When it comes to losing weight, there are a lot of misconceptions and myths out there. Not only can believing them derail your weight loss efforts, it can also mess with your health.
In a recent post, I talked about the most common weight loss dieting myths, which is why in this course, which focuses on exercise I will debunk the most common exercise myths.
This is to make sure you don’t ever fall for false advice or false gurus again and can shed pounds safely and smartly. Keep in mind that there are many variations of the myths I’m about to debunk, but once you know the most common ones these variations will be easy to spot.
Myth #1: Fat loss spot reduction
Spot reduction refers to the attempt to remove subcutaneous body fat stores from certain areas of the body by doing exercises that hit those areas. For example, a person who has a lot of fat around or above the hips (“love handles”) could try to use specific ab exercises to burn those fat cells.
Unfortunately, “fat loss reality” is a little different. Doing those exercises may strengthen the muscles responsible for the movements, but they have little to no impact on reducing the amount of fat stored there. Fat loss will always happen over the entire body and cannot be localized. Of course, genetics and hormones will also have an impact on this.
Men tend to have more fat in the upper body, especially in the abdominal region, whereas women tend to store their fat in their hips, butt, thighs, and lower abdomen. So next time someone tries to sell you their ab workout to lose belly fat keep in mind that when the body burns fat stores, it doesn’t use the stores nearest the muscles being worked.
Instead, fat from the entire body is mobilized. Training a given muscle group may be a good exercise — just don’t expect it to spot reduce fat.
Myth #2: “You don’t need to exercise to lose weight” or “You need to exercise to lose weight”
This myth is actually two-fold. Some people will tell you that you have to exercise to lose weight while others tell you that no you don’t need any exercise and can see great results just as easily. Both are wrong but in different ways.
Let’s start with the myth that you need to exercise to lose weight.
Proponents of this myth will tell you that your workout plan is a lot more important than your diet and that you should pretty much only focus on your workout when wanting to see results. This is false. You can definitely lose weight by just dieting and I will explain in my other posts.
But this fact makes some people believe the opposite, which is that you don’t need to exercise at all to lose weight, which is also somewhat false.
Because most people don’t just want to lose weight but they want to lose fat and not muscle or water weight. And this is where exercise comes into play. When you are in a calorie deficit, which you will need to lose weight, your body will want to get rid of all extra and unnecessary weight to save energy.
This weight will also be muscle mass. To only burn fat and not muscle you have to signal your body that your muscles are essential for its survival. This can only be done through exercises where you train your muscles. So the bottom line is that neither case – only exercise, or only dieting – is optimal.
To see the best possible results you want to follow a good diet and a good workout regimen. I will show you how to do this in later lessons, so don’t worry.
Myth #3: If you’re trying to lose weight do more and more cardio
First of all, cardio can be a good tool to help you lose weight lose weight, but that doesn’t mean you should do more and more of it to see further fat loss. In fact, doing too much cardio can wear you out quickly and lead to higher stress and cortisol levels.
If you also do strength training, too much cardio can also hurt your muscle building efforts. What this means is that of course cardio is not something evil you should avoid, but there is too much of a good thing. I will tell what the optimal amount of cardio and exercise is for weight loss.
Myth #4: No pain, no gain
This myth is similar to the last one in that is says the harder and longer your workouts the more effective they are. First things first. To reach the optimal heart rate for weight loss you will have to train intensively and sometimes reach your limits. BUT, the right workout plan will keep these high intensity intervals short and you will get time to rest afterwards.
Being in pain is not a good indicator of a sound exercise program. Killing yourself in the gym or when running on the track in every workout is a recipe for disaster. Exercise must be sustainable in order to be successful, and pain will surely bring your exercise plan to an end due to injury or burnout. Instead, you want to design your workout to also include phases for recovery and rest. This is what I will do with you in this program.
Myth #5: Exercise will turn fat into muscle
I wish this were true but you simply cannot transform fat into muscle. Muscle mass and fat are two different types of tissues: Muscle tissue is connected to the bones and enables our body to move, jump of lift objects. It is active tissue that burns calories at all times, even as you sleep.
Fat, on the other hand, is just a storage of excess energy. It also burns some energy, but so little that it’s barely noticeable. Fortunately, this also means it’s a myth that your muscles will turn into fat when you stop working out.
So the bottom line is muscle cannot turn into fat. Fat cannot turn into muscle.
They are two completely different substances but both muscle and fat can be lost or gained. if you follow the advice on my blog and in my courses, you will be able to lose fat and replace some of it with muscle. This will make it seems like you have turned fat into muscle and everyone will think you’re a fitness genius.
Myth #6: If women lift weights, they’ll become bulky
This last myth has less to do with weight loss and more with general exercise, but I wanted to talk about it anyways because part of this course will also focus on lifting weights correctly when wanting to lose fat.
Many women are afraid of lifting heavy weight because they belive that they will build muscles like crazy and this will make them look bodybuilders. This couldn’t be further from the truth and here’s why.
The average women has a lot lower testosterone levels than the average man so their ability to build muscle will always be lower. Not only that but building muscle takes time and you will not grow huge over night.
I wish this were true because then a lot of men would be able to look like Arnold Schwarzenegger in no time. The female bodybuilders you see on tv are pretty much all taking growth enhancing hormones which their bodies do not produce naturally. So the average woman should not be afraid to weight train. It’s vital to build decrease body fat, increase lean muscle mass and efficiently burn calories around the clock.