Myth Buster

This summer fit is all about burning some fat and busting some myths.

MYTH #1

It is about this time of year where we all get a little psycho about our desired beach bods. We ditch our oh-so-beloved Diet Coke and cut out *most* junk food. Our work ethic in the gym heightens and we are focused on the prize: that itsy bitsy bikini.

We have all been in that desperate phase of needing to lose weight and needing to lose it fast. Oftentimes we become so enthralled with dropping the lbs. and looking better that we become essentially ignorant. We get sucked in by advertisements and headlines that read “LOSE 30 POUNDS IN 30 DAYS!” These fad diets are phony and by the time you ditch the illogical regimen your health may be in question.

Countless diets endorse a caloric deficit. In our minds it all makes sense; you must reduce how much you eat to lose weight when in all actuality you must eat healthy AND exercise regularly to see the best results. Starvation mode actually has the reverse effect of losing weight.

 Myth: “Eat Less, Weigh Less.” Eating less reduces your daily calorie intake, which leads to dropping weight fast.

Fact: Starving yourself actually kicks your body into the “Oh sh*t, something is wrong” survival phase, meaning your body begins storing fat and also slows down your metabolism rate.

Research done by the Mayo Clinic highlights the importance of taking in an appropriate amount of calories in each meal throughout the day. “Calories are the energy in food. Your body has a constant demand for energy and uses the calories from food to keep functioning.” 

Eating a light, healthy snack-ish sized meal every 2-3 hours, in addition to working out, is the first-rate and healthiest way to shed a few pounds this summer. When you eat the right food, you will be ingesting the right calories. Plain and simple.

MYTH #2

Cardio has been the go-to weight loss method for years. Many people are under the impression that hitting the treadmill hard is an easy way to shed that unwanted weight. However, recent studies have proven every overconfident aerobic instructor wrong. Weight lifting is the new black.

Myth: “Cardio is the most effective way to shed pounds.”

Fact: The elliptical is not the answer to all of your weight loss problems this summer. Weight training can boost your metabolism for over a full 24 hours post workout. This means calorie burning, which also means fat burning. In addition, weightlifting has a long-lasting effect. Established muscle sticks around and only improves over time.

If you are anything like I used to be, you are obsessed with the number that haunts you on the scale every morning. Cardio may seem more appealing to immediate weight loss, but it is important to remember that muscles weigh more than fat. Take a break from hovering over the scale after every workout. Ignore the numbers. It’s time to focus on how you actually look and feel.

For most of us the goal isn’t necessarily to become the next Dana Linn Bailey, but we could all use a little muscle building. Don’t be intimidated, venture on over to the free weight section in your gym. Show those guys up. You go girl!

MYTH #3

It is too often that we get fixated on an exact number of pounds that we want or “need” to lose. We practically live at the gym and weep on the treadmill day in and day out until we have reached that agonizing goal. But, the truth is that you are actually deteriorating your body in the process.

Myth: There is no such thing as “too much exercise.”

Fact: Studies show that the average person should exercise three times a week to see more than satisfying results in his or her health and overall robustness. Killing it in the gym everyday, however, is a little much. Muscles need time to recuperate after a hard-hitting workout just like we do. The objective of working out and staying active is to build up muscle, not tear it down. Moderation is the key.

Working out multiple times a week is a great way to see positive results in your health and fitness plan, but it is important to remember that exercising regularly is not enough. Frequent mobility throughout the day is crucial, and so is a balanced diet. Fuse a healthy diet, a balanced workout schedule, and frequent motion to discover a whole new side of yourself.

MYTH #4

I’m pretty sure like every woman on the face of the earth is somewhat unhappy with the looks of their abdominal area. That extra chunk of tummy down there is enough motivation to get our act together and hit the gym. After all, summer is in full swing now and who wants a little muffin top hanging over their bathing suit bottoms? Not me.

So we rally the troops (aka our BFFs) and head on over to the gym. We do a little cardio, maybe throw in a few squats, gossip a little, and then we crush the abs. We cry with each crunch, but pain is gain am I right? We wake up the next morning expecting to see dramatic results and are let down when nothing appears different. Well news flash, crunches aren’t the answer.

Myth: Extreme abdominal exercises are the most effective way of getting flat abs.

Fact: A controlled and wholesome diet is one of the top ways to flatten that tummy. In addition to nutrition, abdominal exercises that include your shoulders and back muscles are key. Trade out the wearisome crunches and add plank variations to your regular workout plan. It is crucial to build a solid abdominal foundation (back, shoulders, and stomach muscles) before pounding away at the abs.

MYTH #5

There is nothing more gratifying than being absolutely doused in sweat following a diehard workout. This also coincides with the common conception that if you’re not working up a sweat, you aren’t workin’ hard enough!

Myth: The amount you sweat during your workout is a good indicator of how hard your workout was and how many calories you burned.

Fact: Each human being is unique. Our bodies are different and so are the ways in which they function! Intense exercise is a very common cause of sweating, but it is not the only one. Stress levels can play a role in it and so can the food you consumed that day. Perspiration levels should not be your assessment on deciding the effectiveness of your workout.

But do you even know what sweating actually is? Let’s think of it this way…when it’s sizzling outside we often turn to our air conditioning systems to cool us down. Sweating is like an automatic AC inside your body that kicks on when needed. When you exercise (or even move in the slightest bit) your heart starts working harder, which heats up the body and BOOM, you sweat. Pretty amazing, don’t you think?

Sweating is a healthy, natural process. Just be sure to rehydrate!

MYTH #6

I swear it’s these newfound “holidays” such as National Doughnut Day that lure me in with their sweet and savory temptation, and then force me to hit that treadmill hard. Each doughnut has like 200 calories, which means I need to spend around an hour or so on the treadmill (or on the track if this weather ever straightens up.) It is common logic that running long distances will eliminate that unwanted fat and quickly burn calories.

But this is where I, along with hundreds of others, am wrong. See, if I were really educated on the matter I would have known that High Intensity Interval Training (HIIT) is the way to go. It is the best way to dump the most calories in the least amount of time. Sounds ideal to me!

Myth: Running long distance is a rapid and efficient way to shed pounds and burn calories.

Fact: HIIT is a form of strength training that works the body in different intervals of pace and weight. This workout plan is designed to burn during and after your workout, which essentially adds a period of additional calorie burning even after you finish your workout.

“This process has been shown to limit the amount of muscle-loss during weight-loss, among other benefits.” (quote from fit mag-HIIT the fat burning spot)

If you do it correctly, you’ll be able to watch the pounds fly right off! Go ahead and enjoy that doughnut, you’ll deserve it after this workout.

MYTH #7

There’s something about the aspiration to look good and feel better that turns us a little crazy in the head. We swap out junk food for salad and frequent the gym. We watch the scale like a hawk, just awaiting even the slightest transformation.

We get so fixated on losing weight and looking good that we often lose sight on what is actually best for our body.

Myth: Cheat days on your diet and workout plan are bad for you and will prevent you from reaching your fitness and health goals.

Fact: We often incorporate getting slim with cutting our calorie intake and creating an energy shortage. In actuality, our body quickly adapts to the deficit in consumed calories by burning less of them and can also decrease hormone levels, which affects the fat burning process. If you occasionally deviate from your rigorous diet you may find a boost in your metabolism. Working out is another large factor that deals with cutting weight and getting fit. However, our bodies need some time to rest. A day or two off assists the healing process, making you stronger and better faster.

It is important to limit yourself when it comes to your cheat day or your cheat meal. DO NOT completely fall off the wagon. Trust me, you’ll have a hard time getting back on. Do not eat everything in sight and don’t just lounge around all day. Find a way to incorporate a little movement into your day, just to refrain from feeling super guilty. Some studies have proven that a cheat day here and there can positively affect you emotionally. Splurging on your fav little treat or taking a rest day boosts your overall mental attitude!

So go ahead and splurge! You deserve it.

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