Throughout my many years of being in the fitness industry, I have encountered EVERY possible diet and workout fad/misconception you can imagine. But the 3 most common myths that seem to transcend place and time are listed here. If you’ve tried 1, 2 or all 3 of these and you’re not seeing results, here’s why:
Yes, by increasing your cardiovascular activity you will burn more calories, which ultimately will help you lose weight—initially. Cardio has amazing health benefits, among which are: it helps strengthen your heart, helps release endorphins which make you feel good, helps with mental clarity, and of course helps burn calories. But there are two problematic components to solely relying on cardio for LONG TERM weight loss that few people know.
Problem #1: When you first add cardio to your life, you burn more calories than your body was used to burning and therefore tend to drop weight quickly. Fortunately AND unfortunately, our bodies are super efficient and will want to compensate for the extra energy you’re burning. So after a few weeks of cardio, it will use LESS of the energy (calories) than it did when you first started that activity. This means that, for example, if you begin a running regimen of a 30 minute run multiple times a week, in the initial few weeks you may burn 400 calories per run. But after those first few weeks, doing that same 30 minute run may only help you burn half the amount of calories. This is why many people feel like their weight “plateaus” after trying just cardio as means to lose weight for a couple of months.
Problem #2: Once you become “better” at your chosen cardio activity, you’ll tend to increase the amount of time you do it. This is actually BAD, because your body will only burn fat and calories up to a certain point (30-45mins max). After that, you go into burning muscle. You need muscle in order to have low body fat. So too much cardio can actually make you hold on to MORE BODY FAT!
I big mistake A LOT of people make is thinking if they don’t eat all day, they are “conserving” calories. This is BAD for a few reasons.
One, it slows down your metabolism, which is essential for proper digestion and converting food into fuel. If your metabolism is slow, the food you eat will get stored as fat instead of digested for fuel.
Two, you will not be able to control what you eat, because you’ll be starving. So you don’t eat all day, and then you get home and you are ravenous. Not only is this the time you make the WORST food choices, it’s also the WORST time to eat poorly as you will be going to bed shortly after and will not be able to burn those calories!
Three, you won’t be able to control how much you eat. So now it’s night time, you are depleted of fuel and you want to chow down. It takes your brain at least 20 minutes to sense fullness in your stomach. If you go into eating a meal while you’re starving, you will more likely eat and eat and eat and not even notice if you’re eating too much. Then you probably go to bed soon after, which as I mentioned means you’re not burning ANY of those CALORIES, which means they will be stored as FAT! Read my The Right Way to Snack blog to learn how to avoid this way of eating.
The reason I prefer to eat whole foods in their natural state is because it’s the only way to KNOW what I’m eating. Packaged foods are loaded with chemical ingredients you probably can’t even pronounce, let alone understand how they affect your body. Because calorie counting has become THE way in our society to control your diet for weight loss, many of you will eat meals based on calorie count, not realizing the high sugar, high fat and/or poor quality ingredients that come along with those “low calories.” Weight loss is not just about calorie control it’s also about the right types of calories, which you should be getting from protein, healthy fats and quality carbohydrates. If your diet consists mostly of packaged foods, then it’s basically living off of preservatives, added sugars, and/or loads of sodium—in which case your calorie counting isn’t doing you any favors.
Although my blog topics can be very beneficial to your overall health, they are not intended for the purpose of providing medical advice. All content is for informational purposes only and is not intended to serve as a substitute for the consultation, diagnosis, and/or medical treatment of a qualified physician or healthcare provider. Every effort is made to ensure the accuracy of published information on or through my website, blog, e-mails, programs and services. However, the information may inadvertently contain inaccuracies or typographical errors. Every effort has been made to present you with the most accurate, up-to-date information, but because the nature of diet, fitness and health research is constantly evolving, we cannot be held responsible for the accuracy of our content.