- Women get bulky from lifting
- Carbs make you fat
- Fruit has too much sugar
- Eating late at night makes you fat
- You need cardio to lose weight
- You can out exercise a bad diet
- Intermittent fasting is magic for fat loss
These are all common things that I hear from not only new clients, but in the fitness space in general that people still believe. In this article we will go over why each one of these things is not true and what you really need to do in order to achieve your fitness goals.
- Women do not get bulky from lifting. Women are still women no matter how much weight they lift. The hormone profile difference between men and women is huge. As we all know testosterone is a huge factor that helps men get big from lifting. Women can still gain muscle but the bulky look that you are thinking of only really happens in women that are eating a huge surplus of calories, and possibly taking performance enhancing hormones. As a woman you will get a better, more shapely physique from lifting weights, have better bone density, and be able to burn more fat. But trust me, you will not look like a bodybuilder or a man.
- Carbs are not the enemy like the industry would lead you to believe. No one nutrient makes you gain weight, it is consuming an excess of calories that do. In fact, carbs are relatively low in calories per gram in comparison to fats and alcohol (carbs contain 4 calories per gram, where fats are 9 calories and alcohol is 7 calories) so you can actually eat more carbs and get less calories than you can with fats. It’s all about calorie balance.
- Fruit isn’t unhealthy. This goes along with this carb debate. Fruit tends to be high in fiber and low in calories so it is normally a great option for someone who is dieting and just wanting to be healthy over all because of the high vitamin and mineral content in most fruit. Have you ever heard of someone getting fat from eating too many apples… I didn’t think so.
- It doesn’t matter when you eat. This comes back to calorie balance (I know, I sound like a broken record). It doesn’t matter if you eat all your calories right before bed, or in the morning, your body sees an energy balance. It’s not like the calories count for more if you eat them after 6pm. It does tend to be better to eat more of your calories around your training so you can have a better training session, but other than that there isn’t evidence to support eating late at night causes more fat gain.
- Oh cardio… people think they NEED cardio to lose weight. No, not true. Cardio can help you burn more calories but you are going to make a much bigger impact on your weight from watching what you eat rather than increasing your exercise.
- You will NOT out-exercise a bad diet. Refer to the point above. You are not Michael Phelps. You are not burning a huge amount of calories per day and you don’t have the time to commit hours upon hours to exercising everyday. The amount of calories you burn from exercise is actually relatively small in comparison to the amount your calories can increase from eating “a little extra”. People tend to overestimate the amount of calories they burn (and effort they put in) from exercise by about 50%, and the same thing goes for the amount of food that you think you ate…you tend to underestimate by 50%. Just watch your diet more closely, that’s the best use of your energy.
- Intermittent fasting isn’t what will make you lose fat. Yes, it has its benefits but the benefits come from the fact that this strategy naturally puts you in a position where you are eating less calories over time. Think about it… if you are only allotted one small window of time to eat all of your food for the day you are going to naturally eat less calories. It’s pretty hard to eat more than 2500 calories in one sitting, especially if you are eating healthy high fiber food (I know I have done it)! So the only special thing about intermittent fasting or any diet strategy for that matter is that they all in some way get you to eat less calories. You should be doing this in whatever way you like best.
So, here’s the real truth…
To get to your fitness goals you need to:
- Strength train regularly
- Eat a balance of carbs, proteins, and fats
- Eat the damn apple
- Eat whenever is convenient for you, and eat a little around your workouts
- Do some cardio to get some additional calorie burn but pay more attention to diet
- Pay attention to your diet over your specific training for fat loss
- All diet strategies that cause you to decrease your calorie consumption will help you lose fat