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Myths And Misconceptions

When it comes to weight loss and working out there’s no shortage of myths and misconceptions. As fitness professionals, myself and the trainers at Shaping Concepts deal with these issues on a daily basis.

Getting our clients to see the results they want always starts with making sure they have the right information.

While there will forever be conflicting opinions on the internet, in magazines, etc, experience from fitness professionals who see first hand what works and what doesn’t on a daily basis, can help you separate fact from fiction.

Here are eight of the most common myths we deal with and the replies from a few of the certified Charleston personal trainers at Shaping Concepts. 

Myth #1: Lower intensity, higher duration cardio equals greater calorie and fat burn.

Fact: The exact opposite is true. Most people make the mistake of simply adding more time to the end of their cardio session expecting that it will burn more calories.  In fact, decreasing the amount of time and increasing the intensity of the cardio workout will not only burn more fat during the exercise, but also for up to 48 hours after the exercise.

Long slow distance cardio (LSD) only burns calories during the exercise and has no fat burning effect once the exercise is over.
– Jason Nichols, CPT.

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Myth #2: I can drink diet sodas and still expect to lose weight.

Fact: As with most other foods labeled “diet” or “low-fat”, diet sodas contain properties that can actually hinder weight loss.  A study done by the University of Texas Health Science center actually found a 41% increased risk in obesity with daily diet soda intake.

It is thought that the artificial sweeteners in diet soda triggers the brain for sugar, but it is then not satisfied by this “fake” substance and will make you crave more sweets. Another thing that may be happening is that people are addicted to the carbonation of the soda instead of the taste itself. 

Instead of drinking any type of soda, the main focus should be on drinking as much water as possible throughout the day. If the carbonation were the driving force in craving a soda, then perhaps a good substitute would be tonic water with fresh fruit juice squeezed into it. Whatever the case, it’s a good rule of thumb to eliminate all sodas from the diet.
– Jason Nichols, CPT.

Myth #3: Doing crunches and other abdominal exercises will give me a 6 pack. 

Fact: Everyone should do a few abdominal exercises in part of their fitness routine for a strong core.  However, everyone has a 6 pack and you don’t need crunches to see it.

The six pack is actually a group of muscles called the rectus abdominus.  The layer of fat that is sitting between the muscle and the skin is what’s keeping you from seeing it.  The answer to a flat stomach and visible abs is high intensity training and a low sugar diet.  No way around it.
– Ken Thompson, CPT.

Myth #4: Being a female, I don’t want to lift heavy weights because it will make me get bigger muscles.

Fact: This is simply not true. Lifting heavier weights from time to time is simply another way of providing an overload stimulus to the muscles.

It’s a myth that you should only use light weight and more reps to tone and firm, and heavier weight with less weight to build bulky muscle. If you want to see a change in your shape you must provide your muscles with workloads they’re not used to.

Doing nothing but light weights and a lot of reps will do little to provide a body transformation because the muscles will adapt. Plus getting big, bulky muscles requires eating extra calories and spending the majority of time with heavier weights.

The secret to toning and firming is changing things up with your workouts.
– Andrew Duffy, ATC.

Myth #5: Spot reduction works for fat loss

Fact: You cannot spot reduce to remove fat from certain parts of your body. Doing triceps extensions for example will not make the fat magically disappear from the back of your arms.

The most effective way to remove unwanted body fat from any part of your body is to work the larger muscle groups with high intensity effort. A perfect example is that doing squats will help remove fat from the midsection better than crunches and abdominal exercises ever could.

Resistance training on the entire body, cardio, and a low-sugar diet is the real secret to spot reduction.
– Steve Lawson, CPT.

Myth #6: You can make up for a bad meal by doing extra cardio or starving yourself the next day.

Fact: Nobody is perfect 100% of the time…let’s start there. If you slip up and have a bad meal, put it behind you and get right back on track.

Its flawed thinking to believe you can do enough exercise to burn off all the extra calories from a bad meal. You’d have to do hours of exercise which isn’t practical or necessary as your body is unlikely to store a lot of fat from one bad meal.

Fat gain happens over a longer period of time with excess caloric intake. The extra few pounds you may see on the scale the day after a bad meal is predominately water weight retention. The right way to bounce back from an unhealthy meal is to resume eating a Primal Blueprint diet and exercising as normal. 
– Andrew Duffy, ATC.

Myth #7: You shouldn’t do cardio workouts on the same day you do resistance workouts.

Fact: This is simply not true. Cardiovascular workouts are for improving the efficiency of your heart and lungs to transport oxygen and nutrients, primarily fat, to the muscles. Resistance training is for getting the muscles more efficient at burning the fat for fuel.

The two components work synergistically together and can be completed on the same day. If you’re planning on doing high intensity cardio workouts, like interval training, look to do these after your resistance workouts or on the off days.

If you’re planning on doing low-moderate intensity “aerobic” cardio workouts, they can be done either before or after your resistance training.
– TJ Hamon, CPT.

Myth #8: Skipping meals will help me lose weight faster by eating fewer calories.

Fact: Many people who attempt “eating less to weight less” discover they’re actually starving themselves fat! How can that be?

Research has shown that people who eat all their calories in one or two meals gain more weight than those who space out their calories over several meals. Why? Because of hormonal responses in the body that make them prone to storing fat rather than burning it.

The secret to getting your body to release fat for fuel is reducing carbohydrate (sugar) intake while simultaneously increasing protein and fiber intake. This will help condition your body to use fat instead of sugar.

Following a Primal Blueprint diet and doing regular resistance and cardiovascular exercise is the recipe for lasting weight loss.
– Shane Doll, CPT.

So there you have it. Just a sample of the numerous fitness and weight loss myths and misconceptions. If you have a question you’d like answered please leave us a comment.

And when you or someone you know is ready to take the first step or your results to the next level, the Shaping Concepts fitness pros and myself are here to help.

Have a great day!

Shane Doll is a certified Charleston personal trainer, fat loss expert, speaker, and founder of Shaping Concepts Personal Training Studios. You can receive a FREE no-obligations consultation and trial of his Charleston personal training programs and experience the Shaping Concepts difference for yourself.

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