Muscle can turn into fat, lifting weights makes you look like Arnold, and a thousand crunches a day will give you a six-pack. Yes, fitness myths are many, and they are persistent — like mosquitoes on a late-summer night in Washington. And they haven’t changed much over the years, according to Shirley Archer, a fitness and wellness educator with the American Council on Exercise.
“People are always engaging in wishful thinking that they can transform their body with minimal effort,” says Archer, who has written many books on health and fitness. “And our sound-bite culture isn’t helping. We stand in the grocery store line, and some headline tells us we can lose 10 pounds in 10 minutes.”
So, let’s take a moment to clear up some of the most common fitness myths.
1. A higher number on the scale means you’re getting fatter.
It depends where those pounds are coming from: fat or muscle. “The difference is the density,” Archer says. A pound of muscle takes up less space than a pound of fat. That’s why it’s possible to become leaner and healthier while at the same time gaining weight. “So don’t be overly concerned with a specific number on the scale; it’s more about how you feel,” she says.