I get questions all of the time about the latest fitness trends and fads. I’m often validating (or not) some good ’ol fashion wives tales about keeping the body in tiptop shape. Lately, I’ve been hearing:
I want to tone my body and not gain muscle mass…
Individuals often tell me this when describing their fitness goals. The word toning is misleading. Here’s why: your skeletal muscles are the muscles you can control, like your back, arm, and leg muscles. But even when they are at rest, they are almost always slightly contracted. This is called muscle tone. So you can’t actually tone your body, but you can strengthen your muscles to become more physically fit.
If you want to strengthen your muscles, resistance training (lifting weights) is the way to go. Focus on muscle endurance to avoid significant muscle mass gain. I recommend doing 3 sets of 12-15 repetitions with minimal rest between sets.
I want to take EPOC fitness classes so that I can burn more fat and calories…
I’ve been asked a few times about “EPOC fitness” classes. EPOC is an acronym for Excess Post-Exercise Oxygen Consumption. Like a fire that is put out but the coals are still hot, your body continues to burn energy after a workout. This can last from minutes to hours. So technically, you can have EPOC after a fitness class (or any workout for that matter) but not during the class itself. There is no workout that will give you EPOC while you are exercising.
I can track the amount of calories I burn while working out on a treadmill or elliptical machine…
The amount of calories you use up during a workout depends on many things. Your height and weight, the amount of muscle mass you have, and your skill level all play a role in how many calories are used while being physically active. The calorie count from the machine is an estimate rather than a true value.
These are only a few of the many misconceptions. Read more fitness myths busted.
If you’ve learned fitness advice you’re not sure of or have other questions about physical activity, call the Physical Activity Line; it’s FREE! 8-1-1.