Fat Loss Myths Exposed
This is the first in a short series of articles where I decipher fitness facts from fitness fallacies. There are so many magazines, articles and exercise gadgets all claiming to give you the secrets of quicker and better results. So that you can decide what’s worth listening to when it comes to getting the body you want, have a read of these next few blogs.
|1. A Calorie is a calorie|
|When trying to lose weight, the number one factor to consider is calories in versus calories out. If you consume more calories than you burn, you’re not going to lose weight - simple as that! Many people assume that by simply eating less calories, they will lose weight. A typical day’s diet for someone looking for fat loss may be a cereal bar for breakfast, a readymade sandwich from the bars and a bag or “light crisps” for lunch, and a low fat ready meal for tea. Add in a couple of chocolate bars for snacks, and this may only come to 1,000 calories in total – Great, that must be good for weight loss!?
Unfortunately, this isn’t really the case. A diet like this is severely lacking in protein, essential fats, and vitamins and minerals, whilst being high in salt, sugar, refined carbohydrates and additives. When looking for a diet to shed the fat, the first thing you want to look at is the quality of your food. Are you getting enough protein from meats, fish, and dairy? Is your essential fat intake high enough? And are all your carbohydrates coming from unrefined sources?
So back to our first diet - yes, there is a calorie deficit there, and most likely this diet will give some good weight loss results for a couple of weeks. However, this will soon plateau, and anyone following a diet similar to this is likely to feel lethargic, weak, and constantly hungry!
So remember, a calorie is not always a calorie.
|2. High Reps Will "Tone" Muscles|
|This myth is thrown about in pretty much every gym in the country every day, and unfortunately most people still believe that when lifting weights with the aim of losing weight, it is better to stick to sets of 15 reps or more. Not true.
The word "tone" actually means the state of tension in a muscle at rest. When people say that they want to be more toned, they are usually looking to reduce bodyfat so that their muscles appear more defined.
The first thing to address for this goal is your diet - to lose bodyfat, you need to burn more calories than you consume. This then means that your body has to turn to its fat stores to use as energy, thus burning bodyfat.
The next issue is weight training. If someone wants to train to purely get stronger, they will lift heavy weights for between 1 and 5 repetitions per set. For muscle growth to occur, a person should lift moderate weights for 6-12 repetitions per set. And finally, to increase muscular endurance, a person should lift lighter weights for 12 or more repetitions per set.
You may notice that there is no set rep range for losing fat. That is because the amount of times you lift a weight, and how heavy that weight is, has nothing to do with how much fat you have on a particular muscle. Losing bodyfat is all about diet.
I actually recommend training in the "strength training range" when attempting to lose weight. This may well be a surprise to many people who are used to doing hundreds of repetitions of a given exercise. Here are my reasons for that:
|- Strength training helps improve posture and core strength
- It also aids in injury prevention
- Unlike training in the 6-12 rep range, strength training is unlikely to put on much (if any) muscle bulk.
- Strength training stresses the nervous system more than endurance training, and raises the metabolism higher, meaning that you keep on burning calories for longer after you’ve finished your session.
That’s my 2 myths exposed for this week. Hopefully it’s gone some way to giving you a better understanding of the most productive way to train towards your goals. Part 2 will be coming soon.