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Training misconceptions

“Shawn, won’t I get too big if I strength train?”

This is the number one objection that women have with respect to strength training or lifting weights.  The answer is NO…

The rate at which you lose fat is far greater than the rate at which you can gain muscle.

Fact #1 You can gain only about .5 to 1.5  pounds of muscle per month.  Probably closer to .5 pounds of muscle.

Fact #2 You can lose about 4 to 8 pounds of fat, not water weight, per month.

If you do the math, you should still be losing body weight.  Take the maximums, a person loses 8 pounds of fat in a month, but gains 2 pounds of muscle in a month; that person would have lost 6 pounds of bodyweight.

If you’re not losing body weight, then you’re probably not eating right, or not doing enough cardio.

So, in time, your body should be shrinking, not getting “bigger”.  If you are eating properly and training smart, you should still be losing inches off your waist and hips.


“Women should do Pilates, Yoga, and Cardio to lose fat”

It seems that the weight-lifting room is 70% male and 30% female.  Why is this?  Shouldn’t it be split evenly?  Well, there are a few reasons why this occurs:

Some women don’t lift weights because they get tired of men hitting on them at the gym.

Some women report feeling intimidated by the men or feel intimidated by women who are in great shape.

Some are unfamiliar with the equipment.

Ok, this I can understand.  All three are legitimate concerns.

It can be annoying for a woman to consistently get hit on by men… Unfortunately, this is something you just have to put up with if you are a woman.  Guys try to leave the women alone *laughing to myself*…

Next point, woman, you can wear a hat and headsets. That’s kind of like a “Get Lost” sign for men.  I would never talk to a woman that had a hat and headsets on…

As far as being intimidated and unfamiliar with the gym itself, you might want to get one of the trainers at the gym to show you around.  Usually when you join a new gym, you receive a free session or two with a trainer, use them.  Have them show you how to use the equipment.  This way it won’t seem so foreign to you.  Once you start getting into a routine, you probably won’t have that feeling of intimidation any longer.  Also, if you still feel intimidated, hire a trainer.

Let’s go back to the initial misconception I was addressing, “Women should do Pilates, yoga, and cardio to lose fat”.  What is the best way to increase your metabolism? Build more muscle.  And the #1 way to increase muscle and shape your body is “strength training” (lifting weights).  Pilates and yoga are great, but it all comes down to your goals.  What is your goal?  Is it flexibility, spirituality, or simply just toning?

Pilates is good for flexibility and some muscle gain.  Yoga is great for flexibility, breathing, reducing stress and it can also be a spiritual experience.

But, what is your primary goal?  If it’s to lose fat and gain muscle (Tone), then the answer is and will always be strength training, diet, and cardio.  This combination will give you the fastest results in the least amount of time.


Spot Reduction

“If I do more abs exercises, can I lose abdominal fat?”

I’m sorry, the answer is a resounding NO.  Beware of the infomercials… They are lying or are just simply misleading.

It’s very simple, the fat that covers your abs is related to how much body fat you have on your body.  If your body fat is 30% you will never see your abs.  If your body fat is 12%, you will see your abs.  It’s that simple…  So, what is the best way to lose body fat?  Strength training, cardio, and diet.



“Men do arms and chest, women only need to workout legs…”

It seems that men have a bad tendency to have “Mirroritis”.  I define “Mirroritis” as working out only muscle that you can see in the mirror.  For men, it’s working out to much chest and arms and not enough legs and back.


Common Mistakes

Why don’t people succeed?

A few reasons:

  • Not keeping a workout journal or a food journal.
  • Never going to the point-of-exhaustion, or close to it.
  • Not increasing the weights every week (or every 2 or 3 weeks).
  • Training inefficiently
  • Not applying “change” to a workout routine. Change weight lifting and cardio workouts every 4 to 8 weeks.
  • Lack of sleep.  I would recommend sleeping 8 to 10 hours a night.  For some, I know that might sound like a lot.  But if you’re really serious about changing your life and your body, you will change your sleeping habits.  Sleep is critical.  Why?  When we sleep our body repairs itself which allows you to be 100% ready for the next workout.  When you workout at 80% or 50% due to lack of sleep, it will be extremely hard to lose fat and gain muscle compared to getting the proper amount of rest.
  • Not eating a health diet or simply eating way too many cheat meals.
  • Lack of cardio and strength training.
  • Making excuses…