Myth #1: Women Will Get Bulky If They Lift Heavy Weights
I hear this on a daily basis. "I want to get strong, but I don't want to look like a man." Let's put this one to rest once and for all. Women will not look like men simply by lifting heavy. It's IMPOSSIBLE. Typically, women have less muscle tissue and much less testosterone than men so women cannot bulk the way men do. For the average woman, feel free to lift as heavy as you safely can, and let go of this fear that you will become HUGE. Besides, even IF it were to happen, it will not happen overnight...you would see it coming and could tone down the weightlifting portion of your workout.
Myth #2: Running is Bad for Your Knees
Nope. Running is not bad for your knees, but this idea isn't completely baseless. Experts say that women are 4-6 times more likely to be at risk for serious knee injuries from running than their male counterparts, but that is because women tend to have muscle imbalance between the quadriceps and hamstrings. Total body strength workouts a minimum of two times per week in addition to running will help to build up the muscles and offer your knees the support they need.
Myth #3: You Can Spot Reduce Body Fat
"I need to lose fat in my __________." Sorry, but it just doesn't work that way. You can do crunches until the cows come home and you will not lose body fat in your stomach area. Do as many arm exercises as you wish, but you will still bat wings. Why? Two reasons. First, when we lose body fat, it's because our body is in a calorie deficit. If you are not changing your nutrition and limiting calories, you will get stronger doing arm workouts and crunches, but you will not lose the body fat surrounding those strong muscles. Second, when you ARE in a calorie deficit and the body fat begins to reduce, your body will lose fat collectively...that is, from all over the body. This is why taking body measurements are super important. If you only measure your bicep, it may be a long time before you see change in that area. The body has its own way of determining how it reduces body fat.
Myth #4: Exercise is the BEST Way to Lose Weight
Sorry...if only it were that easy. Many people don't *mind* working out and you will see a lot of overweight people at the gym getting their sweat on. But, these people will look the same months, even years, down the road. Why? Because as many internet memes correctly suggest, "You can't out train a bad diet." A one hour workout is 4% of your day. That's it. It's not enough to make a dent in weight loss if you aren't also focusing on your macros. Focused nutrition is THE BEST way to lose weight.
Exercise has plenty of benefits including boosting your mood, improving memory, stress relief, and many more. However, thinking that exercise will cause you to lose weight if a myth. Even worse is using exercise as an excuse to eat more. Nope. Nope. Nope.
Myth #5: Strong Toned Muscles Come From Lifting Light Weight for Many Reps
False. To get the lean muscle definition we want, it simply comes from having muscle mass and low body fat. Lifting light weight for a high volume of reps will not build substantial muscle. A poor diet too high in calories will not reduce body fat. If you want to reshape your body (male or female), the key is to lift heavy weight to build muscle and then strip away the body fat by focusing on your nutrition.