Saturday, March 24, 2012

Common Myths About Weightloss

When it comes to working out and fitness goals I have found 3 very common myths among women. And they are myths that I once believed, as well. 

MYTH #1 - Fat turns into muscle.

 I have heard far too many times people make a comment along the lines of, "I will do cardio to burn off fat, then replace it with muscle by weight training afterwards." Huh? This logic doesn't make any sense at all. The best formula for weight loss and so-called "tone" is to incorporate both interval cardio with a solid weight training program. Too many women waste literally hours doing steady cardio. I used to be a victim of this training as well. I remember the days of jumping on the treadmill for 30 minutes, and getting off to do the elliptical for another 30. Afterwards, my "weight training" consisted of some creative moves I had seen in a magazine where I'd perform 1 set of 30 plus reps, light on the weights. Then off to do abs for 15 minutes. And I always wondered why I wasn't seeing results. 

Here's the quick recipe for achieving "tone": Remember that fat does not turn to muscle. EVER. They are completely different in their make up of cell and tissue. You can burn fat, and you can build muscle. You can also put on fat and muscle can atrophy. 

The basic principle is DIET (what you eat is 70% of your results-  and you cannot out exercise a bad diet. Period. Eat lean protein, vegetables, and complex carbs for optimum results) 

The second idea is keep your Cardio short, and do intervals (heart rate goes up for a short period of time, then bring it down again. Rinse, Wash, Repeat.) You know you're doing it right if you can't sustain your Cardio session longer than 15-20 minutes. 

And lastly, you need to have a Weight Training program that incorporates every major muscle group. Biceps, Triceps, Shoulders, Back, Chest, Abdominals, Quads, Hamstrings, Calves. Leave no muscle un-worked to achieve the perfect looking package. Complete 3-4 sets of 10-12 reps. And give yourself 2 days of rest every week,along with a good night's sleep. You worked hard- give your body time to recover and build. 

MYTH #2 - Many people have the idea that they can "spot reduce" fat. 

Where your body stores fat is all due to your genetics and body type. There is not much you can do about that in terms of taking the fat from your thighs and putting it in your chest! 

For example, if you tend to carry fat on your belly, doing 1000 crunches a day will not give you a six pack. This is simply biologically impossible. I cringe when I read magazine articles touting "how to get a six pack abs with these exercises." It simply cannot happen, and the reason why comes from Myth #1- If fat can't turn into muscle, then doing crunches will not transform your abs into steel. What it will do is strengthen those muscles beneath the layer of fat. 

So what do you do? Weight training is essential - it will build muscles and make them stronger. If you want to show them off, then you must go back to the basic principles I laid out just now - Diet and Cardio with Weight Training. Combine these three and you will transform your body- the fat will be worked off, and the muscle will grow. It will not happen all at once, and it will definitely not happen overnight; but I promise, it will happen. 

MYTH #3 - Change comes quickly. 

We look at pictures of fitness models and athletes, and wonder why after only  a few months why we don't look like them. Change does not come quickly! A realistic time frame for weight loss is 1-2 pounds a week if you have a bit more fat to lose, likewise you can gain up to 1 pound of muscle a week. Does this mean that every human being will get this result? Not exactly. Many factors come into play - what you eat, when you eat, how much you eat, your body type, your workout routine, your stress levels... the list goes on! 

I didn't think I was seeing results until I
compared pictures and measurements.

I am no stranger to discouragement. I have had many days where I stare in the mirror and get aggravated. I compare myself to women on the covers of magazines, on television, or in the gym. Instead I need to be focusing on my own changes- and comparing my body today to where my body was 3, 6 or 12 months ago. I truly believe we need to remind ourselves that it takes time to change your body. Results are never overnight- and if they are, it's most likely because you did something unhealthy - like starved yourself, took a diet pill or detox drink. My idea is that if you transformed overnight, you will transform back just as quickly. Slow and steady wins the fitness race, ladies!  Take it day by day, take progress pictures and measurements, and only compare yourself to YOU. Get off the scale everyday and do measurements once bi-weekly. Same time, same day of the week. 

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Hi! I 'm Karlene Murphy. A lover of food (especially if it's gluten and dairy free!), getting outdoors, lifting weights, travel, writing, and snuggling with my two puppies. My addictions include chocolate, coffee, cookies, and sharing my love of being HAPPY and HEALTHY! My passion is educating others - whether at my full time job as a high school Psychology teacher, or with YOU my readers. I have been in the fitness wold for almost 10 years, and currently am an Online Fitness Coach, Fitness Instructor, Pilates and Yoga and Aerial Yoga Instructor in Southern New Hampshire. Contact Me if you need help with designing your own fitness and nutrition program.

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