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I've spent years handpicking a posse of Spinning instructors, yoga teachers, and cross-trainers I can trust. They're smart; they're certified. They know the ins and outs of asanas, ab crunches, and aerobic conditioning. But how much stock should I put in the health information and advice some of them dole out during sessions? You know, like what I should be eating or how certain exercises might benefit my brain.
Organizations that train and certify trainers warn their members not to cross the line that separates fitness tips from health advice. "The line is thin, but trainers still have to respect it," says Grace DeSimone, editor of the American College of Sports Medicine's Resources for the Group Exercise Instructor. "For example, it's OK to talk about the basics of good nutrition. But it is absolutely not OK to tell someone to avoid a specific food group, like dairy, unless the trainer also happens to be a registered dietitian." Likewise, if something hurts while you're exercising, an instructor may be trained to provide basic modifications. But if you're still in pain, she should refer you to a doctor.
As for all of those health claims, are you wondering if what you've been told is fit to be trusted? Here's the skinny on some of the top myths muscling their way around gyms right now.