Weight Loss Myths

by Greg Landry, M.S.


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There are many myths associated with weight loss and fitness. If you're interested in losing weight and getting fit as quickly as possible, don't let these myths throw you off track.

Myth #1 - Some fancy exercise machine-of-the-month burns more calories than any other exercise.

Fact - One thing that many people seem to be confused about is how many calories are expended during different types of exercise. For example, I receive lots of questions regarding how many calories are burned with fancy exercise machines or certain unusual exercises that are supposed to burn lots of calories.

Don't be fooled by this stuff! Here's the bottom line - caloric expenditure is directly related to the amount of effort an activity requires. In general, the more difficult it feels, the more calories you burn. The easier it feels the fewer calories you burn. That's it! I don't care how fancy or expensive the equipment is, the harder you work the more calories you burn.

Myth #2 - Weight training with free weights is much more effective than with machines.

Fact - For the purposes of general fitness, muscle toning, and weight loss, it doesn't matter. My suggestion is to do whichever you are most comfortable with and are most likely to do on a regular basis.

Myth #3 - Low intensity exercise puts you in the "fat burning zone" and is ideal for weight loss.

Fact - The "fat burning zone" doesn't matter. Here's how it got started. Your body is always "burning" a mixture of carbohydrates and fat for fuel. This mixture tends to contain a little more fat during lower intensity exercise. Somebody took this to mean that a lower intensity workout was best for losing weight.. not so!

It all comes from the same "pot". It doesn't matter if you're burning a little more fat or a little more carbohydrate at any particular time in your fuel mix. It all comes from the same calorie pool. The bottom line is, how many calories are you burning.

Myth #4 - Exercising for 30 minutes two to three times per week is sufficient for weight loss.

Fact - That's better than doing nothing but it's not optimal. I firmly believe that God designed our bodies to be active daily. When we exercise daily we are healthier, leaner, more energetic, and the list goes on and on.

Also, daily exercise boosts your metabolism like nothing else can. I recommend working up to 30 to 60 minutes of daily aerobic exercise and three days of weight training per week.

Myth #5 - You can lose fat from a specific part of your body by doing an exercise for that part of your body. For example, abdominal crunches will remove fat from your abdominal area.

Fact - You can't spot reduce! You cannot control where fat is removed from your body.

Myth #6 - You can't lose weight.

Fact - You can lose weight but it usually happens much slower than you'd like it to. Believing that you can lose weight is critical to making it happen. Realize that if you are consistently doing the right things, it will happen. Don't get side-tracked by every new crazy diet or exercise gizmo. Keep plugging away at healthy eating habits and daily exercise - it will happen!

Myth #7 - You shouldn't start weight training until you've lost most of the weight you want to lose because it will slow down your fat loss, or trap your fat in the muscle, or who knows what else.

Fact - Weight training is vital to a weight loss program because it turns up the metabolic fires that burn calories - and it tones your muscles. You should start weight training immediately.

Myth #8 - You burn more fat if you exercise on an empty stomach.

Fact - Exercising on an empty stomach does not affect how you lose weight. In Fact, it may hinder it if you don't have the energy to exercise. You should at least drink a glass of juice prior to your workout if you're exercising in the morning.

Myth #9 - You should always do your weight training just before your aerobic exercise session because you burn more fat that way. I've even heard that you should weight train, eat two raw carrots, and then do your aerobic exercise.

Fact - The order in which you exercise does not affect how you lose weight. I always recommend weight training just after your aerobic exercise (such as walking) simply because your muscles are warm and supple and much less prone to injuries.

Myth #10 - You'll burn more calories jogging a mile than walking a mile.

Fact - Caloric expenditure is 62 calories per 100 pounds body weight per mile traveled (walked or jogged). For example, if you weigh 150 pounds, you expend 93 calories per mile walked or jogged (62 x 1.5). Of course, if you're jogging, you'll cover the distance in less time than if you're walking. Thus, you'll burn more calories in a given period of time if you're jogging.

Get movin'!


Author and exercise physiologist, Greg Landry, M.S., publishes a FREE email newsletter, "Fitness, Health, & Weight Loss". To start your free subscription, send any email message, mailto:Fitness-on@mail-list.com or visit http://www.Landry.com. For more information on weight training, email Top18@Landry.com

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