Hey there, folks!

It’s dreary and foggy here, which seems somehow fitting, since my husband is traveling this week, and it just doesn’t seem right that his leaving should coincide with a really glorious fall morning. If you think of it, we would really appreciate prayers for, well, sanity for the next month + as Shaun will be traveling on and off during that time (with an emphasis on the “on”), and things around here could get a bit hairy.

On this week’s agenda? Finishing a project for the big PCM giveaway/fundraiser, homeschooling, blogging, painting (furniture), housework, teaching fitness classes, practicing for BODYCOMBAT launch, having BC launch, and, oh yeah…life.

Will it all get done? Probably not, but I do know for sure that I will be teaching those fitness classes I mentioned and not just because they’re the only thing on the list that I officially get paid to do.

After a week at home with 3 kiddos and no husband, I’m sure I will need every single extra BODYCOMBAT practice.(Air-punching = fantastic stress relief!)

So, speaking of fitness, since it’s Move-it Monday, today I thought I’d do my best to bust 3 of the most common “fitness myths” that I encounter at the gym and elsewhere.

fitness cartoon

I just couldn’t resist! : )

Myth #1: You can lose weight from a specific section of your body by loading up on exercises that isolate that section.

Sorry, folks, but there’s really no such thing as isolation weight loss. Everybody has his/her own “trouble areas,” but by far, the most common question I get asked on this subject is: “How do I get this spare tire off of my stomach?”

workout fairy

Don’t we all wish?

Well, the answer isn’t actually: do more ab exercises.  While knocking out 1,274 crunches every night before bed will certainly tone and strengthen the muscles of your midsection, and it will even burn some calories that will contribute to overall weight loss, it will not melt away belly fat. 

The truth is that, if you don’t like the extra layer of “love” on your tummy (or bum, or…) then nothing but overall weight loss will take it off. In fact, if it’s your nemesis, it may be the last place your body loses weight. 

So, focus less on the crunches and more on a balance of healthy eating, cardio, and strength-training, and then reassess.

Myth #2: Lifting weights will make you bulky.

Men are a different story, but, ladies, we simply are not naturally built to get muscles like this:


(This is incredibly tame compared to every other image that popped up when I searched for “female body-builder,” by the way…eek!)

Creating true “bulk” requires a specific diet, hours upon hours in the gym, and, in many cases, illegal/harmful chemical enhancers.

So, if you’re worried that doing that strength-training group fitness class twice a week at your gym will give you monster muscles, don’t be!

I’ve done BODYPUMP or some other form of resistance-training (relatively light weights with lots of reps) classes an average of three times a week for the past four years, and, while I have definitely seen a change in the level of tone in my arms, I have not had any issues with Popeye biceps or Ah-nuld shoulders.

In fact, unless you continually up your weight and really push yourself in every class, you may not notice too much of an external difference other than a general decrease in jiggle, but you will be helping to strengthen your bones, since resistance training is one of the best ways of increasing bone density, which, in turn, helps combat the effects of osteoporosis. Win!

Myth #3: Dance aerobics can burn off over 1,000 calories per hour.

Okay, I’ll admit that when I say “dance aerobics,” I have a very specific program in mind: Zumba.

I can’t find anything on the official Zumba website that claims this (thank goodness!), but I have seen multiple Facebook posts inviting people to come to “a dance party where you can shake off over a 1,000 calories in one 55 minute class.”



Is Zumba fun? Yes, especially if dance is your thing.

Is it a great form of cardio if you really get your body moving? Yes!

But unless you are a 250 lb. body-building male with ankle-weights on (and wouldn’t we all pay money to see one of those doing Zumba!), that level of calorie-burn for a low-impact dance aerobic class is simply impossible, no matter what that calorie-counting wrist-watch from Walmart says (by the way, unless said watch is linked to a heart-rate monitor via a chest strap, the readout is almost always much too high).

To give you a point of reference, at my current weight, about the maximum calorie-burn I can expect to experience in BODYCOMBAT is approximately 600 calories.  And that’s jumping, kicking, and punching as hard as I possibly can while talking/yelling/teaching.

So, the next time you want to get your sweat on to some fun dance-beats, by all means, go for it! Just remember to estimate somewhere closer to 200-500 calories burned per hour and adjust your menu accordingly.

And there you have it, folks! Myths busted! Or at the least mildly refuted. ; )

Do you have a fitness question or claim that you’d love to have answered or confirmed? I can’t claim to know the answer, but I’ll certainly try my best to find out. 

Ask away!







  1. Yes, good idea! I’ll run in place while waiting for son #2 to decide he is done using the potty 🙂 Come to think of it, I should do that every time I’m waiting for him on the “throne” and I’d probably burn tons more calories each day!! Thanks for the comment 🙂

  2. The only way to know for sure is to wear a heart rate monitor with chest-strap, but I wouldn’t worry about it too much. Yes, your calorie burn will probably be a little lower because of the (lovely! ; )) interruptions (and boy do I know what that’s like), but unless you stop moving altogether for a significant period of time, it won’t be much different. My advice? HUSTLE while you’re wiping that child’s bottom! ; )

  3. Ok….I have a fitness question. I do an interval DVD workout (this one to be exact: https://www.momsintofitness.com/dvds/lindsay-brin-boot-camp-2) which has 10 minute cardio/toning intervals. I try to do 3 intervals (so 30 min total) with an extra ab section or two. But, often times (most of the time!) I’m interrupted by my kids…have to press pause and then resume after getting a sippy cup of water, etc…. So, am I burning the same number of calories when I have to stop and pause several times during the workout as if I did the whole thing without stopping?? Clear as mud? I’m thinking I might burn less b/c my heart rate goes down, but if I did the whole thing straight through that my heart rate would stay elevated over the whole 30 min. I’ve just always been curious about this one, although it doesn’t change the fact that I will still get interrupted by my kids for help using the potty….lovely 🙂

  4. thanks abbie, on #1 you got it with the 2nd explanation. i know sometimes i would get really light headed and “swoony” (not sure if thats a word) that i wouldn’t want to exercise anymore.
    again thanks for taking time to answer

  5. Good question, Biz…one I may have to answer fully in a post some day. The somewhat short answer is that I’ve always been athletic and active, but the older you get, the less opportunity you have to participate in sports, especially once kids are in the picture. So, fitness classes are my sports substitute. They’re also my adrenaline fix. Plus, of course, they help me to maintain a shape that I’m happy with. Also, and this just plays into my competitive, somewhat hardcore personality…I really like being strong. I like being able to do a bunch of push-ups on my toes.

    As far as fitting it in, well, it’s sort of my job, so it’s pretty motivating when you’re getting paid to do something you would normally be the one paying to do (my family gets a complimentary gym membership because I work there). So, yeah. That helps!

  6. I know, Amber! I don’t feel like my situation even begins to compare to what most women with traveling/deployed husbands have to deal with, and yet I know I’m so happy to have him back every time, so I KNOW that someone who has to give up their spouse for long periods of time must just be delirious with happiness when they come home.
    I hope everything does well for you and your kiddos and that you do, indeed, still like each other by the time hubby gets home. : )

  7. Michelle, I’m not even sure what the first one means. Do they mean that every time you eat, you need to exercise first (definitely a myth!) or that you should exercise before you eat anything (also a myth…your body needs fuel)…I don’t know, but it sounds pretty weird to me.

    The second one I’m familiar with, but I wouldn’t worry too much about it. Calories are calories, no matter when you eat them. There’s a lot of speculation about what your metabolism does after 6, but really, if you eat something reasonable/healthy, it doesn’t matter too much what time you eat it. If you’re genuinely hungry…eat! Just make sure it’s something filling and good for you, and you should be just fine. Your body can still digest while you’re sleeping.

  8. Wow, that’s impressive, Rachel! Good for you for knowing your stuff!

    My friend who is very fit but just about the same size as I am burned about 270 calories the last time she went. Now, granted, Zumba’s not really her thing, so I’m sure she wasn’t working as hard as she would have been in something like Body Combat where she feels really comfortable, but it is a little frustrating when someone baldfacedly claims that everybody is going to come and burn 1,200 calories when they should know that’s not feasible for most people.

    Also, as I’m sure you know, your calorie burn is going to greatly depend on how hard you work. Some folks are just going through the motions, and some are really shaking it, and the latter are going to get a considerably higher number than the former.

  9. I have managed to burn 800 calories in Zumba! 1,000 might have killed me though. However, I am a plump 215 pounds so my burn will be higher simply because of that. I use a heart rate monitor with a chest strap and have done the VO2 max stuff with it. You were right though–an “average” 150 pound woman would never be able to burn 1,000 calories in an hour!

  10. i’ve got a couple if ya don’t mind!
    *it’s always best to exercise before you eat? true or false
    *i’ve been told to eat nothing after 6 pm (thats not happening at my house we don’t all get home until 5:30ish at the earliest) to combat the calories just adding to your fat but then i was told just stop eating 2hrs before going to sleep as it takes 2 hrs to digest food? is there an actual accurate answer to this one?

  11. I’ve been told these same myths time and time again by friends who want to jump on the exercise bandwagon that I’ve been on for 3 years. I think sometimes people like to think the little that they are doing is enough because they don’t want to commit to a lifestyle change, which exercise is if you want to stay healthy for life. I keep encouraging them, but it’s hard when magazines push magical exercises and pills that will make people “thin” and “healthy.” Yeah, right!

  12. Ughh! I feel ya on the traveling husband thing! We’ve gone through a lot of that this year, and he’s leaving tomorrow for two weeks. It makes me really feel for all the women with deployed husbands! Hopefully my two boys and I will all still like each other when he gets back.

I love hearing from you guys!