3 Aerobic Myths REVEALED

This is a fun post!! I hope you enjoy this read because I know I did! This is from, Sculpting Her Perfect Body, by Brad Schoenfeld.

Work That Body!


MYTH: Using the Stairclimber gives you a big butt!

FACT: It is virtually impossible to increase muscle mass substantially through the performance of any cardiovascular activity. The reason is simple: there are two basic types of muscle fibers, slow-twitch (type I) and fast-twitch (type II), and each responds to  different stimuli. Slow-twitch fibers are endurance oriented fibers that have a limited ability to grow larger and slow-twitch fibers are predominantly used during the performance of aerobic exercise.

MYTH: Low-intensity aerobic activities are better for fat burning that high-intensity exercise.

FACT: Several research studies indicated that low-level intensity activities burned a greater percentage of fat calories than high-intensity activities. These studies confirmed that the body prefers to use fat as it’s fuel source during low-intensity exercise (using roughly 60% of the calories burned, as opposed to 40% during high-intensity exercise). It is misguided, however, to believe that the selective use of fat for fuel translates into burning more total fat calories. High-intensity exercise burns more absolute fat calories than low-intensity exercise. And because the most important aspect of fat burning is the total number of fat calories burned – not the percentage from fat – higher intensity exercise has the edge.

MYTH: Sweat is a good indicator of exercise intensity.

FACT: When you exercise, sweat is brought on by an elevation in body temperature from metabolic heat. Your body regulates its temperature by activating sweat glands, which release water through your pores as a cooling system. Thus, sweat is an indicator that your body temperature is rising, not necessarily that you are exercising at an intense level. Also contrary to popular belief, being out of shape does not increase your propensity to sweat. In fact, the more physically fit you are, the more you tend to perspire. Frequent exercise makes your sweat glands increasingly sensitive to  rises in body temperature. Over time, your body begins to perceive the start of exercise and , not wanting to store extra heat, signals sweat glands sooner than it did before you began your training program.

Did any of these myths surprise you?

I was most surprised by number 3! I always wondered why I was such a sweaty mess! haha!


29 Responses

  1. Nope, not surprised. But I do a lot of reading LOL. Probably too much…. I’m always a big sweaty mess after any workout even when my HR monitor shows me I did not indeed work as hard as I appear to have been working LOL. Thanks for sharing the info though. I always like to see myths debunked.

  2. interesting…#3 was a shocker for me too! although i actually sweat all the time for no reason…guess i’m just in great shape 😉

  3. Ah number three does explain why I sweat through everything!! Very interesting!

  4. Number three surprised me quite a bit!

  5. I’ve heard of #3 before actually – only recently too.

    I have been trying to SWEAT more at the gym. I want to be more fit hahahahaha.. “Why am I not sweating like I was last night?” 🙂

  6. Ive heard of 3 before and I remember the first time I was pretty shocked!

  7. I’m the sweatiest! Too bad that doesn’t mean I’m working harder haha

  8. i found #2 interesting but more #3. i cant stand sweat and yet i sweat buckets at a time when working out.

  9. I always thought a sweaty workout = a good workout. This totally blows my theory out of the water!

  10. I knew #3. Yay me! I figured that out when the more hot yoga I did, the more profusely I sweated. It hought it would be the other way around, like I would get acclimated and stop sweating as much. Nope!

  11. I rarely sweat! Isn’t that the weirdest thing?!

  12. Then I must be in really good shape, because my armpits were extra sweaty-funky this morning!! <—from exercise, of course. I'm not naturally stinky. Promise.

  13. Number three was a surprise for me too! Good to know!

  14. From #3: Thus, sweat is an indicator that your body temperature is rising, not necessarily that you are exercising at an intense level.


    Omg this is what bikram yoga is founded on. It’st Just hot! That’s it. The poses are easy. And in a normal temp room, no one would crack a sweat so when people tell me they do yoga (bikram) to lose weight or increase their overall fitness..no. It’s like a detox. That’s it.

    And the comment re sugar Top 5 and adult cravings. Interesting and i totally agree w/ you moderation, on both ends, is best!

  15. the number of people who tell me that the stay away from the stair master because they think it will make their butt big! it is hard to describe to some of my clients the diff btwn fast and slow twitch fibers but this is so true, it is virtually impossible for this to happen since the major of fibers are SLOW twitch

    great info!!

  16. Great “myths.” I actually think my butt is shrinking BECAUSE of the stairmaster! I was surprised by #3 too.

  17. I’ve always hated how much I sweat when I work out…I guess that means I should consider this a good thing, huh? Haha, interesting facts, thanks for blogging about them!

  18. I used to always believe in #2. I thought that I could just go for an hour long easy jog or elliptical session and that was burning lots of fat. I’ve since learned that quicker, more intense workouts are much more effective. But they’re soooooo much harder for me!!

  19. Ut-oh, I’ve never been much of a sweater, even as a kid. I hope that says more about my personal sweating than fitness level. Otherwise I’m ridiculously out of shape!

  20. I knew #1 and 3 and remember being happy about #3 when I learned it – I am a serious sweater!

    #2 was interesting because I was wondering how the HR monitor figures that out. So, its just based on how hard you work out. I would have a hard believing that the body can selectively pick fat cells themselves to burn.

    Great post Kelly. I love science!

    • Exactly…I usually just ignore that information on the HRM…it really is just based on how high the heart rate gets. I totally agree that the body isn’t selectively picking certain fat cells to burn.

  21. Now wait just one gosh darn New York minute. Is #1 really TRUE?! The Stair Master does NOTHING to lift your booty? Nothing? Sigh. I have been so misinformed.


  22. SWEAT SWEAT…#3 didn’t surprise me cuz I’m a swimmer! 😉 hehehe! I LOVED ready the truth behind these myths! such good info…you are full of great knowledge! gahhh I NEED to come visit so we can RUN the lay on the couch and talk for hours!! I hope you are feeling a zillion times better my gorgeous run-bud!!!

  23. None of those surprised me, but I only found out about #3 recently. I had the same reaction as you because I sweat like a fat, old man at the gym. It’s naaaassstttyyy! At least that means I am fit! 😀

    I love how it discussed the lower vs higher intensity myth about calorie burn too. An instructor actually said that lower intensity burns more fat and I wanted to slap her. Or I guess nudge her in the right direction.

  24. Interesting. I actually don’t sweat that much even though I’m not new to exercise.

  25. About the #3 the amount of sweat varies on people also coz some have lower normal body temperature then others so the rising for others can result in sweat faster then to others. Also other things like the intensity of training and your body muscelmass affect sweating.
    #2 totally agree, intervalls are the best way to get ride of fat.
    #1 in some aerobic exercises you can even shape your body, like running up a really steep hill. Try if you don’t beleve me 🙂 But it’s more about burning the fat and that way looking more toned then actually adding up muscle mass.

    Love your posts, keep ’em coming!!

  26. Intrigue – I didn’t know #2, I actually always believed the higher the intensity the more fat burning was taking place!

  27. Golly, I’m definitely a product of number 3. I sweat so so much, and I hate it.

    I’ve definitely heard that more fit people sweat more easily. However, I just don’t believe it. There are several people in my group fitness classes who are much more fit than I, and I sweat so much more.

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