Common Myths for Women's Fitness Debunked

There are a great number of myths that circulate around the topic of women’s fitness. Here is how the authors of the successful The Body Sculpting Bible for Women, Hugo Rivera and James Villepigue, weigh in on some of the most common myths about exercise and working out for women.


Common Myths Debunked

Myth #1: Weight training makes women bulky. Due to the fact that women do not produce as much testosterone (the hormone responsible for increasing muscle size) as males do, it is impossible for a woman to gain huge amounts of muscle mass. The image that may come to your mind is of professional female bodybuilders. Many of those women unfortunately use anabolic steroids (synthetic testosterone) along with other drugs in order to achieve that high degree of muscularity. In addition, most also have good genetics that enable them to gain muscle quickly when they spend hours in the gym lifting very heavy weights. Believe us when we say that they do not look like that by accident. Women who conduct weight training without the use of steroids get the firm and fit cellulite-free looking body that you see in most fitness shows these days.

Myth #2: Exercise increases your chest size. Women’s breasts are composed mostly of fatty tissue. Therefore, it is impossible to increase their size through weight training. As a matter of fact, if you go below 12 percent body fat (which we do not recommend), your breast size will decrease. Weight training does increase the size of the back, so this misconception probably comes from confusing an increase in back size with an increase in cup size. The only way to increase your breast size is by gaining fat or getting breast implants.

Myth #3: Weight training makes you stiff. If you perform all exercises through their full range of motion, flexibility will increase. Exercises like flys, stiff-legged deadlifts, dumbbell presses, and chin-ups stretch the muscles in the bottom range of the movement. Therefore, by performing these exercises correctly, your stretching capabilities will increase.

Myth #4: If you stop weight training your muscles turn to fat. This is like saying that gold can turn into brass. Muscle and fat are two totally different types of tissue. What happens many times is that when people decide to go off their weight training programs they start losing muscle due to inactivity (use it or lose it) and they also usually drop the diet as well. Therefore bad eating habits, combined with the fact that metabolism is lower due to inactivity and lower degrees of muscle mass, give the impression that the subject’s muscle is being turned into fat. In reality, what is happening is that muscle is being lost and fat is being accumulated.

Myth #5: Weight training turns fat into muscle. More alchemy. This is the equivalent of saying that you can turn any metal into gold. The way a body transformation occurs is by gaining muscle through weight training and losing fat through aerobics simultaneously. Again, muscle and fat are very different types of tissues. We cannot turn one into the other.

Myth #6: You can eat anything you want as long as you exercise. How we wish this were true! However, this could not be further from the truth. Our individual metabolism determines how many calories we burn at rest and while we exercise. If we eat more calories than we burn on a consistent basis, our bodies will accumulate these extra calories as fat regardless of the amount that we exercise. This myth may have been created by people with such high metabolic rates (lucky them) that no matter how much they eat or what they eat, they never meet or exceed the amount of calories that they burn in one day. Therefore, their weight either remains stable or goes down.

Myth #7: Once you lose motivation, it’s impossible to get back to a healthy routine. It’s true that it’s difficult to get back on track after losing motivation, but it’s not impossible. When you get bored, it’s easier for you to get depressed and your productivity can come to a screeching halt. Your body reacts similarly and stops producing results when you do the same exact activities day in and day out. How do you create results consistently? Change your action plan! In The Body Sculpting Bible for Women we show you exactly how to constantly evolve your training and nutrition plan in order to keep getting results.

Myth #8: Exercising makes you tired and exhausts your body. If you’re feeling too tired to exercise, it’s most likely because you’re just bored. Get up and start moving and you’ll be surprised when you feel a surge of energy!

Myth #9: You don’t need to work out if you’re already in great shape or if you’re still young. Despite fitness level and age, you can always manage to take care of yourself, and there’s always room for improvement. Think of it as an insurance policy of sorts!

Myth #10: There’s not enough time to exercise if you’re working full-time. Even if you’re feeling like your work schedule leaves you with no time to exercise, keep in mind that exercising can actually improve your work performance. Incorporating 30 minutes into your daily schedule for working out will be well worth it as exercise has been proven to elevate mood, which naturally leads to far better results and more productivity in the work place.

Myth #11: The gym is intimidating! The gym actually intimidates more people than you think. Even those so-called “gym rats” don’t always feel confident. Any time you’re feeling nervous about being in the gym, remember that you’re in there to do a job and you owe it to yourself to conquer your fears by facing them head on! Motivate yourself by thinking about the fact that you’re doing what most people won’t do or don’t think they have time to do. It’s all about getting in great shape by doing what you gotta do!

Myth #12: The gym is crowded, dirty, and it’s just not for me! If you really don’t like the gym, build one in your own home — it’s not as difficult as you would think. All you need is a pair of adjustable dumbbells. This is all the equipment that many of our Body Sculpting Programs require. If you want to get fancier, you can get a weight bench as well. Remember: It’s quality, not quantity that matters. You can still get a great workout with very little equipment.

Myth #13: If you’ve failed once, you’re doomed to fail again. The first step in conquering past failures is to stop blaming yourself. Chances are, if you didn’t stick to the plan, it’s likely because the plan just wasn’t right for you. Be sure to set realistic goals and outcomes for yourself and write down your short-term, mid-term, and long-term goals. This will make a world of difference! Our Goal Setting Section in The Body Sculpting Bible for Women addresses this more.

Myth #14: You need to give all of your attention to your family, which leaves no time for working out. If you don’t start taking care of yourself, you won’t be able to care for your family and they may even end up having to take care of you! Giving yourself the time to exercise and stay healthy doesn’t mean you’re being selfish. In fact, the healthier you are, the better equipped you will be to care for the people you love.

Myth #15: It’s impossible to find the time to work out if you have a baby. Consider bringing your baby with you — many gyms and health clubs now have child-care services. If your gym doesn’t offer this service, find a friend or family member to babysit for an hour or so while you work out. You can make it work if you really want to.

Myth #16: You need to stretch before training with weights. Not necessarily. You should not do any static stretching (also known as isometric stretching, in which you hold the stretch for a certain amount of time) before weight training. This actually sends a signal to the muscles that they should relax, which is the last thing you want your muscles doing before a set of exercises. You should instead be using dynamic stretches, which warm and ready the muscles for the upcoming workload by performing active stretches with no holding point. You can also prepare the muscles for the lifting activity by performing the actual weight training movement that you are about to perform, using either light weight or no weight.


The Body Sculpting Bible for Women is a comprehensive guide that includes not only exercises but also nutritional tips, psychological tricks, meal charts, workout graphs, different fitness plans, the inside scoop on supplements and vitamins, advice on keeping fit while traveling, and weightlifting information for teens, seniors, and expectant mothers.

The 14-Day Body Sculpting Workout for Women has been custom designed by experts to sculpt, slim, and strengthen the unique contours of a woman’s body. The workout never stays the same for long and the results —toned arms, flat abs, tight buns, lean legs, and curves in all the right places—just keep on coming.


HUGO RIVERA is an ISSA Certified Personal Trainer, engineer and international best selling fitness author with over 20 years of bodybuilding experience. He is also the New York Times Guide to Bodybuilding and continues to educate others on how to use bodybuilding in order to achieve their goals. Hugo is the author of Hardgainers’ Bodybuilding Handbook as well as the co-author of the best selling Body Sculpting Bible for Men and Body Sculpting Bible for Women.

JAMES VILLEPIGUE is a bestselling fitness author of 23 books and has over 20 years of experience in the health and fitness industry. as a nationally certified personal trainer with National Strength & Conditioning Association (NSCA), with their prestigious Certified Strength & Conditioning Specialist (CSCS) credential, The American Council on Exercise and The International Sports Science Association. He has received degrees from Hofstra University, the New York College of Health Professions, and the Institute for Professional Empowerment Coaching. He now lives in East North Port, New York. He is the author of Mind Over Muscle as well as the co-author of the best selling Body Sculpting Bible for Men and Body Sculpting Bible for Women and Combat Fat for Kids.



Reprinted with permission from The Body Sculpting Bible for Women. ISBN: 978-1-57826-438-4, $9.99 (ebook). ISBN: 978-1-57826-401-8, $24.95 (paperback). From Hatherleigh Press. Distributed by Random House.
Weight Gain and Bulking Up Tips from Stew Smith

How Do I Gain Weight? by Stew Smith


Weight gain is something that isn’t easy to do and you probably know this already. People who cannot gain weight usually have a high metabolism, which makes gaining so hard. The key to weight gain is to do everything BIG. You have to eat big and lift big, in order to get big. This is your new motto!

A lot of people think weightlifting is the key to gaining weight. It is an extremely important part, but the other thing that is just as important is your food intake. Some people gain weight by eating more calories and only doing calisthenics. Some also experience weight gain and weight maintenance while training for marathons by adding a lot more calories and a basic weight training routine. So it is not the cardio that kills your muscle – it is the lack of refueling your muscles after you workout. This requires you to eat both larger portions of protein and complex carbohydrate rich foods. Here is a free sample weight gain plan for you to download.

Try these 5 simple steps to help you gain weight:

1. Count how many calories you eat in a normal day. Don’t change anything, just eat like you normally would and count how many calories you consumed. This is extremely important, so try to be as exact as possible. Also, weigh yourself. If you are not gaining weight or losing weight, this number is your baseline caloric intake with exercise.

2. Starting the day after you counted calories, eat 500 calories more than you normally do. For example, let’s say that the day you counted calories you counted 2000 as your baseline. For the rest of the week, you would now eat 2500 calories a day. Instead of eating 3 big meals a day or eating all day all the time, spread those calories out over 5-6 smaller meals. Eat one meal every 2 and a half to 3 hours. To get big, you have to eat big! Remember that. Adding more peanuts, almonds, even milkshakes will help you add great protein and healthy fats (in the nuts) and many calories with little effort.

3. Weightlifting! Get in the gym and lift! This is another important step to gaining weight, so make sure you are doing it correctly. If you do not have weights, go with a TRX, pullups, and dips since together they are the heavy exercises in the calisthenics world.  Adding body-weight squats or holding dumbbells in your hands while squatting / lunging is an easy way to add weight to your resistance muscle building routine. For more of Stew’s ideas on this, read Multi-Joint Dumbbell Exercises.

4. At the end of the week, weigh yourself again. You’ll notice you are gaining just after one week! Now, don’t expect to see a 10 pound increase. Gaining anymore than 1 or 2 pounds a week is unhealthy and means you are putting on way too much fat or water weight. So look for 1 or 2 pound gains at the end of the week. You can be gaining 5 to 8 pounds in a month, so be patient.

5. It’s important to remember that, at some point, you will stop seeing weight gain. When that happens you will have to eat even more. So, when you stop gaining for at least 2 weeks, it means it is time to start eating an extra 250 calories a day. Every time you see you haven’t gained weight for at least 2 weeks, add an extra 250 calories until you have reached your goal. Then it is even more important to keep working out. Do not just eat to get big, work out to get big too!


Even more tips for gaining weight (These are extremely important for success!)

Stay away from too much fat! Even though weight gain is your goal, you don’t want to be getting all your calories from fatty foods, thus gaining fat. Get rid of the chips and candy. No more fast food, nothing fried. Stick to high protein and high carb / low fat foods like tuna fish (and other seafood), chicken breast, turkey, ham, lean meats, fruits and fresh vegetables.

— WATER! Drink plenty of water! Drink around a gallon a day, more if you can. Yes, that is a lot of water, but it is water that will allow you to gain weight. Just make sure you sip it through the day and do not consume quarts during meals. That will take up space in your stomach. Below is a list of foods you should eat to gain weight.


Foods that will assist with weight gain:

Whole or 2% milk
Salad dressing
Raisin Bran cereal
Peanut butter and jelly
Prime rib
Ice cream
Ham steak
Nuts (peanuts, almonds, etc.)
Club sandwiches
Cream based soup
Protein drinks
Beans and peas

Eat these and add additional helpings if you are trying to boost your caloric intake to 2500-3000 calories per day in order to gain weight — even more if you are very active with your workouts.




STEWART SMITH, USN, is a graduate of the U.S. Naval Academy, a former Navy SEAL, and author of several fitness books including The Complete Guide to Navy SEAL Fitness, The Special Ops Workout, Maximum Fitness, and The S.W.A.T. Workout. Stew has trained thousands of students for Navy SEAL, Special Forces, SWAT, FBI, ERT, and many other military, law enforcement, and fire fighter professions. He is currently the Special Ops Team Coach at the US Naval Academy that prepares future candidates for SEAL, EOD, and MARSOC training and runs a non-profit called Heroes of Tomorrow where he trains people seeking tactical professions for free.

Maximize Your Workouts with These Exercises for Muscle Gain and Fat Loss

WATCH this video presentation for advice to get ultimate results out of your workouts and the best exercises to do to gain muscle and lose fat by Hugo Rivera, author of The Body Sculpting Bible for Men and The Body Sculpting Bible for Women.




HUGO RIVERA is an ISSA Certified Personal Trainer, engineer and international best selling fitness author with over 20 years of bodybuilding experience. He is also the New York Times Guide to Bodybuilding and continues to educate others on how to use bodybuilding in order to achieve their goals. Hugo is the author of Hardgainers’ Bodybuilding Handbook as well as the co-author of the best selling Body Sculpting Bible for Men and Body Sculpting Bible for Women.

Natural Ways to Tighten Loose Skin

Natural Ways to Tighten Loose Skin by Jo Brielyn

You’ve been working hard to lose weight and the results are showing, but you may notice that you have sagging skin covering those areas you’re trying so hard to improve. Extra skin hanging around can be frustrating and embarrassing. When your body loses weight and fat, some loose skin will appear but don’t give up or lose hope. The good news is that your skin is a living organ that will slowly transform to a shape that fits your new figure.

Your skin is an amazingly elastic living organ that has the ability to stretch as you move and grow. Skin is made up of cells, fibers, blood vessels, and elastic connective tissues that can stretch or contract depending on how they are affected. When there is weight and fat loss, the elastic elements of your skin lose the layers of fat that keep them stretched. They also don’t have much time for their elasticity to adapt to your new shape, especially if you lose weight quickly.

Factors like your age and how much weight you’ve lost affect how quickly loose skin tightens back up, but there are some actions you can take to help your skin speed up that process and tighten more effectively.


What Can You Do to Tighten Loose Skin Naturally?


Avoid drastic diets, yo-yo diets, and over-exercising to lose weight. Losing weight quickly causes your body to shed both fat and muscle. That means the underlying muscles that hold your skin against your body and the fat that keeps the skin stretched out are both lost. The result will be a lot more loose skin hanging with nothing to grab onto for support. Also, if you always seem to be gaining and losing weight – especially if it’s more than 25 pounds each time – you are yo-yo dieting. Methods of weight loss like that put a lot of stress on your body, including your skin. Instead, make key lifestyle changes to your eating and exercising routines and stick with them. Aim for losing 1 to 2 pounds per week.

Include muscle-building exercises in your workouts. Adding weights and strength training to your regimen will help build lean muscles while maintaining a healthy body fat percentage. It is possible to lose weight solely with diet and cardio, but you will also lose muscle with that fat. Strength training builds lean muscles that fill in the looseness of the skin and create a visibly tighter, more toned look. This applies to you whether you’re just beginning your weight loss journey or have already lost the weight. Don’t neglect the weights and resistance.

Hydrate your body! Water is a vital factor in maintaining skin elasticity, so this is one more reason why you should always replenish your body with plenty of water through drinks and foods. The Institute of Medicine recommends that men consume roughly 3 quarts (about 13 cups) of total beverages a day and women consume 2.2 quarts (about 9 cups) of total beverages a day. You can also read more about the connection between water and weight here.

Feed your body properly. In order for skin to remain elastic and healthy, proper amounts of two naturally occuring proteins found in animals – collagen and elastin – are needed. Be sure to include protein-rich foods like legumes, tofu, beans, seeds, nuts, fish, cottage cheese, and milk in your diet. They contain the components that form collagen and elastin and also have oils that will work to keep your skin healthy.

Note: To achieve optimal protein absorption, try to consume 100-200 calories of your protein sources immediately following your workout.

Pamper your skin. Whether you’re a man or a woman, it’s important to take time to care for your skin. Your skin is always at work protecting your body and takes quite a beating from several elements. Avoid using harsh detergents – like the sulfates found in many shampoos, soaps, and dishwashing liquids. Sulfates can irritate and dry out your skin, which will strip away moisture and make it less elastic. Also, limit your exposure to sun and chlorinated water. They will affect the elasticity of your skin. Exfoliate your skin regularly (sea salt scrubs work well) to get rid of dead skin cells and increase circulation. Also, apply a lotion or cream to your skin daily that contains ingredients like aloe vera, soy protein and vitamins C, E and A to hydrate your skin and increase collagen and elastin formation.


Keep in mind that your skin did not stretch overnight. It isn’t realistic to expect that it will rebound that quickly either. In fact, the natural skin-tightening process after weight loss generally takes from six months to two years, depending on factors such as your age, how much weight was lost, and your genetics. Be patient. Continue your healthy fitness regimine, incorporate the skin-tightening and skincare basics mentioned above, and you will see results.



JO BRIELYN is an author and contributing writer for Get Fit Now and has currently completed 16 nonfiction books about health and wellness. Jo is the founder, writer, and editor of Creative Kids Ideas, a resource website that supplies parents, teachers, and family members with the tips and fun ideas to help build stronger, happier, and more creative kids. She is also the writer behind Jo is a veteran of the United States Air Force and a former youth leader. She resides in Central Florida with her husband and their two daughters. Jo is the co-author of Combat Fat for Kids.