So what is the best way to lose fat? Without a doubt, nothing tops the most basic approach: eat less calories, eat whole food sources, engage in resistance training (to build lean muscle and burn more calories), and throw in some HIIT (High Intensity Interval Training) for good measure. Based on my experience and astute observation of my peers, nothing beats this strategy for effectiveness.
What about all of the other hoopla regarding fat loss? If you pick up a magazine or watch television, within a few minutes you’ll hear about the next “weight loss” gimmick or theory. In fact, every time I turn on Dr.Oz it seems like almost every topic has something to do with “being thin”. This topic is a multi-billion dollar industry and many companies (and individuals) want to capitalize and “sell the dream”. Let’s take a look at some of the most common misconceptions, and dissect the validity of each.
Fat Loss Misconception #1: Carbohydrates are bad for you
I can’t stand when I see this plastered all over the media, and it infuriates me even more when another coach prescribes these methods to a client.
First of all, carbs are NOT bad for you. In fact, carbohydrates are the body’s principal source of fuel, and they are an essential macronutrient that your body needs. Depriving the body of them will cause your internals to run awry.
There are plenty of “no carb” approaches in which the principal theory is to put the body into a state called “ketosis”, where it uses fat as its main energy source (instead of what the body normally uses – glucose from carbs).
But the problem here is that, if you don’t manage to keep up with your increased protein and nutritional needs, the body will start to use the protein from your valuable muscle tissue as its fuel source instead. And when this extremely valuable tissue gets burned up, your metabolism starts to slow down, leading to fat gain.
So don’t stop eating healthy, whole food sources of carbohydrates. Carbs are best consumed in the morning and immediately after a workout.
Next: Eating at Night…misconception #2: Avoid eating at night time
It’s ideal to follow your body’s natural biological and metabolic rhythms, and to eat during the times when you are awake, active and burning the fuel you are putting in to your body. Typically, this is during the day time.
But at the end of the day, it’s really about how many calories you consume. If you burned more calories than the amount you consumed, then you’ll be on your way to losing fat regardless of what time of the day you eat.
However, I would recommend avoiding starchy carbohydrates late at night, and to save those for the early morning when your body is more insulin sensitive.
Next: Eating Fat…misconception #3: Eating fat makes you fatter
Let’s get this straight – the right fats are essential for fat loss. I’m talking about Omega 3s, almonds, olive oil, and salmon. All of our cells are made from fatty surroundings, and without these fats, your health will definitely be compromised. The benefits of omega-3 fatty acids include enhanced aerobic metabolism, increased energy levels and stamina, increased exercise duration, improved release of beneficial growth hormone, and improving recovery time, just to name a few.
So the bottom line – you need fat to get thin.
Next: Cardio for fat loss…Fat loss misconception #4: You need to do a lot of cardio to lose weight
Cardio can play a part in total calories burned for the day, putting your body into a negative energy state that leads to fat loss.
But how important is it? I would rank cardio near the bottom of importance with regards to fat loss, behind i) diet, ii) resistance training, and iii) high intensity interval training (HIIT).
Working out with weights will burn far more calories than sitting on a bike or walking on a treadmill. Or, for even more efficient and effective results, combine resistance training with a strategic nutrition plan for fat loss. In fact, studies have shown that the longer an individual relies on a treadmill for fat loss, the more the body adapts to the workload and becomes more efficient at storing fat!
Cardio and fat storage? No thanks. Cardio is a great “top up” in your program, but should definitely not be used as the principal catalyst in your fat loss goals.
Next: Weight Loss Shakes…misconception #5: Miracle shakes cause fat loss.
The advertising on particular shakes has gotten out of control. My issue with shakes is it DOESN’T trigger fat loss, while the advertising claims cleverly dance around regulations. In fact, “independent distributors” of these products can claim anything on Social Media sites because it is unregulated. I’ve even seen claims that a particular shake can cure diabetes. Ridiculous!
I certainly use – and even recommend – protein shakes for convenience, if you’re following a strategized and balanced nutrition plan. But I stress the “balanced” part here. If you are not on a plan and are hoping these drinks will cause you to lose weight single-handedly, then save your money. Avoid artificial food sources, eat real food and moderate your portions.
Next: Detox for fat loss…Fat loss misconception #6: Cleanses burn fat.
The story here is very similar to misconception #5. The purpose of a cleanse is to remove toxins more thoroughly from your body. The principal ingredient in most of these cleanses is fiber. If you have an adequate amount of fiber in your diet, drink the right amount of water and eat clean whole foods, you won’t need to resort to consuming cleanse shakes. Save your money.
Next: Sit-ups for belly fat…
Fat loss misconception #7: Sit-ups eliminate belly fat.
If you have belly fat, no amount or variations of sit-ups are going to trim that down. Quite simply, “You can’t flex fat” is commonly echoed amongst myself and my peers.
To lose fat, you need to diet. Add some resistance training for some metabolism-boosting muscle and you’ll get to that flatter, washboard stomach faster. Plain and simple.
So there you have it – 7 Fat Loss Misconceptions dissected to help you navigate through all of the marketing claims of getting thin.