There is so much information about what works in fitness and what doesn’t. These days it’s as if one technique that has been touted to be the holy grail of fitness is pseudo-science within a week. What’s a Fit Gal to do? Time to chat about Fitness Lies you need to STOP believing!
When I first started my own personal weight loss journey many years ago, I tried everything. I did workout dvds–sort of…I really couldn’t keep up in the beginning so I often gave up.
I tried diet “tricks” and gimmicks. I took appetite suppressants like candy. I worked a a centre called Herbal Magic where we not only sold diet pills and drinks, we actually advised clients NOT to exercise #inserteyerollhere while on our program as it was “too much change for your body”. #headsmack
I signed up for various diet shake sell-from-home companies like Body by Vi, and later sold “magic wraps” from It Works that “wrapped the fat away”.
And those are just a few examples of my desperation to find the holy grail of weight loss. I did everything but the actual work that it takes to really make a difference in my health–clean eating and regular exercise.
So when I say I’m right there with you when it comes to being confused about what works and what doesn’t…before I became certified as a Fitness Nutritionist, I really was a confused bunny!
Today I want to break down the most popular myths out there and answer the Top questions I get about fitness and weight loss.
Let’s dive in!
Fitness Myth #1
Muscle weighs more than fat.
Let’s look at this logically — a pound of feathers weighs the exact same as a pound of bricks, right? I mean, a pound is a pound is a pound. What’s really being explained when we hear this myth is that muscle is more dense therefore, it takes up less space.
Fat is fluffy.
Fat is voluminous.
Think of cotton candy, or a big bowl of mac and cheese — light, fluffy and takes up lots of space, right?
Here’s the science —> muscle is more compact, it’s condensed and more solid. Muscle takes up less space than fat, therefore even though you can weight 180 lbs, if you have more fat than muscle on your body, you clothing size can vary greatly, from say, an 18…or an 8!
Fitness Myth #2
You will burn more calories while working out, than after your workout is over.
Well, sort of 😉
Some workouts you will burn more calories while you’re doing that workout. Here we are talking about LISS or “low intensity steady-state” cardio. This is when you are on the elliptical or stair climber for 60 minutes while scrolling your Facebook (but you don’t do that….riiiiiight?). 😉
There is no hills or sprints, you are keeping a steady pace, and although you are moving (which is always better than sitting!), your calorie burn is only active while you are doing the workout.
Other workouts you will actually have an after-burn effect. Now we’re talking weight or strength training or HIIT (high intensity interval training). These latter kinds of workouts will give you a post calorie burn, which means your body continues to burn calories even though the actual workout itself is over.
Here’s the science —> when you lift weights or do HIIT, your body burns calories anywhere from 24-48 hours after your workout is over–even while you are sleeping! That’s why when you are trying to lose fat, weight or strength training mixed with some HIIT workouts is the answer.
Neat side note—>HIIT training actually burns up to 9 times MORE fat than other workouts. But (you knew there was a but coming, right) the caveat is…HIIT can be hard on the joints and if you are like me and have a bad lower back and almost no cartilage left in your patella, it’s vital to select low impact options. These can be mountain climbers, punches in low squat, jump-free burpees, reverse lunges with knee tucks, push ups, standing crunches…the list goes on and on.
Fitness Myth #3
Can I tone/reduce/get rid of _____________________ (insert body part you hate the most here).
Answer—>no. You cannot spot reduce just one body area, like your batwing arms, your muffin top or thunder thighs.
Crunches won’t shrink your belly–they’ll just give you great abs…underneath a layer of fat.
Fat removal only comes from lipo…and while I personally never have done any plastic surgery myself, I don’t recommend it as a means to an end, at least not before doing the work that is involved in a healthy lifestyle aka clean eating and regular exercise.
Here’s the science —> the only way to get rid of a trouble spot is overall fat reduction and you guessed it…that comes from a diet change of one that is processed and filled with sugar to one that is clean and loaded with veggies, protein and healthy fats. Also, overall fat reduction comes from working out…intensely.
Now, intensely doesn’t mean hard or body damaging! It just means your heart rate is elevated, you are breathing heavy and sweating profusely. Push your limits for faster results (just remember to keep it safe!).
Fitness Myth #4
But if I lift weights, I’ll get bulky like a dude!
Women especially believe this myth. And girl, I gotta be honest with ya…ya gotta get out of the stone age with that way of thinking. Can a women get bulky and manly looking like the gal in this photo–sure! But that’s not the common result from lifting weights.
Women who achieve those results are working out for hours in the gym to look like that. Some are taking steroids too. And lastly, most often that is their job to look like that, either they are a Figure Bodybuilding Athlete, or a Fitness model.
The average gal like you and me does not come away from a few strength training sessions a week with those results!!!!!!!!
Let me tell you a story from a few years back when I was over 210 lbs, depressed and on every diet pill and program known to man (almost lol).
I had selected the at-home dvd workout called 30 Day Shred from Jillian Michaels. There is a lot and I mean a lot of jumping in this workout and at the time I could do those kinds of workouts. Mind you, I didn’t really jump that high or last the whole HIIT because of my obesity…but I did my best and after 3 months I found myself looking at a 32 lb weight loss!!
But my body was far from looking good. I was still soft and jiggly and round…even though I had lost a good amount of weight.
It wasn’t until I started lifting that my physique improved. Would it surprise you to know that I’ve been able to go from 30% body fat to 27% body fat in the last 3 months? I’ve been able to break a weight loss plateau that has plagued me for years…yes, years! And the amount of cardio I’ve done is about 1-2 sessions a week, that’s it. I’m lifting weights 4-5 times a week now and have seen fast and lasting results.
Here’s the science —> Muscle is the fountain of youth–it allows our bodies to stimulate human growth hormone. Human Growth Hormone is produced in the pituitary gland and helps regulate our body composition and muscle growth. HGH helps increase muscle strength, aids in better healing, enhances weight loss (see my before/after pic) and stronger bones.
HGH is so powerful that it’s what Lance Armstrong regularly injected to improve his performance on the bike. Now I do NOT recommend that you do that (yes, HGH injections are a common thing these days #anotherheadsmack). Make your own! Lift more (heavy) weights!
Women can’t bulk up because they don’t have the same levels of muscle building hormone called testosterone that men do.
We all have it–some ladies more than others!
The other cool thing about muscle growth is that it’s gradual. It doesn’t happen overnight. You can’t do a week of strength training and poof, be cut. Also, you can lift heavy for a while and plateau. Then it’s time to switch up your workout routine for awhile (either lift heavier with shorter reps and set or lighter with longer reps and/or sets).
Fitness Myth #5
The best time of the day to workout is in the morning.
The best time of day to exercise is the time of day when you will schedule it and acutally do it!
There is lots of conversation out there about the benefits of working out first thing in the morning for greater fat loss. From an exercise standpoint it’s not necessarily more beneficial (espesh if you are not a morning person), but from a habit forming and commitment standpoint, early morning workouts are the way to go.
Try getting up 30-40 minutes earlier than you normally do for 1-2 months. See how you feel. Get a diary, notebook or activity tracker and note your sleep and hunger patterns. Track your fat loss (measurements are key!).
If this doesn’t work for you, try the same technique in the afternoon (I prefer working out around 4 pm) in the afternoon or early evening–but stay aware of the research.
Here’s the science —> we are most energetic between noon and 6pm so it stands to reason that this is the best workout window.
Also, there is proof out there that working out late in the evening is bad for our procrastination and could cause sleep disturbances. I know myself if I schedule an 8 pm workout…it almost never gets done. That is the start of my down-time, when I physically prepare my body for bed.
The key is to try different times of the day, at different times of the year. Remember, the right time is the time when you actually do workout!
I hope this helps dispel some myths out there in regards to fitness. When in doubt, Google it out, or feel free to ask me by leaving a comment below. If it is something I don’t know off-hand, I’ll let you know, but I’ll also follow up with an answer.
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