Fitness myths: separating fact from fiction

Whether you’re looking to lose 10-15 pounds of fat or add 10-15 pounds of lean muscle mass, it’s important to first face some of the biggest lies/myths in the fitness industry. Otherwise, you may end up wasting your precious time and could even harm your health in the long run.

For starters, the myth/belief that muscle turns into fat is completely wrong.

Myth 1:

Muscle never turns into fat.

They are two totally separate types of tissue. Just like your heart is different from your liver and you wouldn’t worry that it could turn into your liver, your muscle can’t turn into fat. It would be like watching an apple turn orange before your eyes. It’s not going to happen.

So what happens to someone who was once very muscular and fit but stops working out? If muscle doesn’t turn to fat as many believe, then why does your once fit and lean body now appear fat, flabby and unhealthy?

The reality is much worse than becoming fat. Muscle is not being converted to fat, it is being lost. It is literally wasted.

Because the body uses a lot of energy to maintain lean muscle mass (which is why having more muscle is great for preventing fat gain), when the body thinks it no longer needs to maintain muscle mass, it sheds it. Any muscle mass that is not being stressed (used), begins to catabolize (break down).

Muscles shrink from disuse and pockets of fat grow. Soon, what was once an attractive, lean and fit body now appears flabby and fat. It’s that easy.

Because muscle burns more calories than fat, any time exercise habits change or slow down, dietary changes must follow. If diets don’t adjust to align with a less active lifestyle, if food intake stays the same but overall calorie expenditure goes down, guess what? The excess excess calories (no longer burned through activity) are converted to body fat.

It’s pretty simple science: when you exercise less, you burn fewer calories and therefore need to eat less.

The good news is that it only takes about 60 minutes of strength training weekly at the gym (or your preferred strength training workout) to maintain muscle once it’s built. It takes much less effort to maintain muscle once it’s built than it does to build it in the first place.

Myth 2:

Exercising daily is optimal. Mistaken.

Many people believe that if they can’t see the progress they’re looking for, it’s because they’re not training hard enough (or for long enough), so they immediately start pushing their body harder, which is the exact opposite of what it should be. be happening.

Every time you train your muscles hard (in the gym or elsewhere), you are creating micro damage to the muscle tissue and it takes time for it to rebuild itself to support the same level of force once again. If you don’t give yourself the time and energy to do this, your muscles will not get stronger and may actually cause you to lose valuable muscle mass.

Fact: When actively exercising, the body requires and needs rest days in a well-planned protocol to give itself the time it needs to become stronger than it was before. Ideally, allow one day off a week, if not two. But, even that is not hard science. Some people require more. In fact, three or four days off for beginners or those doing intense training is not uncommon.

Remember, as the intensity of your workouts increases, the total rest needed to recover from that workout will also increase.

It is very important to recognize when it is time to work harder and when it is time to rest. Understanding the difference and giving your body exactly what it needs is what gets you to that ultimate goal.

Honor your training, but balance it with rest.

Myth 3:

Cardio is a great way to lose weight – False.

Cardio – (referring to steady state cardio sessions) – the workouts people dread but do every day after hitting the gym. Jump on cardio equipment and progress at a pace for 20 to 60 minutes.

These workouts do very little for anyone. What these prolonged cardiovascular workouts do is increase your appetite, making you eat more. In fact, many people who are classic “cardio bunnies” report ravenous appetites that just won’t go away.

Cardio training can even lead to loss of lean muscle mass. When your body knows it needs to go for long periods of time at a moderate-intensity pace, it does what it can to be more efficient. Since muscle tissue maintenance requires a lot of energy, it’s better for your body if you have less.

Combine this with the fact that many are on a low calorie diet while doing cardio and you now have a body ready and willing to lose lean muscle. Therefore, you don’t actually lose fat in the process, but rather lean muscle.

The body may appear smaller after months of cardiovascular exercise due to weight loss, but unfortunately, it is due to an unhealthy change in body composition. The body now contains more fat mass in proportion to lean muscle mass, and the result is not pretty. The look is soft, wavy and anything but fit.

If you’re looking to create a fit, lean, and firm body, cardio training isn’t the way to go. Strength training is the only thing empowered to reverse the loss of unhealthy muscle mass.

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