With so many conflicting theories and different training programs out there, it’s easy to get confused about what works and what doesn’t. We consulted Veronica Wallington from P.E. Dept in Potts Point to sort out myth from fact.
MYTH: Weights will make you bulky
This is the biggest myth in all of female training, and is hopefully starting to dwindle as the rise of functional and group training programs incorporate more and more resistance work into their programs. The main point is, you will NOT get bulky from lifting heavy things.
The truth is when you pick up heavy things, your muscles get stronger (but not necessarily bigger). If you pump yourself full of testosterone and a lot kilojoules than you are burning every day, you will get bigger. But if you are simply lifting heavy weights along with maintaining a healthy diet (with enough protein to repair those muscles) you will get stronger and not become the female version of the hulk.
The female bodybuilders who do get bulky, eat, train, and take supplements specifically so they can look like that. They’ve probably been working towards that goal for years and years. This is not the average woman.
MYTH: Cardio is the best way to lose fat
This goes hand in hand with the first myth. You will always see those lean runners and cardio junkies, and possibly get the idea that this could be you! If you only did what they did. Not true. Cardio junkies may look super lean because they might be an endurance athlete, which is a completely different ballgame in training, and requires a lot of dedication to their specific sport. Something the average person can’t keep up. Or they are in a kilojoule deficient state, busting their guts on cardio in a desperate attempt to burn off anything consumed – not a healthy way to live.
I am not one to ever say no to cardio, in fact from a running background, I love to run my little heart out! But it is not for fat loss, it’s for the other benefits running gives me (increased cardio endurance, healthy heart and lung capacity) and the mental clarity of getting a good sweat without thinking too much.
The best way to lose fat is with a combination of high intensity interval training (HIIT) and strength training. Combined, they will produce a more efficient weight loss effect than an equal amount of cardio. High intensity training heightens your metabolic rate by spiking its energy output through intense bursts of effort. This type of training forces your body to dip into fat stores earlier than prolonged periods of cardio. When you strength train, your muscles are broken down, and then rebuilt over the next 24-48 hours. While your body is rebuilding those muscles, it’s recruiting more kilojoules and energy to make the process happen (generally referred to as the ‘afterburn’ effect). Same as with HIIT. What this means is that your metabolism operates at a faster level even while you’re sitting on the couch after a workout. Cardio has its benefits but as the key to fat loss, it is not the winner here.
MYTH: You can spot reduce fat
Your body is genetically predisposed to storing fat in certain locations in a certain order. For some women its arms, some it is their tummy and hips, others thighs and legs. Everyone is different because we have a different genetic makeup. When you start to lose weight, your body will lose the fat you currently have in a certain order as well – it might come off your arms first, then legs, belly, chest, and butt. Or in a different order, depending on your personal genetic makeup. You cannot target where the fat will disappear by doing, for example, situps everyday for loss of tummy fat.
A truth however, if you do want to make fat disappear faster, is to tweak your diet. Your diet is 80% responsible for fat loss so cleaning up your diet will help a whole lot with any fat loss goals.
MYTH: Eat less to lose weight
Our bodies need real food, and enough of it to operate at optimum efficiency. Eating in a state of deficient kilojoule intake may work initially, but it will leave you either tired, cranky and reaching for the closest chocolate bar. If kept up for a long time, it will leave your body in ‘starvation mode’ meaning it will start to hold on to the body’s fat stores in an attempt to stay functioning. This can lead to catabolism of muscles which will not aid in losing fat in the long run because as mentioned earlier muscle burns more energy at a resting rate than fat does.
The truth is, eating a healthy balanced meal plan combining healthy fats, plenty of lean protein and low GI carbohydrates won’t make you fat, but rather encourage a sustained release of energy to the body for rebuilding muscle, repairing cells and keeping you going all day long.
MYTH: The scales are the best measurement if you are losing weight
I have had countless clients asking why, even though they have improved their eating and training almost five days a week, the scales aren’t budging. In fact if anything they are going up.
The truth is, muscle weighs more than fat but unlike fat it is more dense, takes up a lot less room and is not a dead weight to carry. So even though you may weigh the same you feel lighter and look smaller! Don’t be stuck on what you see on the scales, judge by how your clothes are fitting, take before and after photos to see difference in tone and shape, do measurements to prove that tightening up areas might not make them lighter but will make them definitely smaller in appearance. As a previous professional athlete and someone not bothered at all by the scales, feeling stronger, fitter and faster is my best measurement.
Article sourced from The Juice Daily.