THIS is the first in a series of articles intended to expose our readers to pertinent information regarding their fitness efforts. It is produced mainly on the basis of research done by Rodriguez “Rodja” Constantine of repts. Rodja has over 20 years experience in the field.
The Top 5 Weight Loss Myths
There are so many myths about fitness in general and weight loss in particular – untruths that seem to continue to get buzz no matter how often they are debunked. In the spirit of ditching the fiction in order to drop the weight, I’ve isolated five of the most stubborn fitness myths still making the circuit, along with advice that’ll get your workout on track for success. Each myth has been around as long as I can remember. Each myth has also been debunked for as long as I can remember, yet, myth by myth – each one prevails:
1. Spot Reduction: The plain truth is there is no way to spot-reduce body fat from a specific area. Fat is burned from body areas in genetically pre-determined patterns that have no relationship to the exercises or muscles being used. So no matter how many crunches or triceps kickbacks you do, the excess body fat in your abdomen or upper arms may not budge.
2. Muscle Turns to Fat: This is one of my favourites. The idea that one type of biological tissue (aka muscle) can miraculously turn into a completely different type of biological tissue (aka fat) is far-fetched to say the least. Nevertheless, there are still a lot of people who believe this can happen. Muscle does not turn to fat, nor does fat turn to muscle. However the saying “use it or lose it” is very true when it comes to muscle. If you are not engaging in some sort of physical activity to prevent this it will atrophy, and usually as a result you will gain some body fat as your muscle to body fat ratio moves in the wrong direction: body fat percentage increases as lean mass or muscle mass decreases.
3. Sweating Equals Weight Loss: Sweating is your body’s way of regulating its temperature. As the water evaporates from your skin it creates a cooling effect. This has nothing to do with weight loss especially body fat loss. It may contribute slightly to weight loss in the form of losing water weight, but this is usually reversed when you re-hydrate after a workout. Excessive sweating while working out can actually be dangerous due to the possibility of dehydration in combination with the probability that you’re not drinking enough water as I find with so many clients during my initial consultations with them. Hydration levels help explain why some people will start to sweat with just a mention of working out while others can go crazy in the gym without a sign of the slightest bead. It neither impacts weight loss nor fat loss one way or the other. Another very important note on this is that sitting in a sauna or steam room not only won’t help you lose weight but it is also not a form of exercise.
4. Cardio for Weight Loss: More and more professionals are coming around to the idea that long duration steady-state cardio or as I like to call it, the “hamster on the wheel” type workouts, are really not that efficient. As an alternative, higher intensity intervals (i.e. full body exercises interspersed with plyometric and basic cardio movements) are a great way to reduce the time while cranking up the caloric burn, which can continue long after you’ve completed your session (I’ll discuss why and how this happens in a future article). Another terrific option is strength/cardio cross-training where you are performing bouts of weight lifting with cardio-esque bodyweight moves like jumping jacks and squat thrusts. Yet another change-up is trading in your boring 60-min treadmill trek for 20 minutes of a high-energy game of soccer, volleyball, or basketball. Take your pick and start seeing results.
5. Fat Burning Zones: Step on any piece of cardiovascular equipment, and once you have figured how to turn it on, you will most likely be asked to choose the type of programme you want to perform. A standard choice has always been something called the “fat burning zone.” Conventional wisdom suggests that this is in the 60% percent range of your maximum heart rate and that you not only need to bring your heart rate up to that point for fat burning to occur, but that you also need to maintain that heart rate for at least 20 minutes for a meaningful amount of fat burn to occur. You may also see a diagram telling you the spectrum of intensity where your specific fat burning zone is, giving you the impression that fat is only burned when you are exercising in this magical zone. Truth is, you are burning fat all the time, even while you sit and watch TV. The concept behind these fat burning zones is that you will burn more fat calories by staying at a lower intensity – something these machines profess to help you carefully dial in. Unfortunately, most of the machines at our local gyms are so outdated or poorly maintained that they’ve become unreliable when it comes to the function of accurately monitoring and reporting one’s heart rate. However, a simple heart rate monitor watch can do the trick while providing greater flexibility in monitoring your heart rate during various types of exercises.
Although the principle might be true, the part most people don’t understand is that the total number of calories is more important, even if a higher amount comes from carbohydrates. Ultimately, you will burn both more calories in total and more calories from fat with high intensity, short duration (30 – 45 minute) workouts. So forget the fat burning zones and go for the great overall caloric burn.
In the meantime here’s a fitness programme to help you shed unwanted pounds, trim excess body fat, and sculpt a lean body. Each week, the workouts will become progressively challenging to keep you motivated toward your fitness and weight loss goals. Each exercise should be performed in sequence with one day of rest in between and each should eventually be completed within 30 to 45 minutes. This programme is FREE and available by email to all readers. Personalized programmes are also available for a nominal fee. Subscribe to our website as reptsfitness.com to receivethis week’s workout FREE , or contact us via our website to request your FREE personalized workout programme for one body part of your choosing (i.e. arms, legs, glutes, etc.). Simply provide a brief description of what kind of results you would like and we’ll do the rest. You may also contact Rodja) or visit our website at reptsfitness.com or our facebook page at faceboook.com/repts.fitness for more information and videos.
Rodriguez”Rodja” Constantine is a Certified Personal Trainer, Fitness Consultant and owner of REPTS ( Registered Exercise Professionals & Therapists), a Personal Wellness studio located in Rodney Bay opposite to the North bound Rodney Bay bus stop by RJ Clarke. Rodja has over 20 years fitness experience and through REPTS offers all inclusive upgradeable wellness packages (Personal and small Group Training, Body Analysis, Nutrition Counselling and Planning, NutriCare, FREE Gym Membership, Physio Fitness, and etc.) for one affordable monthly fee. Rodja also designs long term fitness plans and short term workout routines for use at home, your current gym, or when travelling. We invite you to visit REPTS for a free consultation and a tailored programme that will best help you achieve your fitness goal. You may call at anytime at 758-722-3763 during business hours (4:30 a.m. – 10 p.m.) to schedule an FREE consultation and trial session. In addition to training at our Rodney Bay Studio. Call for details.