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Debunking 4 Common Gym Myths

Often, we have preconceived notions about exercise, or even gyms in particular. Maybe it's that only skinny people join gyms? Or maybe it's that personal trainers are just a bunch of drill sergeant Jillian Michaels wannabes? Or that all gyms are the same? Let's check out some common gym myths and the real truth behind them

MYTH: Since I'm a female, if I lift weights, I'll get grotesquely huge muscles.

Busted! As a female, weight lifting is one of, if not the best, fitness regimens you can do. Not only will it help destroy body fat, it will allow you to have long, lean muscles and kick start your metabolic rate. Since females do not produce the same amount of testosterone as males, you don't have to worry about blowing up like John Cena. However, it will help you change your body composition more permanently than some "body wrap party" some random person invited you to on Facebook.

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MYTH: All gyms are the same, so I am going to join the cheapest one I can find.

False! While the number of small gyms and gym chains have increased and popped up all over America, not all gyms are created equal. Before you drop any cash on fees or club dues, you should check to make sure it has the right equipment, vibe, and hours for you. Suffer from arthritis? Think about a club with a pool where you can perform low impact, high intensity cardio by swimming. Work schedule always changing? Try finding a gym that has longer hours or is a 24-hour fitness facility. Getting creepy vibes from the staff? Make sure you click with the people at the gym, since (hopefully!) you'll be spending some quality time there. The same principle applies when hiring a personal trainer. Find one that works with your personality type. Tend to get emotional? Stay away from drill sergeant type instructors--I do little to no yelling at my clients, and get better results for them than by screaming my face off. Do a little homework first, and it will pay off!

MYTH: I've haven't lost any weight. Maybe this gym stuff isn't all it's cracked up to be.

Don't fret! Too many people live and die by the scale, and this is a major flaw in their game plan. Maybe you've been at it for a few weeks and have noticed that the scale won't budge up or down one way or another. They get frustrated because they can't see any numbers-based results. What they fail to realize is that once you begin exercising regularly, health benefits begin to happen...blood sugar lowers, you have endurance and stamina gains, inches (as in dress or pants-size) are reduced. Numerous other benefits that you can't measure with a bunch of numbers on a scale are gained, even if pounds aren't necessarily lost.

MYTH: I work out. That means I can eat a whole supreme pizza, plus a gallon of ice cream, plus drink a liter of cola!

We all know a person who can eat whatever, whenever, and however much they want and not gain an ounce. Maybe you used to be able to do that, but your metabolism hasn't been as friendly as you've gotten older. Heck, if I eat a cheeseburger I swear I jiggle for a week, and I'm in the gym daily. Just because you work out doesn't mean you have an all-access pass to eat everything in sight all the time. Nutrition is a key component of getting in shape, lowering your body fat, and changing how you look. That being said, you don't have to completely cut out the foods you like. Put some time and effort into choosing healthy options from your favorite places and things to eat and you can still enjoy food and make it work for you.

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Ryan Barnhart, MS, PES, is a certified Performance Enhancement and Injury Prevention Specialist through the National Academy of Sports Medicine (NASM). He also holds a master's degree in exercise science, as well as a bachelor of sport management, both from California University of Pennsylvania. Ryan has worked with numerous collegiate and amateur athletes across many different fields. Ryan also has had the opportunity to work with several professional athletes. Recently he has worked with amateur and professional athletes within the emerging sport of Mixed Martial Arts.

Ryan is currently the director of fitness at a 700+ member gym near Pittsburgh, PA. He enjoys working with weekend warriors, athletes, and everyone in between. You can contact Ryan at rbbarnhart@gmail.com.




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