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Everything you wanted to know about your muscles

June 1, 2017

It is possible to reduce fat from targeted areas of your body

FALSE

Multiple studies have shown – including this one – that it is not possible to lose fat from specific areas on the body by doing exercises that target those areas. For instance, you won’t be able to lose fat around your tummy by doing sit-ups every day, although what will happen is that you’ll strengthen the muscles used in those movements. While it’s not possible to target areas for reduction, your best bet for overall fat reduction is high-intensity interval training (HIIT). These workouts don’t require much time (each usually lasts half an hour or less) and you’ll notice fat loss quite quickly if you’re consistent with your workouts.

 

Your body burns both fat and muscle

FALSE

Your body’s main source of energy is carbohydrates as this is usually the most easily available. When your body has burned all the carbohydrates from your meal, it will then turn to glucose that’s stored in the muscles and liver – more commonly known as glycogen – for energy. Glycogen stores are usually depleted within 24 hours or so, after which your body turns to its fatty compounds (triacylglycerols). As the body works to preserve muscle mass much as possible, it will only start burning protein (muscle) only when its fat stores are depleted.

 

Weight training will make you look bulky

FALSE

It’s true that weight training is an important part of a bodybuilder’s routine to look the way they do – but weigh training alone won’t make you bulk up. On the contrary, weight training will help you burn more calories by increasing your lean body mass. Bodybuilders look the way they do for a whole host of reasons besides weight training: An excess of calories from their diets, extreme training regimes, and more. It’s highly unlikely that the average person who does weight-training a few times a week will end up looking very bulky unless that’s what they are specifically working towards – what will happen is that they’ll start looking leaner and more toned.

 

Running will make your legs look huge

FALSE

While your calves, hamstrings, quadriceps and glutes are active during a run, they are not likely to get significantly bigger from running alone. That’s because running trains muscular endurance, not muscular size (also known as hypertrophy). Your leg muscles will only get noticeably bigger if you target this group of muscles during weight training over an extended period of time.

 

Working out too much can cause you to lose muscle

TRUE

This is especially true if you’re someone who does a lot of cardio-based fitness. In general, your body needs a surplus of calories to help build muscle; doing cardio workouts for too often or too long will burn the calories you need to build muscle. Overdo it, and you’ll find yourself losing mass, as your body will start burning muscle after it’s worked through your stores of carbohydrates, glycogen and fat. That doesn’t mean you have to give up cardio fitness altogether – just be sure to do it for no longer than 45 minutes at a stretch, and for no more than three times a week.