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12 Fitness Myths That Have To Go This Year

This is the year these 12 fitness myths just have to go.

Erin Calderone MS, NASM-CPT, AFAA-GFI

Every woman who has entered the free weight pit of a commercial gym has experienced it at some point: Despite your oversized headphones, pinpoint focus and intentional resting bitch face, an overly “helpful” guy will eventually walk up and bro-splain something to you. Ranging from the inane (no, my uterus will not fall out if I squat) to the slightly more plausible (should I really worry about lactic acid?), these fitness-related myths have been adopted as fact by many of the ignorant gym-ilk, who then take it upon themselves to propagate the foolishness — while also trying to make themselves look smart.

Here are some of the most pervasive bro-science myths that should be banned from the training floor. So the next time a bro approaches you with one of these terrible 12, you can woman-splain the truth.

The Lactic-Acid Lie

MYTH: You must do _____ (cardio, stretching, foam rolling, massage, etc.) to clear the lactic acid from your muscles and prevent soreness tomorrow.

TRUTH: Lactic acid has nothing to do with soreness and may not even be as closely linked to the “burn” as we once thought. Lactic acid is produced at the end of glycolysis — the metabolism of carbohydrates — when there’s not enough time or oxygen available to break them down further. This creates a more acidic environment, which is often associated with the “burn” of exercise at the end of a heavy set or during a high-intensity sprint. But as soon as you rest or slow down, your body gets to work clearing it out — without any help from foam rolling, massaging or cardio. Lactic acid is used for energy throughout your aerobic pathways and is often transported to parts of the body that are using more O 2, like your heart. And if the world does get too acidic for your muscles, you have an innate buffering system that cleverly controls your pH balance by making more CO 2, which you then exhale. Problem solved.

Hypertrophy Hype

MYTH: In order to grow muscle, you need to do eight to 12 reps using moderate weight for each set.

TRUTH: Whoever branded this eight-to-12 edict was way off base. Hypertrophy can occur with a variety of different weights and rep ranges, as long as you implement progressive overload — e.g., stressing the muscles beyond what they are used to and adding more weight as you get stronger. Several recent studies compared the powerlifting style of resistance training (heavy load, low reps, lots of rest between sets) with the traditional bodybuilding-style training (moderate load, moderate reps, less rest between sets) and found that if the total training volume was the same, the muscle gains were also the same. Even endurance-based training with lighter loads and lots of reps can mean gains, as long as you’re achieving muscle fatigue toward the end of the set. Why? Because the physiological stressors that stimulate muscle growth come from both high tension (heavy weights) and metabolic stress (muscle fatigue).

Post-Exercise Protein Panic

MYTH: You have to drink a postworkout protein shake within the 45-minute anabolic window or your muscles will start to eat themselves!

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