Shape Magazine on Fitness Myths

Deputy Editor of Shape Magazine Janet Lee takes some time to debunk fitness myths. Here’s a couple from The CBS Early Show:

TRUTH: Crunches won't get rid of body fat. You have to do cardio to do that. Crunches will firm up the underlying muscles, though. Also, there is no such thing as "lower abs." The six-pack you're going for is actually one long muscle, called the rectus abdominis, that extends from below your chest to your pubic bone. To work your abs, you should do exercises to target all four muscles: the rectus abdominis, internal and external obliques and the transverse abdominis.Getting a six pack is more about genetics first and percentage of body fat second. To try to get there, do a range of moves that target your entire midsection (all 4 muscles in the abs) and do cardio to burn fat.


TRUTH: Muscle doesn't turn to fat-ever! Some people that are very muscular and stop working out without changing their diet may put on fat though and their muscles will lose tone after 4 to 8 weeks. If you have a to take a gym break, try to work in activity in other ways (walk more, take the stairs, etc.) and cut back on what you're eating. Muscle and fat are different types of tissue, and one can't morph into the other. What can happen when you stop exercising is that you put on fat, so those once-flat abs will turn distinctly flabbier. Also, when you don't use muscle it starts to atrophy, so it's not as firm as it was.
That’s why I run, run, run! Oh, if you like video better. Check this out:

Now, here are fitness tips you can trust. Dr. Fuhrman serves up some back strengthening exercises. Check it out:<
  1. Seated cable row: With knees slightly bent, lean forward, then pull the handles back to your chest with elbows wide as your back comes to vertical.
  2. Wide cable pull downs: Pull down the cable to your chest with elbows wide as you lean back to a sixty-degree angle.
  3. Back extensions: Lean over exercise ball, and arch your back up like a reverse sit up, or use a back extension chair made for this exercise.
  4. Superman: While lying on your stomach, lift trunk and legs up off the ground like a bow.
  5. Alternate Superman: Use alternate arm and leg to perform the superman.
  6. Weighted backpack: Wear a weighted backpack for a few hours per week. Normal activities of moving around and getting up and down with a weighted backpack on strengthens the back.
In Yoga they call the alternate superman, warrior three, and the superman, peacock pose. As for the seated cable row, the most I’ve ever done is 200 pounds—ever try any of these?
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Comments (4) Read through and enter the discussion with the form at the end
Lilly - March 28, 2008 3:16 PM

The superman & alternate superman are killers if held for any length of time. They are both part of my core strength routine, as well as the back extensions you mentioned. As for gym stuff, ever try the "Hammer Row"? That one is my favourite (although, i can only do about 50 lbs each arm) :-D

Gerry Pugliese - March 28, 2008 10:09 PM

Hey Lilly-

I've done hammer row before, not my favorite exercise. I do anywhere from 175 to 200 pounds.


Sara - March 30, 2008 9:00 PM

I think warrior 3 is one legged with arms out front like what somepeople call airplane. Superman and alternate superman are yoga poses- can't think of the name right now.

Sara - March 30, 2008 9:49 PM

Checked my book superman is closest to locust pose. We do it in body flow class but they don't give it a name.

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