Exercise and Weight loss Misconceptions
Updated: Jun 6
Weight loss is one of the major reasons why people start an exercise routine but due to the sheer amount of information available on the internet a lot of conflicting information arises. In this article major weight loss myths and misconceptions will be discussed.
Exercise can spot reduce an specific area
Spot reduction is one of the most prevalent myths you'll come across on the internet. Fat loss occurs in a sequence dependent upon gender, hormone levels and genetics. Body fat is lost from different areas at different speeds and is independent of the exercise being done.
Areas with the largest amount of adipose tissue (body fat) lose more amount of fat but they will totally be reduced at the end.
As more body fat is lost, it will result in increase in muscle definition. This will start from the peripheral areas and gradually extend towards the thighs, hips and waist. Increased muscle mass in specific areas can result in change of appearance at that site but will not result in specific loss of body fat.
More Sweat = More Weight loss
Sweating is a natural process by which the human body regulates it's temperature, not an indicator of how much energy is being utilized or how much fat a person is burning. This also applies to sauna's, steam baths and sweat suits. Any changes in weight due to sweating is merely fluid. These fluids will be replaced and the weight will return.
Slow paced exercises like walking and lifting weights that don't necessarily result in sweating are important as they keep the metabolism high and help the body develop lean muscle mass.
No Pain = No Gain
A lot of people think that if they are not sore after a workout they haven't made any progress in their weight loss journey. This might stem from the misconception that muscle soreness translates to fat burned.
In reality, muscle soreness is due to microtrauma sustained by the muscles during a workout especially when the workout is challenging for the involved muscle group. Anytime a person starts a new exercise or increases the weight/resistance of the exercise done routinely , they will end up sore.
As the body begins to adapt to the new routine it will result in less muscle soreness. This shows that the muscles can handle more load but it doesn't mean that you are not getting the benefits of the workout.
Cheat Meals can be offset by increased exercise
A typical, intense 1 hour session can burn between 300-500 calories whereas a cheat meal can easily be over 500 calories. Out exercising a cheat meal or a bad diet is unhelpful and ineffective in the long run. While exercise is important in improving overall health it contributes to weight loss by only 20-30% the rest 70-80% depends on what we eat.
Weight loss Supplements
There are a lot of products that advertise themselves as the next big weight loss supplement. The scientific evidence for most dietary supplements for reducing body weight is not convincing at best. Don't depend on a miracle to pill solve bad diet habits and lack of exercise.
Workout Everyday To See Faster Results
It may come as a shock, excessive exercise is not always better when trying to lose weight. It takes around 24-72 hours for the human body to repair itself after a workout. Muscles suffer micro trauma during workouts, when they are repaired, the muscles get stronger resulting in more muscle mass resulting in more calories burned daily.
Too much exercise can lead to overtraining causing body to under go stress. When the body is stressed it produces a hormone called cortisol. Normal amounts of cortisol are beneficial during episodes of stress but excessive exercise causes overproduction of cortisol. This causes sleep disturbances and increased appetite thus hindering weight loss. Try to include 1-2 rest days per week to allow the body to fully recover.
Cardio is the best way to lose weight
Too many people think that they'll burn more calories during a 45 minute cardio session than a 45 minute weight-lifting session, so they continue to do cardio thinking they will achieve maximum calorie burn. However they fail to account for continuing to burn calories after the workout has ended.
Weight-lifting builds muscle and helps to retain lean muscle mass as more fat is being lost from the body. Lean muscle mass continues to burn calories long after the exercise has ended. This does not mean to completely stop doing cardio. Incorporate a mix of cardio and weight training in workouts to achieve the best results.