Between commercial advertisements, magazines and general hearsay, a lot of women fall victim to misconceptions and myths related to health, fitness and weight loss, many of which don’t ever seem to go away in spite of science proving them wrong. While a lot of them are based on personal biases, preferences or longstanding beliefs, some are more concrete, having a bit of truth surrounding them. Here are a few common myths about exercise and diet worth debunking.

1. Women who train with weights will develop large muscles.

This myth is not only absurd but also a real obstacle for those women wishing to lose weight and get a sleek, strong and sculpted figure. Due to insufficient testosterone production, most women are genetically incapable of developing large muscles without some form of supplementation, which is a common practice in the sport of bodybuilding.

Related Article: How to Lift Weights Without Bulking Up

Regular weight training will increase muscle mass, but this is crucial for weight loss and  long-term weight management as muscle is a metabolically active, fat-burning tissue. Increases in muscle mass will inherently boost your metabolism meaning you’ll burn more calories when resting and during any types of activity your perform.

In order to lose weight, preserve muscle and shape, tone and sculpt your body, it’s important that you perform weight training at least 2-3 days per week.

Related Article: 5 Reasons Why Resistance Training Is Necessary for Weight Loss

2. Exercising one area of the body will help you lose fat in that area.

Here’s a myth of epic proportions! Spot reduction is simply impossible when it comes to fat loss. Where you naturally lose the most fat will depend on your genetic makeup. Every woman has a tendency towards having either an apple or pear-shaped figure. These classifications basically relate to how fat is normally distributed throughout your body.

If you have an apple shape, you’ll tend to store fat in your upper body, especially around the midsection. On the flip side, having a pear shape will cause the majority of your fat to be store in your lower body. Regardless of how your body fat is distributed, the two factors that have the most profound impact on your total body fat are the amount of calories you consume and the amount you burn on a daily basis.

In order to avoid excess body fat accumulation, it’s important to eat sensibly and regularly perform cardiovascular (cardio) exercise. You can then combine these efforts with targeted resistance training to transform your body closer to looking the way you want to look.

Related Articles: A Simple Guide to Eating Sensibly

3. Carbohydrates need to be drastically reduced when trying to lose weight.

This one’s indeed among my most favorite myths, particularly since carbohydrates (carbs) are a chief macronutrient needed by the body. Carbs primarily function in providing the body with a readily available source of energy (calories). They also play an important role in the structure and functioning of the body’s organs and nerve cells.

In fact, the human brain depends exclusively on carbohydrates to function properly.

Including carbs in your diet can also help prevent body fat accumulation, especially those housing large amounts of dietary fiber. Fiber helps reduce excess absorption of dietary fat, promotes healthy elimination of waste products, and improves heart health by lowering elevated cholesterol levels.

Related Article: How Different Types of Fiber Affect Your Health

A healthy, well-balanced diet should at the very least include 4-6 daily servings of carbohydrates in the form of vegetables, 2-4 servings in the form of fruits, and 3-5 servings in the forms of nuts and seeds, high-quality whole grains, and legumes (beans, peas and lentils).

Related Article: How to Lose Weight Without Cutting Carbs

And there you have it! Three common exercise and diet-related myths, debunked. Now, these myths are only the tip of the iceberg. It’s important to understand that adhering to such misconceptions may actually hinder progress towards your health, fitness and weight loss goals. So, before you take what “they” say as gospel, make sure you carefully vet this information or, at the very least, run it by a qualified professional.