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What Am I Doing Wrong? 4 Fitness Myths Debunked!

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Posted by Michael Volkin of Ultimate Basic Training under Fitness & Training on 14 October 2013 at 11:00 PM

Michael VolkinThese days, everyone’s an expert and some advice you hear from these experts may not always be the truth. What I have learned is that most experts simply regurgitate information they read from others without doing their own research.  

Recently, I have been reading popular blogs from “experts” in awe of their health and fitness advice.  These experts have tens of thousands of online followers hanging on their every word.  

The purpose of this article is to debunk the weight loss and fitness “facts” you may have heard from these experts and give you the truth behind their false statements.

MYTH: I do lots of ab exercises, so my waist will get skinnier right?

REALITY: Stomach exercises will strengthen your abdominal muscles, but it won't target body fat loss to give you 6-pack abs.  If you want your abdominals to show, you need to stick to a diet low in carbohydrates and high in proteins with a daily helping of healthy fats and fruits and vegetables.  

Can't train away bad nutrition

MYTH: I want to lose weight so I’ll do more cardio than weight lifting right?

REALITY: You will definitely burn calories completing a cardio workout, but to lose weight your primary concern should be muscle gain.  Muscles make it easier for your body to prevent fat gain.  Your body will burn more calories maintaining muscle than maintaining fat. In other words, the more muscle you build, the more calories your body will burn each day.  The less muscle you have the lower your metabolism.  A great weight loss program should focus on (in this order) your caloric intake, weight training and then cardio. 

MYTH: I drink diet soda, the label states zero calories so it has to be good for me right? 

REALITY: According to scientific research, drinking just two or more cans a day accelerated waistline expansion by 500% (waistline expansion is a fancy term for getting fatter). The artificial sweeteners prohibit your body’s ability to regulate calorie intake. In simple terms, your body is being tricked into thinking it’s ingesting sugar, so you crave more food.  As a result, you eat more food than you would have without drinking the soda. 

4 weeks without soda Challenge

MYTH: By working out, I can convert fat into muscle.

REALITY: You cannot magically convert fat into muscle as they have completely different chemical compositions.  In fact, when working out it’s best to focus on either losing fat or gaining muscle.   In order to gain muscle, you have to eat more calories than you burn and, in order to lose body fat, you must burn more calories than you consume. 

So there you have it, 4 fitness myths debunked! With these in mind, you should find your weight loss goals easier to reach and the process of improving your fitness will be fun not frustrating.

This article was authored by Sergeant Michael Volkin, inventor of Strength Stack 52 bodyweight fitness cards, check out his Kickstarter launch. Hurry - there's only a couple of days left to back this awesome project!

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    Comments

    20130507190604-jedders

    I think that is really good read, text book really! a very clever solution to the weight loss in the second point, I really like it. Tony your body has to use energy to build muscles, so the energy in must be greater than the energy output to gain in muscle mass. vice versa with fat loss. first law of thermodynamics again.

    Eoin O and Jane H encouraged this.

    20120628093801-eoin

    Agree with most of that. Except for "stick to a diet low in carbohydrates and high in proteins". I eat Low Carb, High Fat and have dropped almost all stomach fat/flab, am down to single digit BF% but am the same weight (less fat more muscle).

    20131122040327-janeh

    Best wishes for your fitness cards, looks like the Kickstarter launch went exceedingly well :)

    Male

    The last comment on Myth 4 isnt truly correct, you cant lose weight just by eating less calories its more to do with hormones etc as this is the only factual based research protocol for weight loss and maintenance.

    Rebecca E and Eoin O encouraged this.

    20141104234412-bzdelavega

    Thank you so much for writing this piece, just yesterday i got really mad with a friend that when reading "an article" swore by it and started to follow the advice when is was false facts on that blog. on the last myth one cannot always generalize this because it has to do with personal body chemistry, physiology etc. and also, very slowly, but it is posible to do both, loose fat and gain muscle mass.

    20130914182623-jok5

    Do you suggest just water instead of diet drinks? I drink 1-2 pints of diet drinks per day but struggle to drink just water unless I'm training.

    20130914091133-benw7

    Great and timely piece of reminder, especially on the 6-pack abs. Many of time, we do know the correct facts but we just got confused when information overloaded.

    20130820101827-muffinman

    Love nothing more than debunking myths. Solely for the reason that I hate ignorance. Not a professional, but I keep myself up to date by reading and be critic to what I read. All the old-timers coming with dos and don'ts of the 80's, and PTs who listened to them can make me furious. Great article, fat loss has never been a concern for me. But this is great advice to pass on to those who needs it.

    20130915122140-alyson

    I'm always interested in myth debunking, but, for what reason should we believe this expert over the others, to play devil's advocate? To really debunk myths I think links to sources and evidence would back up the claims, to be honest! Sorry to sound critical.

    Ramon F encouraged this.

    20131003071630-victorb2

    Great Article. However, I dont totally agree with the low carb thing. We can agree that carbs are the body's primary source of fuel yes? Then in order to have the energy to build muscle one should consume an adequate amount carbs. In fact, Carbohydrate intake should be typically between 45 and 65% of total caloric intake. So knowing what carbs to eat is the determining factor. Learning about the GI (Glycemic Index) will help you select better carbs to support your activity level. To alter body composition and lose fat its important to know that fat does not burn on its own. Without an adequate amout of carbs in your system the body will not burn fat. Once the carbs run out the body will use protein as a fuel source (gluconeogenisis). Eat your Carbs! avoid high sugar carbs but eat pleanty complex carbohydrates (starches) to support activity and loads of dietary fiber (fruit and veg) to and bulk to your diet and promote satiey. just saying, I have studied nutrition and seen the result in my own body. Ive lost close to 30 pounds. I do cardio and circuit train with weights at least 3 times a week.

    Laura D and Ramon F encouraged this.

    20130429181425-elroid

    Myth 2 and Myth 4 seem to contradict each other. You say (in #2) that a weight loss programme "should focus on (in this order) your caloric intake, weight training and then cardio" but that you need to (in #4) either gain muscle or lose fat, because they represent different balances on calories consumed vs calories burned. I suppose my question is, when you say "focus on caloric intake" do you mean "focus on" plenty of protein (to gain muscle) or "focus on" reducing overall caloric intake (to lose fat)? Or should you go in phases of doing one or the other?

    20120628093801-eoin

    Hi @victor. Carbs *can be* a primary fuel source, BUT so can fat. If you choose to use a fuel source that your body can only hold a limited amount of and burns fast (carbs), that's your choice. Personally, I choose a more natural fuel source that the body has a lot of and burns slower (fat).

    David H encouraged this.

    20131126112258-adrian

    @elroid - beginners can ideed put on muscle and burn fat at the same time, it's just harder as you reach more advanced stages of training - which is what the writer was probably referring to in point 4. Also, if you have excessive fat stores you will always have an energy surplus (even in a calorie deficit) so you should have enough energy to build muscle.

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