BIG FAT LIE #1
Cardio exercise is better for weight loss than lifting weights.
THE TRUTH Cardiovascular exercise, such as running or swimming, does burn off the fat. However, with weight training, you are increasing your muscles mass, which means that your metabolism speeds up, making you burn more calories every day during your normal activities. Plus, if you do cardio without weight training, you will lose muscle mass as well as fat, as researchers from Ball State University in the US found out. If you’re looking to lose, make sure you use both in your weight-loss programme. And in the gym, aim to do compound exercises such as squats, push-ups, lunges and dead lifts to work all the major muscle groups.
BIG FAT LIE #2
If you exercise regularly, you can eat what you want.
THE TRUTH No matter what you do during the day, you still need to make sure you aren’t eating too much for the activity you are participating in. Dr John Jakicic, a researcher from the University of Pittsburgh, says: “Without a change in eating behaviour, exercise alone has a minimal impact on weight loss.” You’ll need to combine exercise with a healthy, fat-burning diet to get maximum results. Aim to eat five or six small meals a day instead of three large ones and match your eating habits to the exercise you participate in.
BIG FAT LIE #3
You can reduce fat in a specific area of your body.
THE TRUTH People believe that if you do 500 sit-ups daily, you’ll get a six-pack. Unfortunately, it doesn’t work like that. When you lose weight, it occurs all over your body. If you’re looking to lose the love handles, building up your midsection with just side crunches and jackknives will only push the fat out further and make your middle look even wider. If you concentrate on losing overall body fat, as the extra kilos melt away, so will your love handles. Rowing exercises also burn up to 50 per cent more fat as fuel (as compared to a stationary bike workout. Add some weight training and watch what you eat.
BIG FAT LIE #4
Doing more reps with lighter weights will make you more “toned”.
THE TRUTH The word “tone” is misleading – it sounds as though if you want your muscles to show, all you need to do is lose the layers of fat. Truth is, doing 50 easy reps is not going to do that! Only an increase in muscle mass and your metabolism, coupled with the right eating plan, will rid you of your extra blubber. High-rep phases (never more than 15) increase muscle mass, but the weights need to be heavy enough to cause muscle fatigue and failure. So aim to do between eight and 12 reps in the exercises that you do. Once you have built a solid strength foundation, you can start decreasing your reps, and increasing the loads. But be careful, and use a spotter if you’re going heavy.
BIG FAT LIE #5
Carbs are evil, you should steer clear of them.
THE TRUTH Carbohydrates are not the diet-killers they are made out to be. They actually help you to build muscle. Carbs are our number one source of energy, and you need energy during your training sessions. Carbs will help with protein synthesis, the process that builds your muscle. New research from Children’s Hospital and, Brigham & Women’s Hospital, both in Boston, also suggests that good fats and high-fibre carbohydrates can keep your metabolism from slowing down. But stick to low-GI carbs and wholegrain products, and eat more fruit, legumes and vegetables. After your workout, consume a post-workout shake of three parts carbohydrates and one part protein. Eating a meal several hours later, and then reverse that ratio in your snack after another few hours will keep protein synthesis going by maintaining high amino acid concentrations in the blood.