Fat loss. This is one of the most sought after results for the majority of people and is also the subject of many controversial (and questionable) methods to achieve it. 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.
So 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 almost every topic has something to do with “being thin”. This topic is a muti-billion dollar industry and so 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 on Facebook 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 is also an essential macronutrient that your body needs. Depriving the body of a macronutrient will cause your internals to run awry.
Now 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 the energy source rather than glucose (which comes from carbs). The problem is protein starts to be used as a fuel source and it comes from your very valuable muscle tissue and when this tissue is burned, your metabolism slows down causing fat gain.
Carbs are best consumed in the morning and immediately after a workout.
Fat loss misconception #2: Should I avoid eating at night time?
At the end of the day it’s really about how many calories you consumed. If your calorie intake is calculated to a negative energy balance (meaning you have to expend more calories than you consume) then you’ll be on your way to losing fat regardless of what time of the day you eat.
The only thing I would recommend is to avoid starchy carbohydrates late at night and to save those for the early morning when your body is more insulin sensitive.
Fat loss misconception #3: Will eating fats make me 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 growth hormone in response to sleep and exercise improving recovery and promoting anabolic environment. So the bottom line – you need fat to get thin.
Fat loss misconception #4: How much cardio should I do to lose weight?
Cardio can play a part in total calories burned for the day thus putting your body into a negative energy state to cause 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 and, even better, combining resistance training with a strategic nutrition plan for fat loss is vastly superior to treadmill work! In fact, studies have shown the longer an individual relies on a treadmill for fat loss, the body actually adapts to 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.
Fat loss misconception #5: Do miracle shakes work?
The advertising on particular shakes are running so uncontrollably rampant, to say the least! 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 of the curing of diabetes. Ridiculous!
I certainly use and even recommend protein shakes for convenience if you’re following a strategized and balanced nutrition plan. I stress the “balanced” part. If you are not on a plan and are hoping these shakes will get you to lose weight – save your money. Avoid artificial food sources, eat real food and moderate the portions.
Fat loss misconception #6: Do cleanses burn fat?
Very similar to Fat Loss Misconception #5. The purpose of the cleanse is to remove toxins more throughly from your body. The principal ingredient in cleanses that remove toxins is fibre. If you have an adequate amount of fibre 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.
Fat loss misconception #7: What are the best sit-ups for a flatter stomach or abs?
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 meatbolism-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 you thin. Nothing beats the basics of portioning your food, eating quality foods, and working out.