The fitness industry is full of myths, misconceptions and bad information. When starting out in your Fitness Journey it’s hard to know what is right, what is wrong and how to tell the difference. I’m sharing this information with you today to make sure that you’re not wasting your time by doing and believing things which are not true and prevent you to reach your goals!

1. FAT LOSS HAS TO BE SLOW AND STEADY

“The Association Between the Rate of Initial Weight Loss and Long-Term Success in Obesity Treatment: Does Slow and Steady Win the Race?”

  • 262 obese women were put on a 6-month weight loss plan
  • After one month of weight loss, they were classified as either fast, moderate or slow weight loss
  • After 6 Months the “fast group” lost the most weight!
  • After 18 months they looked at who had kept more than 10% bodyweight off (10Kg)
  • In the “fast” group over 50% had kept more than 10% off compared to only 17% of individuals in the slow group

Nackers, Ross and Perri (2010)

Myth – Fat Loss Has To Be Slow and Steady

We are often told fat loss has to be sustainable if people are to stick to their diet. So, we look to make small changes of 250-500 calories in order to create a small and sustainable rate of fat loss. This means you will be able to stick to the plan and means better results right? Wrong. In this study by Nackers (2010) showed that the people losing at the quickest rate of fat loss in the first month (fast group) not only lost more weight than the slow group after 6 months (13.5Kg v 5.1 Kg) they were also nearly five times more likely to have kept off more than 10% of their body weight 18 months later! Losing fat quickly can be very motivating and for some people and if you only ever preacher “slow and steady” you run the risk of losing motivation with time. Is quicker fat loss right for all clients? Absolutely not, but it’s not wrong for all people’s either. Both quick and slow rates of fat loss can work well, it simply depends on who you are and how you want to play the game!

Truth – Quicker Rates of Weight Loss Can Produce Better Results Long-Term 

 

2. SLOW METABOLISMS CAUSE WEIGHT GAIN

“Does Basal Metabolic Rate Predict Weight Gain?”

  • 750 overweight people had their metabolism measured
  • They were then ranked into the highest 15% (2000 calories) and the lowest 15% (1500 calories) and their weight tracked over 7 years

Myth – Slow Metabolisms Cause Weight Gain

Many individuals see their “slow metabolism” as the cause for their weight gain and their inability to lose weight. However in this study despite burning over 500 calories per day less those individuals with the lowest metabolisms actually gained less weight than those with “fast metabolisms”. The researchers commented “in the real world, people start and stop diets, exercise programs, and medications that may affect weight. We suggest that these factors are far more effective than BMR is in predisposing individuals to weight gain”.

You are not destined for weight gain due to slower metabolism and you need to instil the habits and behaviours that help to manage your own “calorie budget” through nutritional and exercise interventions.

Truth – Metabolism Plays a Negligible Role in Weight Gain

3. NO PAIN, NO GAIN

Effects of a Modified German Volume Training Program on Muscular Hypertrophy and Strength

19 trained young men started a resistance training programme for 6 weeks

One group performed 5 sets of 10 reps on the main lifts while the other did 10 sets of 10 (known as German Volume Training) 

Myth – When It Comes To Exercise More Is Better

It’s common to see gym-folk putting themselves through tough workouts. Many places an emphasis on tiring them out and celebrating the resulting muscle soreness in the following days. If some is good then more is better, right? Wrong, as the results of this study highlight.

Think of the analogy of sunbathing (exercise) and getting a tan (building muscle getting stronger etc). When you go to the beach you are looking to get tanned, too much sun and you get burnt. This not only stops you from sunbathing in the coming days it can also result in you peeling and losing most of the tan you had been trying to build up. We need the right amount of sun for our skin type and as we develop a tan over time we can tolerate more and more time in the sun. Exercise is no different. We need the right amount for our current fitness levels, any more than that and we actually see worse results!

Truth – Doing Too Much Can Lead to Worst Results. You Do Not Need “Beasting”

 

4. CLEAN FOODS ARE BETTER FOR FAT LOSS

Professor Mark Haub transitioned from… 

Myth – “Clean” Eating Is Better for Weight Loss

If total calorie intake is kept consistent then no specific types of food will elicit more or less weight loss. However “Clean Foods” are often high in volume & low in calories. Leading to improved appetite control. Therefore food quality is indirectly very important for dieting.

For most people, a diet made of 100% “clean foods” is unlikely to promote adherence and could lead to more issues. Having a flexible approach to food choices is likely to be an advantage for most people. This flexible approach must be balanced by acknowledging that it is unlikely an individual will be able to lose weight with a high percentage of high energy-dense foods in their diet due to compromised satiety.

Aside from the physiological impact of different food choices, using the words “clean vs dirty” when referring to foods may prompt an unhealthy relationship with eating and food for certain individuals.

Truth – When Total Calorie Intake Is Controlled There Are no Foods That Will elicit More or Less Weight Loss.

 

5. WE CAN TARGET WHERE WE LOSE FAT FROM 

No specific diet or type of exercise will control where we lose body fat from. Our body fat stores decrease like emptying water from a swimming pool…

There are large individual variations in where different people will lose body fat from faster or slower.

Myth – We Can Target What Part of our Body Fat We Lose Fat From…

“Spot reduction” is physiologically impossible. Any product or service (apart from surgical techniques) claiming to be able to target where on the body, fat is lost from are likely to be either unknowingly or knowingly misleading customers.

While we can’t offer “Spot Reduction” we can “Spot Enhance” through the targeted use of exercise to develop the mass muscle in certain areas.

Truth – Regardless of How We Lose Body Fat Where on our Body It Comes From Is Outside of our Control.

6. SWEETENERS CAN DAMAGE YOUR HEALTH

What Actually Are Sweeteners Made of?

Aspartame is the most prevalent “artificial sweetener” It’s made up of three ingredients:

  1. Phenylalanine – AA found naturally in Protein
  2. Aspartic acid – AA found naturally in Protein
  3. Methanol – Toxic in high levels however its perfectly safe in small doses

There’s less Methanol in Aspartame than many fruit juices!

Are They Damaging for Health? 

The current safe (and conservative) Acceptable Daily Intake is set at 40 Milligrams per Kg Per Day

Myth – Sweeteners Damage Health

A low intake of Sweeteners is unlikely to be damaging for health. As with any substance, the “dose makes the poison”. However, there is no need to “force” their inclusion into an individual’s diet. Individualise the quality and inclusion of artificial sweeteners in a weight loss program based on your preferences. If you are consuming large amounts of sugar (and calories) replacing these foods and beverages with calorie-free alternatives may be an incredibly simple intervention to improve your health.

Truth – When Consumed in Low Amounts Sweeteners Are Unlikely To Have a Negative Impact on Health.

7. PERSONAL TRAINERS CAN MOTIVATE YOU

Myth – The Personal Trainer Motivates You

What Self-Determination Theory, a theory about where motivation comes from, states is that motivation is something that comes from within us. It has helped us understand that the role as personal trainers is to create a motivational environment by supporting your basic psychological needs for autonomy, competence and relatedness.

A Personal Trainer cannot “motivate” you, but can create an environment where you feel like you have control and choice (autonomy) as you can succeed and that you have challenges equal to your level of skill (competence) and that you feel like you belong and accepted (relatedness). In the end, YOU have to be determined to achieve your goals. Your personal trainer can’t train and eat for you. 

Truth – A Personal Trainer Creates A Motivational Environment

 

8. EXERCISE IS GREAT FOR WEIGHT LOSS

“The Role of Exercise and Physical Activity in Weight Loss and Maintenance”

For most people, the main fitness goal is often synonymous with weight loss. However, very few of them understand how little fat loss exercise alone produces. In most cases less than 2 Kg!

Myth – Exercise Is Great For Weight Loss

Unless you do lots of exercise (250-300 minutes per week) you will lose only small amounts of bodyweight. However, armed with this information you can better focus your attention to the big rocks that matters such as diet, sleep, recovery and daily activity and thus get better results! In fact, focusing too much on burning calories during sessions can lead to other compensations in which your rest and eat more, undermining their results! If you want to be able to reach your goal, you need to understand that going to the gym won’t be enough if you don’t look after the others parts of the equation.

Truth – Exercise Alone Only Creates A Small Amount Of Weight Loss