Time and time again, i meet people who have a fitness question or 2 to ask and i realize that many people have fallen victim to many weight lifting / fitness myths out there. Today, i want to de-bunk 3 of the most popular myths with relation to weight training and i hope.... i truly hope, that this will finally put these myths to rest.
Myth 1 - You will become short if you lift heavy weights over your head.
i don't know if this is just a Malaysian myth but many many Malaysians out there truly believe that if you lift heavy weights over your head you will become short - especially if you lift at a younger age when you are still growing up. I haven't heard this for the longest time and then just the other day i was having a chat with someone and he was telling me how he used to lift weights during his younger days and the reason he is short is because he started lifting when he was 16. This sounds as crazy as the myth i grew up with - eating Maggi Mee will cause you to lose your hair.
Weight training has absolutely no effect on your height. Your height is determined mainly by genetics. Diet plays an important role too, but not as much as genetics. Certain people have the ability to grow taller because of their genes and some people just can't grow taller because they have bad genes. You can eat all the protein and calcium you want from 8 years old, but you will still be short if your genes are bad. Lifting weights over your head has nothing to do with it. How do you explain Arnold? He started lifting weights at the age of 14 or 15 and he is still taller than most Malaysians who don't lift. So please, don't use this as an excuse not to lift weights.
Myth 2 - Your Muscles will turn to fat once you stop lifting
This one is real popular and i have heard this at least a 100 times. If only i got a dollar for every time i heard this. Best of all, i recently heard this from an uncle of mine who just joint Fitness First and he told me the PT he hired in Fitness First told him this. This is his reason for recommending a cardio workout, rather than a routine involving weights. Reality Check amigo... as a PT, aren't you supposed to ask your client what they want to achieve before recommending a program? Or do you just assume that everyone who walks in the door wants to do some running and lose weight? How do these people even become PTs? What if my unlce is interested in having broader shoulders or inprove his swing strength for golf. How does you cardio workout help?
I truly wonder what certification this PT has. Muscle fibers are muscle fibers and fat tissue are fat tissue. Just like your arm can't grow into a leg due to lack of use, your muscle cannot turn into fat. YES, you may put on weight once you stop lifting, but that is caused by the lack of activity. Your muscles CANNOT turn into fat. Can you turn an apple into an orange by keeping it in the fridge and not eating it for 2 months? NO? Well if you can't do that, then you can't do that with your muscle as well. They are 2 different tissues and cannot interchange from one form to the other. You gain fat, yes, but its not all that muscle which is going through a metamorphosis to achieve this.
Myth # 3 - Women who lift weights will become body builders
This is the favourite myth amongst most women i know. Most women generally belive that it is easy to gain muscle mass and hence even if they lift a little, they will bulk up. I need to get them to speak to Aizan of Fitness Junkie Wannabe. Gaining muscle mass is not easy. Ask her and she will tell ya. Firstly, most women will not be able to gain a lot of muscle mass, because they do not have enough testosterone in their body to facilitate this. Secondly, even if they did have more testosterone, you still need to lift a lot... i mean a real a lot before you can see this. The ONLY way for a woman to become like the women body builder below is through the use of steroids. No other way.
So even if your routine was 100% lifting heavy weights, you will not turn into a woman body builder as shown above. Its just not possible. There really isn't any worry about this.
There you go folks. 3 very common myths i am sure you will face out there, so i hope this post puts an end to these myths once and forever. What are some of the other weight lifting myths you hear out there? Do share with us. As usual, look forward to hearing your comments on this.