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Common fitness myths: Part III

Posted by Elizabeth Comeau  December 19, 2012 07:00 AM

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RyanHealy100.jpgRyan Healy is a personal trainer for the Lynch/van Otterloo (LVO) YMCA in Marblehead. She is a Certified Strength and Conditioning Specialist through the NSCA, and earned her BS in Exercise Sports Science from Elon University. Find more posts by her in conjunction with the LVO YMCA at She can be reached at

Remember; please consult your doctor before starting any exercise program.

My post this week wraps up a three part series on common fitness myths. Here are parts one and two. I hope these have given you new thoughts and ideas about exercise.

Thanks for reading!

To lose weight you have to do cardio
For a long time there’s been this idea among exercisers that if you want to get in shape and lose weight, cardiovascular exercise is the only way to go. With the New Year only a few weeks away, you’ll certainly see this as more people start pounding the pavement outside, or filling up the treadmills, ellipticals, and bikes at the gym in hopes of getting back into shape or losing weight. While cardiovascular health is an important component of fitness, when fat loss is concerned, it shouldn’t be the first choice for most people. Strength training is a more effective exercise mode because it promotes muscle growth, an increased metabolism, AND burns calories. Fitness expert Alwyn Cosgrove wrote a great article entitled ‘The Hierarchy of Fat Loss’, that goes into greater detail on this topic and is based on research studies and his extensive experiences in helping people lose weight.

Workouts should be daily
Whether you’re an athlete training for a specific sport, or you’re exercising to lose weight, good training and proper recovery need to go hand in hand. Regular physical activity is one of the best things you can do for your body, but continually pushing your body to its limits day in and day out will start to take its toll and you might start to find yourself continually exhausted, sore, nursing an injury, and not making progress anymore. When consistently exercising 3-5 days a week, most people can see many benefits from that alone. Tune in to your body and give it regular rest. That doesn't mean you have to stay on the couch all day either. Enjoying a nice walk or playtime with the family can be a way to still be active without taxing your body and impeding your recovery.

No pain, no gain
The old military adage that pain is weakness leaving the body is often propagated by fitness enthusiasts and even some trainers. I disagree. Pain is your body’s way of telling you something is wrong. Whatever the exercise might be, if you’re feeling true pain from it, it’s probably not the right exercise for you, at least at that point. Proper advancement of exercises, correct form, and suitable range of motion at the joints should all be given attention to prevent unnecessary pain. If addressing those areas doesn't help, seek out a physician to evaluate your issue. Sure, exercise will bring on feelings of discomfort or fatigue, but knowing the difference between that and pain will help keep you healthy in the long run.

Staying fit is an important part of staying healthy. This blog will offer exercise tips from experts as well as share the personal journeys of Globe staff members committed to fitness. No matter your age or energy level, we invite you to join in and share your own story. How do you find time to work out? What are your daily challenges? Let us know and read along -- and together, we can all get moving.


Elizabeth Comeau is a social media marketing manager at She will be blogging about her personal fitness journey and using a device called a FitBit to track her weekly goals and progress (see below). Follow her journey and share your own. Read more about Elizabeth and this blog.

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