Building muscle is an important component of any exercise routine. Here are 5 common myths about muscles and why they aren’t true.

1. Heavy weights make you bulk up

It is a commonly believed that lifting heavy weights will make you look like a bodybuilder instead of being toned and lean. The size of your muscles is related to your genes and strength-training routine, not the size of your weights. Using heavy weights actually saves you time. Studies show you will gain the same results lifting heavier weights for fewer reps as you do with lifting lighter weights for longer.

2. Soreness comes from lactic acid build up:
It is commonly thought that the delayed onset of muscle soreness (DOMS) you feel in the days after your workout is from lactic acid build up. In fact DOMS is a symptom of micro tears in the muscles that occur as a result of your workout. Repairing these tears is how the muscles grows and develops.

3. If you stop exercising your muscle will turn into fat
Although many people believe that weight gain after a period of not exercising is a result of the muscles turning into fat, both tissues are completely different and cannot be converted one from the other. Instead building muscle increases the body’s metabolism, which in turn burns more body fat. During periods of not doing any exercise, muscle breaks down and due to having less muscle the body’s metabolism drops which ultimately leads to an increase in body fat.

4. Stretching muscles before a workout helps
Many people believe cold static stretching before a workout will help them perform better. The fact is stretching before exercising has been shown to be a waste of time and in some cases is detrimental before certain workouts, like lifting weights. Instead save the stretches for after your workout and warm up the muscles before with low intensity cardio or dynamic stretches.

5. You shouldn’t exercise with sore muscles
Following a challenging workout you may feel as if you can not and should not exercise until the pain has gone away but in fact the right kind of exercise can not only make your sore muscles feel better but also help you recover faster. However, avoid focusing too much on the effected area spend the next day doing a different body part or do a low intensity cardiovascular session.

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