Fitness myths

New York trainers provide a reality check.

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Myth: Cardio is the best way to burn fat.
Reality: "Strength training is the best way to get rid of unwanted fat. Weight lifting helps you build and maintain lean muscle mass, which increases your overall metabolism and causes the body to release hormones that induce fat loss."—David Barton, founder and owner of David Barton Gym

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Myth: Lengthening your stride when running is more efficient.
Reality: "You're wasting energy by trying to force your foot farther forward than what's natural. Overstriding results in a hard, forward heel strike, which slows you down and can potentially cause shin splints. Ideally, your foot should land right under your body."—Monica Vazquez, master trainer, New York Sports Clubs

Myth: Eating at night adds fat.
Reality: "If you work out later in the day, fasting at night can drive your body into a catabolic state that slows down your metabolism. Your body needs fuel to recover and rebuild. Instead, eat healthily— with lean meats, healthy fats, complex carbs or veggies—after your workout."—Dan Rohanna, private trainer, Reebok Sports Club/NY

Myth: For the best weight-loss results, you need to exercise in the "fat-burning zone" (60 to 70 percent of your maximum heart rate) for at least 30 minutes.
Reality: "You can also do high-intensity intervals: Walk for five minutes, jog for five minutes and sprint for three minutes. Then take a short break and repeat."—Janet Fitzgerald, master instructor and senior training officer, SoulCycle

Myth: During a lat pull-down, you should pull the bar behind your head and to your upper back.
Reality: "This can lead to shoulder impingement syndrome, a painful condition that injures muscles, tendons and the shoulder joint. Pull the bar in front of your head to the top of your chest."—Kate Van Doren, private trainer, Reebok Sports Club/NY

Myth: You need to work hard and fast to have a productive workout.
Reality: "You give your muscles the most attention by slowing down and using lots of control. If you're using weights, focus more on putting them down and less on lifting them up. Remember: Use your mind as much as your body."—Shana Brady, personal trainer, 14th Street Y

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