In this digital era, we get most of our advice online where there is a lot of misleading information, especially on the topic of fitness. Can you spot reduce tummy fat with ab exercises? Is cardio the best way lose weight? You get the gist.
As a fitness coach, I have clients bombarding me daily with questions about all kinds of fitness claims they’ve read on the internet or heard from a friend. So to clarify these confusing claims, here are my 5 of my most asked questions. Let’s bust some myths shall we?
1. I want to lose fat around my stomach, so I should do more abdominal workouts
FALSE! The majority of the population think that they can spot reduce fats. Here’s the truth, unfortunately our body doesn’t lose fat based on the area we train, rather it depends on the total energy expenditure throughout the workout.
Try this instead: Work on movements that involve the whole body eg. squats, deadlifts & overhead presses if you want to lose fats efficiently.
Why? Because compound movements burn far more calories than just crunches or any other abdominal workout. AND not to forget, abs are made in the kitchen too!
2. Running is the only way to lose fat
FALSE! Running is definitely NOT the only way to lose fat. While it is true that running helps to lose weight, it’s not the most efficient way to do so. In fact, it is a very inefficient way to lose fat because it consumes a lot more time and when you are running , you are constantly stressing your body with your own weight. That impact does no good to the body in the long term especially to people who are overweight.
I am not saying that no one should ever run! If you enjoy running, by all means go ahead or if the sport that you play requires you to do a lot of running, sure. But if you are trying to lose some fat, there are more effective ways to do so.
Try this instead: With that being said, strength training would be more efficient if you are trying to lose fat and at the same time build muscles, as muscle tissue burns more calories, even when you are at rest.
3. It is best to workout on an empty stomach
FALSE! Before every session with my clients, the first question I ask is if they have eaten something. If they say no, I will send them back. Yes, I’m serious!
Working out with an empty stomach will result in poor performance and you may even risk injuring yourself. You can’t expect to train efficiently when there is no fuel in the body.
Working out on an empty stomach could also lead to a reduction in overall lean tissue because the body will then have to use protein as fuel, which is needed to build and repair muscle after exercise. Another possibility is that your body will adjust to continually using fat reserves for energy, and start to store more fat than usual.
4. Men and women should train differently
Yes and no. Yes, because women naturally have a better cardiovascular capacity than men. This means they respond better to shorter rest periods and at any given percentage in weight training, women can also perform more repetitions than men.
No, they should not train differently in the sense of exercise selection and/or method of training.
5. I should work out EVERYDAY
FALSE! 4 times a week for most is enough as long as their programme is structured and progressive. It doesn’t matter if you are training for fat loss or strength, recovery is very important to ensure longevity.
But that doesn’t mean you should just be a couch potato on your rest day. Spend your rest day doing some active recovery activities—work on mobility, stretch or even just by walk around the mall!
There are still a lot of questions I would love to address but these are the most common ones I get asked on a day to day basis. I hope this helps clarify things and that you’ve learnt something new today! Train HARD, but more importantly train SMART!