Fitness myths: separating fact from fiction

Whether you’re looking to cut 10-15 pounds of fat or add 10-15 pounds of lean muscle mass, it’s important that you first familiarize yourself with some of the biggest lies / myths in the fitness industry. Otherwise, you may end up wasting your precious time and could even harm your health in the long run.

For starters, the myth / belief that muscle turns to fat is totally wrong.

Myth 1:

The muscle never gets fat.

They are two totally separate types of fabric. Just as your heart is different from your liver and you wouldn’t be concerned that it could turn into your liver, your muscle cannot turn into fat. It would be like watching an apple turn orange before your eyes. It will not happen.

So what happens to someone who was once very muscular and fit, but stops exercising? If muscle doesn’t turn to fat as many believe, then why does your once fit and fit body now appear fat, flabby, and unhealthy?

The reality is much worse than getting fat. Muscle does not become fat, it is lost. It is literally wasting away.

Because the body uses a lot of energy to maintain lean muscle mass (which is why having more muscle is great for preventing fat gain), when the body thinks it no longer needs to maintain muscle mass, it removes it. Any muscle mass that is not being stressed (used) begins to catabolize (break down).

Muscles shrink from lack of use and fat pockets increase in size. Soon, what was once an attractive, slim and fit body, now appears flabby and fat. It really is that simple.

Because muscle burns more calories than fat, every time training habits change or decrease, dietary changes must be made. If diets don’t adjust to align with a less active lifestyle, if food intake stays the same but total calorie expenditure goes down, guess what? Excess calories (which are no longer burned by activity) turn into body fat.

It’s a pretty simple science: When you exercise less, you burn fewer calories, and therefore should eat less.

The good news is that it only takes about 60 minutes of strength training a week at the gym (or your preferred strength training) to maintain the muscle once it’s built. It takes much less effort to maintain muscle once it is built than it does to build it in the first place.

Myth 2:

Exercising daily is optimal. Incorrect.

Many people believe that if they fail to see the progress they seek, it is because they are not training hard (or for a long time) enough, so they immediately start pushing their body harder, which is the exact opposite of what they should. be happening.

Every time you power train your muscles (in the gym or elsewhere), you are creating micro-damage to the muscle tissue and it takes time for it to rebuild and withstand the same level of strength once again. If the time and energy to do this is not provided, the muscles will not get stronger and, in fact, can cause the loss of valuable muscle mass.

Fact: When actively exercising, the body requires and needs days of rest in a well-planned protocol to allow time to build up from what it was before. Ideally, you should allow yourself one day off a week, if not two. But, even that is not hard science. Some people need more. In fact, the three to four day break for beginning trainees or those doing intense training is not uncommon.

Remember, as the intensity of your workouts increases, the total rest needed to recover from that workout will also increase.

It is very important to recognize when it is time to work harder and when it is time to rest. Understanding the difference and giving your body exactly what it needs is what gets you there.

Honor your training, but balance it with rest.

Myth 3:

Cardio is a great way to lose weight – false.

Cardio – (referring to steady state cardio sessions) – the workouts people dread but do every day after hitting the gym. Jump on cardio equipment and walk at a pace for 20 to 60 minutes.

These workouts do very little for anyone. What these prolonged cardiovascular workouts do is increase our appetite, making us eat more. In fact, many people who are classic “cardio bunnies” report that they have voracious appetites that just don’t go away.

Cardio training can even lead to loss of lean muscle mass. When the body knows to spend long periods of time at a moderate intensity pace, it does what it can to be more efficient. Since maintaining muscle tissue requires a lot of energy, it is better for your body if you have less.

Combine this with the fact that many are on a low calorie diet while doing cardio and now have a body ready and willing to lose lean muscle. So the fat is not really being lost in the process, but rather lean muscle.

The body may appear smaller after months of cardio due to weight loss, but unfortunately it is due to an unhealthy change in body composition. The body now contains more fat mass in proportion to lean muscle mass and the result is not pleasant. The look is smooth, shaky, and anything but tight.

If you are looking to build a fit, lean and firm body, cardio training is not the way to go. Strength training is the only thing that can reverse unhealthy muscle loss.