for 24-36 hours after you’re done working out.

Bottom line – interval and resistance training will get you the body you want in the time you actually have. Exercising at low intensities is mostly good for watching TV.

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