Fitness Myths Debunked - Common Diet and Exercise
Myths and Truths
days, trainers and coaches are becoming more educated on effective
methods for weight loss and management. Because of research and
practical application, we have a better understanding of how the
body responds to different types of exercise and why one modality
may be superior over the other. The fitness industry has come a
long way, but it's not finished evolving just yet. Unfortunately,
there are still lots of misconceptions floating from person to person
that keep individuals from reaching their health and fitness goals.
Trainers and coaches on a daily basis have to dispel these myths
so that individuals can have the right information in order to accomplish
their goals. Below are some misconceptions that I commonly hear
from my clients, and even some trainers!
- It takes at least 20 minutes of low-intensity cardio to
begin burning fat. So not true. Your body uses carbohydrates,
fats, and proteins for energy to do its job in the resting state
as well as during movement. Carbohydrates, because of its ability
to be broken down quickly, are the primary energy source. Your
body uses all three sources simultaneously to produce energy.
However, during low-intensity exercise, the percentage of fats
the body uses increases. Normally it's a 50/50 split between carbohydrates
and fats. But, you begin using fat at the beginning of the workout.
- You do resistance training to build muscle and cardio to
burn fat. This is true, for the most part. Contrary to popular
belief, resistance training actually helps the body to burn quite
a bit of fat by stimulating muscle growth, which influences resting
metabolism, and boosting post-exercise metabolism. It helps you
to burn more calories hours after the workout. Muscle is the only
organ in the body that can burn fat; one pound burns at least
50 calories per day. Low-intensity cardio burns calories only
during the workout, with your metabolism returning to normal levels
within minutes after the workout. Both resistance training and
higher-intensity cardio are essential if you want to lose weight.
- Cardio is the quickest way to burn fat. Not exactly.
Remember that you only burn calories during a low-intensity workout.
It takes burning 3,500 kilocalories to lose one pound of fat.
You have to accumulate enough calories during your cardiovascular
workouts each week to create enough of a caloric deficit, provided
that you're nutrition program isn't flawed. This is possible,
but it takes longer to do. When time is a factor and you're not
seeing the results that you want, then you are more likely to
quit exercising. Moreover, low-intensity cardio decreases muscle
mass, which affects your resting metabolism. A 30-minute intense
weight-based interval training workout would work better and help
you to drop those unwanted pounds quicker.
diets are the best for weight loss. Mounting research shows
that low fat and fat-free diets may actually make you fatter quicker.
This is because these foods are packed with added sugars to provide
taste. These sugars over-stimulate insulin which takes these sugars
to be stored mainly in fat deposits in the abdomen. It's better
to consume a low-glycemic index based diet that contains plenty
of healthy fats and lean proteins, such as the Mediterranean diet.
- Steam rooms and saunas help you to lose fat. In order
to lose fat, you must move. There's no way around that. Sitting
in a heated room does nothing but dehydrate you, and relax your
muscles. You lose weight but it is water weight, and it's easily
- I'm super skinny, so I'm healthy. If you are very skinny,
then you may have very little muscle mass. You're actually skinny
fat, and that is not healthy. That means that you carry more fat
than muscle and most of your fat deposits probably are in your
abdomen. That puts you at increased risk for cardiovascular diseases,
cholesterol problems, and some cancers. It's okay to be skinny,
but make sure you have more lean tissue than fat.
- Light weight and lots of reps are the best way to shape
your body and not get bulky. Actually, heavy weight and fewer
reps are. Light weight does not stimulate the muscles enough to
grow and become more compact. It also doesn't do much as far as
boosting post-exercise metabolism. Feeling the burn isn't essential
if you want to reshape your body. And even though women don't
have to worry about this, heavy resistance training is a great
way to reshape your body without the bulk, provided that you have
a great nutrition and cardio program. You're wasting your time
and you'll never see the results that you desire. If you want
that beach body, pack on the weight!
- Low-intensity cardio in the fat-burning zone will ensure
that I burn a lot of fat. In 1994 researchers tested subjects
performing two 30-minute bouts of exercise: a low-intensity session
and a high-intensity session. The low-intensity group burned 240
total calories, with 96 calories coming from fat. The high-intensity
group burned 450 total calories, with 108 calories coming from
fat. Even though a higher percentage of fat was burned during
the low-intensity session (41%), fewer fat calories were actually
- The scale is your best guide. NOT! Muscle causes you
to weigh more which is okay if you have lots of muscle but little
body fat. Sometimes weight loss doesn't show on the scale immediately.
Pay attention to how your clothes feel on you, your waist ratio,
or if you feel "tighter". You will gain muscle weight
quicker than you'll lose fat, so be patient and weigh yourself
once a month. Don't put so much emphasis on numbers in the beginning.
Hopefully debunking these myths will help clarify things and help
you to reach your weight loss goals. Weight management is a demanding
and sometimes frustrating process. However, with the right information,
it becomes easier to achieve what it is that you want to achieve.
Knowledge and successful application of that knowledge is empowerment.
So, educate yourself and take one step closer to the new you!