Weight training has become very popular for people of all ages as a way to build strength, muscle tone and bone density. However, some myths about muscle and fat persist.

If you lift weights, you’ll get bulky:

Lifting weights can increase the amount of muscle mass someone has, but it doesn’t mean it will. It’s not just lifting weights that increases muscle mass.  You must lift heavier weights and you must lift heavier weights consistently. Also, you need the right body type that can gain muscle weight. Most importantly, you must eat the right way to gain muscle mass. If you don’t take in enough of the right calories your body won’t gain muscle mass. The reality is weight training can actually lead to a leaner body.

False: Lifting weights doesn’t make you bulky.

Muscle weighs more than fat:

One pound of muscle weighs the same as one pound of fat. What people are trying to state is muscle is denser than fat. In fact, muscle is twice as dense as fat. Muscles are made of long fibers tightly woven together. Fat is made of droplets with some more full than others. These droplets have some empty space between them. Woven muscle fiber is significantly denser than fat droplets. It’s possible to gain muscle, lose fat and look much trimmer.

False: Muscle weighs more than fat.

Don’t lift weights if you want to lose weight:

The myth is that lifting weights increases your muscle mass and isn’t an activity that burns fat. This simply isn’t true. You can lift weights and still lose fat. First, weight training is exercise. You burn calories when you weight train. Granted, weight training isn’t a great fat burning exercise, but it doesn’t prevent you from losing fat. Altering your diet will have significantly more to do with your weight than weight training. You need to take in fewer calories than you expend if you want to lose weight. Weight training helps with that equation.

False: Lifting weights doesn’t prevent weight loss.

Muscle turns to fat if you stop weight training

Some people believe if you stop weight training your muscle will turn to fat. Muscle can’t turn into fat and fat can’t turn into muscle. It’s not biologically possible. If you stop weight training, you are likely to lose muscle mass. It’s a matter of “use it or lose it.” If you don’t weight train the muscles don’t grow. Also, if you do stop weight training and you account for less activity in your diet than you don’t gain fat. Weight training is an activity that burns calories. If you burn less calories and decrease your caloric intake accordingly, you don’t gain weight.

False: Muscle doesn’t turn to fat if you stop weight training. Muscle actually helps burn fat.