Consult with your doctor before starting a fitness or weight loss program.
Being a certified personal fitness trainer, I hear misinformation on how to lose weight on a daily basis. There are too many examples to list and a slew of new myths and products always appear each year around New Year's Day. Usually, they are marketed with half truths about the effectiveness of their programs. None of these programs or products talks about long term weight loss...because they would go out of business.
It's my responsibility to educate my clients on how to achieve long term weight loss based on exercise science and steer them away from fad diets, misinformation and ineffective products.
The reality is that there is a difference between weight loss and body fat loss. Most of us look at the scale which reflects our total body weight but this does not take into account the total body fat lost. For those on a fad diet without an exercise program the total weight loss number on the scale does not indicate if you have lost muscle. The point is that a loss of muscle mass will decrease your metabolism and affect your body's ability to have long term weight loss.
Losing weight and keeping it off is 100% possible when we are open minded, willing to apply ourselves to a program based on exercise science and avoid the weight loss myths.
Here are The 2008 Top 10 Weight Loss Myths and reasons why they do not work, are not healthy, short term and how they can lead to a cycle of more weight gain.
10. Myth: Eating a NO fat diet...Learn to differentiate good fats from bad fats...e.g. no trans fat vs. good polyunsaturated fats found in fish oil. Good fats are a high density energy source, make us feel full longer and are essential for cellular processes. Total low fat diet should be part of a complete weight loss program..
9. Myth: Eating a NO carbohydrate diet... Eating low complex carbohydrates is best e.g. potatoes, veggies vs. simple carbs white flour, sugar drinks. The body main source of energy (including the brain) is carbohydrate not protein.
8. Myth: Working abs for flat tummy... Constantly working on abdominals may lead to an increase in muscle imbalances and affect posture. Exercising major muscles in a total body workout burns more calories...e.g. chest, legs, back, shoulders.
7. Myth: Wearing plastic gear such as shirts or pants to promote weight loss.... I have seen people use garbage bags under their shirt to promote weight loss!!! Your body's system of cooling through perspiration will be compromised. Hence, you will lose more water and that will lead to dehydration plus lessen your cardio/endurance potential.
6. Myth: Fasting and working out...The body is a machine...no fuel will eventually lead to the internal breakdown of muscle, organ function, balance, coordination and mental clarity. Fasting sends a signal to brain to save energy and the body's favorite source of energy to save is FAT.
5. Myth: Depending on a gym or special equipment to lose weight. Believing you have to be at the gym to lose weight is an only excuse not to workout. There are many benefits of having a gym membership however circumstances such as finances or time may prevent us from going to a fitness club. You can workout at home using low cost equipment e.g. resistance band, stability ball, even bodyweight exercises. You can also burn extra calories by taking the stairs not the escalator, walking to the store rather than driving. 20-30 minutes of daily brisk walking is a good start.
4.Myth: Not enough time to begin a program: A weight loss program depends largely on a daily energy expenditure (burning more calories than you consume) and eating a healthy daily diet. Fact: If you have time to eat then you have time to begin a weight loss program. Eliminating or lessening your sugar, mayonnaise, peanut butter, white flour, fried food and high sodium foods will promote weight loss. These foods will trigger a response in your body to save fat and lowering your intake will increase your body's fat burning efficiency.
3. Myth: High Repetitions vs. Low Repetitions: The repetition frequency should be based on your current level of fitness experience. Beginners should start with reps between 8-12 to focus on technique and muscle conditioning. After a couple of weeks you can increase the weight and decrease the reps to 6-8 repetitions to promote muscle growth and prevent plateauing. Remember, an increase in lean muscle mass will increase your metabolism.
2. Myth: Cardio workouts lasting more that 60 minutes. The laws of diminishing returns can apply to this myth. As your body adapts to the same long cardio workout (a.k.a plateau) from jogging, elliptical, cycling etc... you will lose less body fat per workout, metabolism will not increase and loss of lean muscle mass increases.
1. Myth: Believing your happiness depends on how much you weigh. Working towards a goal of losing weight is challenging but rewarding mentally and physically. Unfortunately, movies, television and media all portray that happiness resides in being a certain body type or weight. On the contrary, a healthy lifestyle, faith, family and friends are what will enhance one's overall sense of well being.
Here are 5 Fitness Foundry Training Tips that will promote weight loss without losing muscle:
15-20 minute total body workouts before your cardio: Research shows that an increase in lean muscle will increase your metabolism. A workout that uses more muscle groups will burn more calories then isolating a single muscle. For example: Doing squats while bicep curling dumbbells then shoulder pressing will burn more calories than sitting on a bench and doing bicep curls.
Support: Get a workout buddy. We are less likely to skip workouts if we have a partner. Also, encouragement from your workout buddy may give you the incentive to go the extra mile!
Nutrition: Keep your nutrition simple. Avoid foods high in saturated fat, high sugar etc... Your nutrition should be based on current weight, medical history, lifestyle and goals. Also, keeping a weekly or daily nutrition journal will help you develop awareness of the quantity and quality of foods you eat.
Rest and Recovery: Lack of sleep will affect your body's functional capacity to burn fat. Also, sleep is very important for muscle recovery and overall health.
Frequency/Consistency: In a perfect world, we would workout every day. However, this is unrealistic. My suggestion is to plan out your workout a week in advance. At least 25 minutes of physical activity 3-4 days per week is a great start. If we are unable to workout then focus on your nutrition on that day. For example, eat more vegetables and protein and fewer breads and sugary foods.
Each day, you ARE a step closer towards your goal. Long term weight loss results arise from behavior or lifestyle modifications, consistency and enjoyment. It is a myth that LONG TERM weight loss is easy and exclusive to a certain population. You can achieve your goal by resolving each morning to give it 110% effort, being honest about your nutrition and knowing you are worth it. Don't wait till New Year's Day to begin...start today!
Be well and stay ACTIVE!! Julio A. Salado, NASM & NSCA C.P.T.