Trying to lose weight can be tough, and you’ve probably already read a million and one articles telling you exactly how to lose weight and burn fat quickly. Some of them may be completely true and accurate, and some of them may unfortunately be a little out of date.
No matter what you read it’s important to realise that not everything is true, and we’re here to help you avoid some of the myths surrounding weight loss and exercise.
Here are our top three fat burning myths…
You must count your calories!
Counting calories is one of the worst ways to diet and lose weight! Although it does work for some people, counting calories is a sure fire way of demotivating yourself and ending up back at square one.
Let’s say for example that your daily calorie intake should be 2,000 if you wanted to stay at the same weight, and that you need to reduce this down to 1,500 in order to drop a pound or two a week. Well, although this may be fairly sound in theory, it’s not so good in practice.
For a start, counting calories can be just too difficult to do. Granted, there are lots of websites and phone apps that can now do that for you, but this means you are constantly looking on the internet and having to make either manual or electronic logs of everything you eat, just to make sure you don’t go over.
The amount of people that try this and give up after just a few days is staggering. Most people set out with good intentions, but like so many of us end up either forgetting to log the calories, or just can’t be bothered because something comes up.
We all lead very busy lives, and sometimes it’s just not feasible to keep track of everything we eat. You have to be extremely disciplined when it comes to counting calories, and you only have to slip up for just a day or so and it usually means the counting stops.
Another popular mistake is reducing the amount of calories down by too much too soon, which has a massive effect on energy and mood levels. Your body gets used to the amount of calories you consume every day, and if you make a big reduction then you’re going to be left feeling hungry, irritated, tired and lifeless.
Your body may also go into starvation mode and begin to store fat to use for later. This could seriously hinder the amount of fat you burn if your body is constantly storing it, as you are depriving it of the amount of calories it usually consumes.
The best way to naturally reduce your calorie intake is to cut out the junk food and all the snacks you may be having throughout the day. If for example you eat a bag or two or crisps every day, as well as a few chocolate bars, then there’s your simple answer right there. Replace those unhealthy snacks with fruit or vegetables and you’ll instantly be on to a winner.
The amount of calories you consume may be important, but what’s more important is having the motivation to eat a healthy diet that isn’t hard work and isn’t going to cause you to be hungry and lacking in energy. Food is meant to be enjoyed, and there are certain foods that you can literally stuff your face with all day long and still lose weight.
No one has to be hungry on a diet and it’s all about what you eat rather than how much you eat. Cutting out the junk and adding in more fruit, vegetable and protein will allow you to lose weight and to continue to eat as often as you want, when you want, and leave you feeling energetic and motivated to continue losing weight and getting into the shape of your life.
You can’t lose weight unless you exercise!
This just isn’t true, and although exercise will help you to boost your metabolism and lose weight, dieting alone can shift plenty of pounds.
You are what you eat, and if you eat too much junk food and consume a lot more calories than your standard daily allowance, you’re going to have to seriously hit the gym in order to lose weight, or even just to stay as you are!
If you have the time to hit the gym 6 days a week for hours on end, then sure, you may be able to get away with eating a lot of junk food. But do you really want to spend that amount of time in the gym just so you can gorge yourself?
Diet is almost everything when it comes to losing weight, and it comes down to discipline on the plate rather than the amount of dumbbells you lift at the gym. Most people would like a nice slender lean body, and you are only going to get that if you eat a healthy diet – and stick to it.
Cardio is better than weight training for fat loss!
The best way to lose weight is to hit the treadmill and run for miles and miles right? Wrong! Cardio alone is not the best way to lose weight, and not only is it boring, but lots of running could also cause you an injury if certain precautions aren’t taken.
You could literally spend hours and hours on the treadmill and you’d hardly see any results to your overall body shape. Sure, you may gain better stamina, but losing weight is all about giving the whole body a workout, and not just focusing on one particular area.
The ultimate way to burn fat is to mix cardio with strength training. That way, not only are you working your heart rate and increasing your stamina, but you’re also gaining muscle mass and giving your whole body a full workout.
And the more muscle you gain the higher your metabolic rate, which means you will be able to burn more calories – even when resting! Every part of the body needs to be challenged, and it’s also important to mix up your exercise routine.
A good routine to consider is 2 days of weight lifting, and 2 days of high-intensity interval training (HIIT). You can of course go to the gym more times if you wish, but we find that 4 days a week is easier to stick to, and you are more likely to complete a full routine each week if you only commit to 4 times.
You may consider alternating the HIIT and the strength training. So Monday could be your first HIIT day. Tuesday would be strength training, focusing on the upper body. Have a rest on Wednesday. Thursday would be back to HIIT, and the Friday could focus on your legs and abs.