Myth 1: Doing any exercise on an unstable surface is more effective than doing it on solid ground and better for my core!

Busted: The theory makes sense. Balance comes from your core, so if you have to stabilize yourself during a move, you’ll work harder and tone your middle. However, the problem with unstable surfaces is just that: Being so unstable, you have to use lighter weights to avoid injury, and ultimately lifting heavier weights on solid ground will get the best results fastest. http://rparticle.web-p.cisti.nrc.ca/rparticle/AbstractTemplateServlet?calyLang=eng&journal=apnm&volume=35&year=2010&issue=1&msno=h09-128 Don’t cut the unstable tools from our workout, but don’t rely on them alone.

Myth 2: Crunch, sit-up and crunch some more for abs!

Busted: First off, what good is having a 6-pack that’s insulated? Sprint, swim, jog, hike, climb stairs, jump rope to burn off excess fat. Clean up your food. Indulgence doesn’t hide but takes its place front and center…literally. The best core exercises are going to be not what you expected: squats with weight on your shoulders, lunges with weight on your shoulders, deadlifts (straight and bent), push-ups and shoulder presses, as well as any bent-over rows. Why? In all these exercises, it’s your core that has to support the weight, and it’s where the power comes from. Weak abs can’t keep your back straight when you squat, lunge, or press. Do these, and you’ll only need to throw in crunches, bicycles and captain’s chairs to shred and define.

Myth 3: Eating less and less will get me to the weight I want!

Busted: eeeeeeeeh not so much. Underfueling your body will cause it to hoard what you DO end up eating, not to mention you won’t have the energy to power through a great workout! Take your goal weight (5-10 pounds less than where you are, no more for now), multiply it by 10. This is your baseline. Exercise today? Take how many calories you burned in your workout, divide it by 2, and add that number to your baseline. Voila. Just enough calories to energize you but not too many to undo all your hard work. (hard gainer? do the opposite: goal weight by 5-10 pounds above your weight now as baseline; divide your caloric expendature during your workout by 2 and add each half as either another meal or snack to have that day). And become friends with measuring cups, nutrition labels and notebooks. Or sites like www.thecarrot.com

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