Skip to content

Fitness & Exercise

Font Size

Fitness Fables

Is no pain, no gain really true when it comes to exercise? Does the amount you sweat really correlate to the amount of fat you're losing? Experts take a look at these and other fitness fables.


So for the typical woman, and the typical man, the chances of looking like Arnold Schwarzenegger are slim.

"To keep things in perspective, less than 1% of women, and less than 10% of males, have the genetic predisposition to naturally develop muscle bulk in response to strength training," says Bryant.

Weight training is also an important part of any exercise plan, according to the American Heart Association web site. While aerobic activities help your heart and lungs and stretching improves your flexibility, weight training will improve your strength and endurance, and a combination of all three makes for an optimal exercise plan.

Exercising Is a Sure-Fire Way to Lose Weight.While it may seem obvious that exercise will result in weight loss, that's not necessarily the case.

"What can happen is an individual may gain weight because she is changing her body composition," says Bryant. "She's losing fat tissue, but gaining lean tissue, which is a good thing. So while you may gain, you'll start to notice that your clothes will fit better because lean tissue takes up less space than fat tissue because it's more dense."

And, of course, you need to take your diet into consideration.

"If you have a person who has a poor diet and she's inactive, and then she starts to exercise but continues the poor diet, she may lose weight, but it's only a modest loss," says Bryant. "The best method for achieving a change in body composition is to combine exercise with a sound eating plan."

You Can Target One Area of Your Body for Weight Loss."This is a myth, pure and simple," Bryant tells WebMD. "No matter how much exercise you do for a specific region of the body, it's physiologically impossible to lose body fat in a targeted area."

Worse yet, the areas of your body that gain fat the fastest are the last to see it go.

"Fat is lost or gained throughout the entire the body," says Bryant. "But the last area where people tend to lose it from is the areas where they gain it first. So for most men, the abdominal region is the most difficult area to trim, while in women, the hips, buttocks, and thighs are the trouble spots."

Sign up for the Wellness: Living Better Newsletter to get more tips for healthier living delivered to your inbox.


Healthy Living Tools

Ditch Those Inches

Set goals, tally calorie intake, track workouts and more, all via WebMD’s free Food & Fitness Planner.

Get Started

Today on WebMD

pilates instructor
15 moves that get results.
woman stretching before exercise
How and when to do it.
couple working out
Moves you can do at home.
woman exercising
Strengthen your core with these moves.
man exercising
7 most effective exercises
Man looking at watch before workout
Overweight man sitting on park bench

Pollen counts, treatment tips, and more.

It's nothing to sneeze at.

Loading ...

Sending your email...

This feature is temporarily unavailable. Please try again later.


Now check your email account on your mobile phone to download your new app.

pilates instructor
jogger running among flowering plants
woman walking
Taylor Lautner