Man, there’s a lot of crap out there. I mean, the internet is usually filled with crap. But when it comes to fat loss, there’s an abundance of it. When I meet with a new client, they usually come with some misconceptions they’ve either read or their old trainer drilled into their head like clockwork. And while everyone’s entitled to their own opinion, some things just aren’t a subjective discussion.
So without further ado, here are seven fat loss myths you need to stop believing. Now. Like right now.
MYTH 1: YOU CAN’T EAT CARBS
You can *absolutely* eat carbs and lose fat. Fact.
If you follow a keto diet and you love it, awesome. I, on the other hand, love pizza. And I ain’t giving that up anytime soon (cheese or pepperoni, nothing fancy…I do accept pineapple on pizza occasionally…oh and jalapenos…with hot honey).
Now you might be saying to yourself, “But Dan, I cut out bread, bagels, and muffins and lost 10 pounds! What’s the deal?”
I’m sure you did. I’m also sure the reason you lost that weight had nothing to do with carbs and everything to do with your total reduction of calorie intake.
In order to lose fat, you need to be in a calorie deficit. You need to be expending more energy than you’re consuming. Fact.
The reason many people associate carb-less diets with fat loss is because most of the carbs people consume are very high in calories. And by cutting them out of their diet completely, they’re reducing their total calorie intake and effectively going into a deficit.
But hey, if you don’t want to eat carbs and it makes you feel better, you do you. I’m not here to talk shit about keto or any other diet. More pasta for me.
MYTH 2: YOU CAN’T EAT PAST 8PM
Au contraire mon frère. Yes you can.
Think about it this way. What’s your go to late night snack when you’re feeling peckish (or bored)? Is it ice cream? Chips? Peanut butter?
The reason you think you can’t eat past 8pm has nothing to do with timing and everything to do with the fact that the foods you typically eat late at night are high in calories. Thus, putting you into a calorie surplus.
You can eat at whatever time you want and still lose fat. As long as you’re still in a deficit. Fact.
MYTH 3: YOU NEED TO TRAIN 6-7 TIMES PER WEEK
Nope. Not even close. Actually, often times less is more.
I get it. You’re a go getter, type-A motherfucker who thinks if they’re doing anything less than all-out, you’re doing it wrong. And I can appreciate that.
But here’s the thing…you’d probably (read: definitely) get more out of your training (particularly when it comes to fat loss) if you backed off on the frequency and increased the intensity.
Remember, if you can’t sustain the methods, you won’t sustain the results. Training intensely a few days a week is great, and if you’re the type of person who needs to do something every day, use the other days as “active recovery”.
Instead of trying to go all out in the gym every day, pick 2-4 days where you really push it with the weights. The other days maybe try something a little less intense like steady state cardio (walking is so underrated) or mobility work.
You’ll be stronger and feel better because of it. You’ll also lose fat more effectively because you’re giving your body the recovery it needs to reap the rewards of your strength training. Which will increase your body’s lean muscle and metabolic rate, both essential for not just losing fat, but keeping it off.
MYTH 4: YOU NEED TO DO EXCESSIVE AMOUNTS OF CARDIO
Most people equate cardio to fat loss because it makes them sweat. But in reality, sweating has literally nothing to do with fat loss.
While cardio is obviously important for your overall health (cause you know, your heart is pretty important), it’s not essential for fat loss.
MYTH 5: FAT BURNING (DIARRHEA) TEAS
MYTH 6: YOU NEED TO DO INTERMITTENT FASTING
While fasting can be beneficial for fat loss, it’s not that fasting is a magical pill that causes you to lose fat. It’s the fact that you’re reducing your “eating window”, which in turn reduces the total amount of calories you’re consuming.
Note: Intermittent fasting can possibly have some negative effects for women. Always consult a dietician or your doctor before making any drastic changes to your diet.
MYTH 7: YOU NEED TO BURN A TON OF CALORIES WHEN YOU WORK OUT
The moment you STOP worrying about how many calories you burned during your workout and START lifting heavy is when you’ll lose fat and actually keep it off.
While circuits and HIIT and all that other cool stuff might be good for burning calories during your workout, the benefits (from a fat loss perspective) pretty much stop there.
Strength training, on the other hand, helps you burn calories after your workouts and throughout the rest of the day. The stronger you are, the more lean muscle you’re carrying. The more lean muscle you have, the higher your metabolic rate is. The higher your metabolism, the more energy you’re expending all the time.
Strength training just doesn’t get you stronger (which is already awesome), it builds an engine that keeps fat off.
Focus on the long run, this isn’t a race. Practice methods you can sustain and you’ll be able to sustain the results. Sleep 7-9 hours every night. Eat protein. Lift. And enjoy it!