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Aug. 15 2009 12:00 AM

You read magazines, books and blogs about the dos and don’ts of working out, and rumors float around the gym about the newest way to see results, fast. Before you know it, you’re chasing bananas with chocolate milk because you heard it’s the best post workout meal. When it come to fitness, we’re all a little bit different so avoid the rumors and find out what really works, or doesn’t, for your body.

The exercise pros at Life Fitness busted these common fitness myths:

Women bulk up when they strength train. If this were true, Madonna’s pipes would look more like a body builder’s rather than the toned, feminine arms she sports. The reality is that most women don’t produce the hormones to build bulging muscles. Still worried? Remember that adding muscle helps the body lose fat to create a leaner and more defined physique.

Ab workouts dissolve belly fat. Abdominal workouts help strengthen and tone the core, but it’s a low percentage of body fat that gives you six-pack abs. So unless you drop that donut and opt for healthier food choices, you’re still going to be a bit soft in the midsection no matter how many crunches you add to your routine.

Work out until you sweat. Sweat is the body’s air-conditioning machine and although it can be a great indicator of how hard your body is working, we all don’t sweat alike. A better way to gauge intensity is monitoring your heart rate during exercise.

Overweight people have a slow metabolism. Not necessarily. Studies show that less than 10 percent of obese individuals have a slow metabolism. In fact, overweight people typically expend more energy to move and ultimately burn more calories than their lighter friends. If your weight is creeping up, check your activity level and diet first, not your metabolism.

Yoga makes you long and lean. Yoga is fantastic exercise for strength and flexibility; however, it isn’t going to visibly elongate your body parts. You can expect it to help you walk taller by improving posture and creating a fit body.

Unless you’ve got two hours to exercise, don’t bother. The bottom line is that there isn’t one catchall amount of workout time for everyone, so you need to determine your perfect exercise prescription based on your age, health and goals. If you don’t have a block of time to spare at the gym, Life Fitness suggests breaking your workout into shorter increments at different times of the day. And remember, even a little exercise is better than no exercise at all.

No pain, no gain! False. Your workouts shouldn’t be painful or cause excessive discomfort. Feeling a good burn in your lungs or your muscles is proof enough of your hard work.

When you hit a plateau, you don’t burn as many calories. You may feel as though your body has hit a plateau, but it’s still using up energy and burning those calories with every lunge and every mile – you’re just in better physical condition so the workout doesn’t feel as intense. When this happens, it’s time to spice up your program to continue seeing and feeling results.

Fit Tips are provided by Life Fitness, a company that designs and manufactures high-quality exercise equipment for fitness facilities and homes worldwide. For more information on FitTips and other fitness advice and expertise visit www.lifefitness.com or follow their Twitter at www.twitter.com/LifeFitness.

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