I’m pretty sure all of us have come across a bunch of myths regarding fat loss. Let’s have a look at some of them.
1. Fat can be spot reduced.
Ummm… no it cant. Your body loses fat in sheets and no particular exercise or movement will result in fat loss in a specific part. You, the guy who does 50 situps every morning, increase your situps from 50 to 500… and you will still have the same flabby ‘lower abs’ but you’ll get some sweet lower back pain!
2. Eating fat will make you fat… stick to the low fat versions of everything.
Eating fat wont make you fat… overeating will make you fat. Good fats are extremely important to the body. Every type of natural fat has a function in the body and hence an equal amount of saturated fat, mono unsaturated fat and poly unsaturated fat are required for the body’s functioning. The only fat that you need to totally stay away from is trans fat. Here is some basic information on trans fat.
3. Too much protein is dangerous.
Considering the amount of protein the normal person gets on a daily basis (which is ~ 40-50 gm) the upper limit for protein is pretty darn high. Get your protein… and drink a tonne of water which will help you in more than one way.
4. When it comes to cardio, more is better.
More is not better… better is better. Cardio is important… but not overdoing cardio is more important. Too much cardio is catabolic (will break down muscle tissue) and will result in making you ‘skinny-fat’.
Like I always say, do a couple of short (10-15 min) high intensity conditioning sessions (sprints, intervals, dumbbell complexes etc.), 1 medium duration (30-45 min) medium intensity session (sports, 3-5 mile run, biking, swimming etc.) and may be 1 long duration (60+ min) low intensity session (hike, walk, slow bike ride, yoga etc.) per week.
As a general training rule ‘As the duration increases intensity should decrease and vice-versa’. [Note that this might be different if you're training for a specific event or aspiring to join the military].
5. Strength training is not important to lose fat.
Strength training has to be an integral part of any training regimen. Strength training, in addition to all the great benefits, aids immensely in fat loss by adding more muscle (lean mass) to the body.
The body utilizes a lot more calories to maintain a pound of muscle than to maintain a pound of fat. So, if you remove the activity related calories from the equation, a 150 lbs person @ 10% body fat burns more calories everyday than a 150 lbs person @ 20% body fat.
6. Women should not lift weight.
The opposite is true. As a matter of fact, it is more important for women to lift weights than men due to their increased risk of osteoporosis. Strength training increases bone density and reduces the risk of osteoporosis. Click here for publication.
Oh… and this applies to the older girls too. Click here for publication.
(This website has some awesome information on osteoporosis with animation n stuff.)
7. High repetitions help in ‘toning’.
To any decent fitness trainer the phrases ‘i want to tone up’ and ‘i know squadoosh’ means the same. If you lose enough fat your muscles will be more defined and visible. Lift heavy to get strong. Eat less and do smart cardio to lose fat. Period. Again, spot reduction of fat doesn’t exist. So please don’t waste your time doing 20-30 repetitions of an exercise hoping to see more muscle definition in that area.
8. Including acai berry supplements will get you ripped.
Or you can ask Santa for your 6-pack abs.
9. ‘Fit In Five Days’ or ’6 min to Sexy Abs’ or ‘Lose 15 lbs in 15 days’ or any crazy crap like that.
Think about it… body re-composition is a process in which your body loses water, cells shrink, muscles grow, muscle fibers get dense, your basal metabolic rate increases etc etc etc. Such a beautiful, stressful and complicated process in a few days? Are you flippin kidding me?
A healthy fat loss program helps you lose 1-1.5 lbs of fat per week. The keyword here being ‘healthy’ by the way. You can’t expect to lose in a few days the fat you gained due to several months or years of shitty eating and sedentary lifestyle. Get real and deal with it.
10. Starvation diet + excessive running (cardio) = Fat loss.
A starvation diet clubbed with excessive cardio will result in ‘weight’ loss. Fat loss is losing body fat while preserving muscle. Weight loss is losing body fat in addition to muscle. In most cases, more muscle is lost than fat. Losing muscle is the same as throwing out gold and if you’re proud of your weight loss I suggest you see a fitness trainer who knows his junk or a psychologist.
Any more such myths you’ve come across? Not sure if it’s a myth? Write them in the comments section. We’ll debunk them in the next post. Until then…
‘If it seems like it’s too good to be true… it probably isn’t true!’