In the fitness world, everyone has a theory about how to lose stubborn belly fat or how exactly to sculpt your ab muscles to get a certain design etched in your abdominals. Most of these theories are pretty useless, and they make fitness a lot more complicated than it needs to be.
Whether you swear by the Paleo diet or eat ten small meals a day, there are basic truths about fitness that these myths cover up. Here are the eight lies that hold you back from your dream body:
1. Counting Calories Is A Huge Waste of Time
Calories are the reason you gain or lose weight, so they are actually the biggest determining factor in your fitness. Granted, fewer calories are not always better. For example, most unhealthy junk foods can be labeled as “100 calorie snacks,” but they will probably end up leaving you hungry and unsatisfied.
The content of the calories matters, but weight loss is really all about the numbers. If you burn more calories than you take in, you will lose weight. If you eat more calories than you burn, you will gain weight. If you eat the same amount of calories as you burn, you will maintain your weight. This is the ultimate truth of weight loss.
2. Cardio Is The Only Way to Lose Weight
While cardio does elevate your heart rate and burns calories, it is not the ONLY way you can lose weight. It is key to note that muscle burns fat, and lifting also elevates the heart rate and burns calories. If you have more muscle mass, you will burn more calories each time you work out, so lifting weights may be more sustainable in the long run.
However, a mix of both would probably be beneficial.
3. Carbs Are The Enemy
Pick any dieting guide from your local grocery store like South Beach Diet and you are destined to find that the first thing you will sacrifice for your ideal body will be carbohydrates. Why? Because some diets argue that carbs automatically turn into sugar and leave you hungry and unsatisfied. This is partly true; proteins and some fats are often found to be more filling, but cutting out this entire easily-digestible food source is unnecessary and excessive. As long as the calories burned vs. calories eaten balance stays where you want it, carbs shouldn’t be a problem as long as you balance your diet with carbs, fats, and proteins.
This is partly true; proteins and some fats are often found to be more filling, but cutting out this entire easily-digestible food source is unnecessary and excessive. As long as the calories burned vs. calories consumed balance stays where you want it, carbs shouldn’t be a problem as long as you balance your diet with carbs, fats, and proteins.
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4. IIFYM Is The Only Way to Sustain a Diet
Flexible dieting or IIFYM focuses on a diet based on controlling your daily intake of the three macronutrients — carbohydrates, proteins, and fats. Though referred to as “flexible,” this method is a little bit complicated because you have to keep track of calories and macronutrients. Your daily diet is composed of dense foods (which can often be bland) packed with nutrition.
Even though no food in this diet is technically “off-limits” it feels very restrictive and you can get awfully sick of eating the same kinds of foods every day. Most flexible dieters plan “cheat days” where they put the notepad and calculator away to indulge in their favorite foods. This can often get you off track or feeling miserable where all you want to eat are your cheat day foods.
5. You Should Eat Several Small Meals Instead of Three Larger Meals
The idea behind eating frequent, small meals is that it will work your metabolism more than just having three larger meals. Every time you digest food, your metabolism expends energy in proportion to the size and type of meal you consume. However, this tends to even out at the end of the day. It doesn’t matter how many meals you eat a day as long as the total number of calories stays lower than what you burn.
6. Lifting Lighter Weights and Adding More Reps Will Give You A Toned Look
When you lift weights a lot of people divide you into two categories: toned or bulky. The toned people lift lighter weights, and the bigger people go for the huge ones. That actually doesn’t make much sense. The amount of muscle you show and how big you are actually depends on your body fat percentage.
Granted, there is such a thing as “bulking” and “cutting” but lifting light weights longer or heavy weights for fewer reps doesn’t have much to do with it. A lot of it is determined by your diet and how much fat you have versus muscle.
A lot of these myths take ideas to the extreme. Fitness is a lot simpler than it seems, and it’s easy to get distracted by false information. Trust your common sense and ignore the bullsh*t, that’s how you’ll get the body you want.