by Genevieve Nutting
You’ve heard it before on infomercials and weight loss programs, “Do this simple move three times a week and watch that belly fat melt off!” If only it were that easy. One of the biggest fitness myths is the idea that you can target fat loss with one simple machine or pill to get in the best shape of your life. Not only can you not pick where you lose fat (darn!), but your body will start to acclimate when performing the same workout, resulting in that unbearable plateau. Then what other fitness myths are out there in the health industry and what can you do to get in the best shape of your life?
Myth #1: Sweat more, burn more.
Not necessarily. If this was true, we could all sit in a sauna for an hour and burn more calories than we would doing resistance training or going for a run. Many factors go into why we sweat including the temperature of our surrounding (or internal) environment, hydration, anxiety levels, and other health conditions.
Tip: Looking to burn more calories? Increase your heart rate by adding interval training or plyometric moves to your routine. Also incorporate more resistance training as muscle burns more calories than fat.
Myth #2: Lifting heavy will make me bulk.
Are you eating five dozen eggs and ingesting testosterone? As mentioned earlier, muscle burns more calories than fat so while you’re lifting, you’re burning more calories in addition to increasing strength. As a result your muscles will become more defined and overall your body fat will lean out when combined with a healthy diet.
Tip: Add some diversity to your workouts by incorporating resistance training and cardio. This way you’re losing fat and gaining muscular strength to protect your bones and joints so you are able to keep active and limber for years to come.
Myth #3: The elliptical burns more than lifting weights.
Ever heard the phrase “skinny fat?” Skinny fat is someone who is thin but looks soft with no muscular definition to give them that beautiful shape and support for their body. Increasing your heart rate and improving your cardiovascular endurance is an essential part of fitness, but muscular strength is equally important to protect your bones and joints.
Tip: Add resistance to your cardio session by increasing the incline, resistance level, and incorporating intervals. Your body will have to adjust to the changes forcing your body to burn more calories with each challenge.
Myth #4: Exercise on an empty stomach.
Just as a car needs some sort of fuel or energy to run, so does your body. When you have no energy from a food source, not only will your ability to work harder for longer decrease, but your body begins to break down lean muscle mass as a result of low glucose levels.
Tip: Eat something light with a combination of proteins, carbohydrates, and healthy fats to give you energy such as a piece of fruit with almonds or a plain yogurt (watch the sugar) with chia seeds and berries.