Exercise Myths Debunked - The Best Ways to Burn Fat

A beautiful Florida winter early evening run in Lakes Park, Fort Myers, Florida. Photo Courtesy of Charly Caldwell II.

There are so many misconceptions surrounding exercise and the best ways to lose fat.

Some you may know and some may be new.

Let’s debunk these myths once and for all...

Myth #1 — You can spot reduce fat from certain body parts.

Spot reducing fat from your stomach or thighs, for example, is impossible. The concept of targeted fat loss or spot reduction is false.

The best way to explain this is to understand that the only thing exercises target are muscles, not the fat that is covering those muscles. 

The only way to lose fat in a specific area is to lose overall body fat.

Myth #2 — Doing loads of cardio is the best way to lose fat.

If your goal is fat loss, doing cardio for hours a day isn’t the best way to achieve it.

Yes, cardio workouts will help increase your calorie deficit but the most effective way to burn fat, increase your metabolism and improve your body composition is to build muscle. 

Having more lean muscle mass helps your body burn more calories at rest.

Therefore, the most effective fat loss program will include a combination of strength training, cardio and proper nutrition.

Myth #3 — Fasted cardio burns more fat than cardio after eating.

Have you been tempted by the myth that exercising on an empty stomach burns more calories?

In a study for the Journal of the International Society of Sports Medicine, participants were prescribed the same calorie-restricted diet along with the same steady-state cardio routine. The only variable was that one group was given a shake before exercise, while the other group would wait to consume the shake post-workout. 

The results?

Everyone lost fat, but it had nothing to do with fasting or not fasting.

The universal factor for these participants was calorie-restricted diets.

So, go ahead and eat before your workout.

You’ll have a more productive exercise session if you have energy in the tank and a productive workout means greater caloric expenditure.

Remember, knowledge is power.

Myth #4 — Strength training will make women look manly.

Many women are fearful of lifting weights because they are afraid of getting bulky or gaining a significant amount of muscle mass.

It’s extremely difficult for women to bulk up from a normal strength training routine because they simply don’t have near the testosterone levels of men. Strength training is the most effective way to build muscle and lose fat.

Women who carry a lot of muscle have likely worked very hard for it over a significant amount of time.

Myth #5 — Lower weights and higher reps are better for fat loss. 

There is a misconception that higher reps with a lighter weight burns more fat and ‘tones’ muscle.

The most efficient way to stimulate your muscles is to give them a variety of stimuli. This means variations in reps, tempo, volume, frequency, techniques etc.

Therefore, the best way to lose fat is to lift challenging weights using a variety of repetition ranges and loads.

Angie Ferguson is an exercise physiologist and strategic intervention life coach from Fort Myers, Florida. She is a Corrective Biomechanics Specialist, USA Triathlon Advanced Level 2 coach, USA Cycling coach, has a Specialty in Sports Nutrition Certification, and a PhD in results!

Contact her, or find out more about her monthly online program, at: www.GearedUP.biz!


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