Myths on Weight Loss

There is a lot of information floating around out there. Some of it is great. Some of it used to be the best we knew but has been replaced with more current info. Some of it is bunk perpetuated by people making money off of it. I want to share a few common myths regarding weight loss today and hopefully help anyone who is looking to lose weight do so more effectively. If there are any of these tips that you’d like a more in-depth post on, let me know.

Slow Cardio Burns More Fat

OK, this isn’t exactly false. More of the calories that you use will be fat calories. But overall, you’ll burn fewer calories. Shorter duration, higher intensity exercise is a much more time-efficient way to get you to your goals. Ultimately, fat is a means for your body to store extra energy, but it is not efficient for the body to access it to accommodate exercise. Use the high-efficiency energy for exercising and let your body tap into the fat later to replenish.

Long Cardio Sessions Are Better Than Short Ones

This goes hand-in-hand with the above. Short, intense sessions are best for fat loss. Interval training — where you alternate between working at a high intensity for a short time and actively recovering — is very effective. (“Active recovery” means you’re still exercising, but at a very slow pace to allow your heart rate to come back down. It is dangerous to exercise at high intensity and then stop moving.)

I Don’t Have Time

It may be true that you don’t have time to get changed, drive to the gym, work out for 45 minutes or an hour, take a shower, get dressed and drive home. But activity can be worked into most daily schedules. You don’t need to be a gym rat to build in activity. Using stairs instead of elevators, doing quick sets of bodyweight exercises at your desk throughout the day, doing quick sets of bodyweight exercises while you’re cooking dinner, walking or biking instead of driving to do local errands are all possibilities that will work for some people as means of getting in some movement.

I Can’t Exercise Because My Back/Knees Hurt

In most cases, knee and/or lower back pain are a result of posture, habits, and deconditioning. The good news is that all three of those things are very fix-able. Get checked out by a physician and/or physical therapist, and then look for a physical therapist or trainer who can work with what you’ve got to help alleviate the problems.

Crunches Are The Best Way To Get Great Abs

If you want to use just one ab exercise, choose a plank. There are tons of variations you can incorporate once you are decent at it. They’re easy to progress (make harder) or regress (make easier). Crunches are very specific to one part of your core, and they’re typically done in a curled-up position — the same position that we overuse as a result of sitting and standing hunched over all day.

I Should Do Exercises In The Area Where I Want To Lose Fat

Sorry. Spot-reducing doesn’t work. We are genetically programmed as to where we gain and lose fat, in what proportion, and in what order. For example, I know that starting at a healthy body weight, I will add fat to my butt and upper thighs first, followed very closely by my upper arms. Those three areas will continue to grow as I add fat to my lower belly/hips, then my upper belly joins in. Somewhere in there, my face, feet/ankles, chest, and lower legs are also affected, but I’m not exactly sure where. I know at least one person who is losing weight who lost a cup size, a shoe size and has no butt left but still has belly. My body just wouldn’t shrink like that. Whole-body, interval workouts are the best way to go.

Carbs Are Bad

Carbs aren’t bad. Your body requires them to function properly. But not all carbs are created equal. Fruits and many veggies have a high carb content but are definitely healthy food. Cake, ice cream and cookies also have a high carb content and are definitely not healthy food. In general, anything made with white flour or sugar is a carb that is good to cut out. Take caution in reading labels: anything with real fruit in it is going to look sugary because there is no distinction made between natural sugars and added sugar. Read the ingredients to find out where your sugar is coming from.

Have you fallen for any of these myths? Are there any others that you were sticking to that have since changed?

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