OK, the soap box is out, this is what’s really annoying: When people tell you what you need to do to reach a specific goal or weight and, ultimately, it’s a load of rubbish. It’s even more annoying that some people charge for the pleasure but I’ll save that harangue for another time…
“Do [insert rubbish tips] and you’ll lose a shed load of weight, it will only take 10 minutes.” – Say again?
Personally, I don’t mind taking advice or guidance from anybody, providing it’s accurate and reliable source. Neither should you! Free advice, why wouldn’t you?
Having said that, there’s a lot of dangerous, sometimes even humorous, suggestions which are basically a load of rubbish. Rather than challenging people individually, I decided to compile a list of the nonsense I hear most:
#1 – Hit light weights for loads of reps
So, they want you to do 3 sets of 3,000 reps (I’ve heard it)?
It’s partially correct, in the sense of, getting tired whilst you’re training will help to accelerate fat loss and lifting to failure or your one-rep max is ultimately going to help you increase your muscle mass, especially if you’re eating a lot. That said, there’s no real need to sacrifice your strength as that’s all you’ll be doing – sacrificing strength.
“Lift to the point of exhaustion and it doesn’t matter whether the weights are heavy or light.” Is the advice from Prof. Stuart Phillips, PhD.
#2 – Increase your meal frequency
This one might work for you but it really does depend on you as an individual and increasing your meal frequency alone will not account for any fat loss or muscle gain.
As an example, if you’re supposed to eat 1,800 calories in a day, why does it matter whether that’s three-600 calorie meals or five-360 calorie meals? It all depends on how you feel as an individual, you might not be a big eater or get hungry all the time so a more frequent meal may benefit you.
For many people, small and often is better as it’s excellent for helping you to handle cravings as you’ll be eating regularly, rather than having 5-6 hour breaks between meals. Again, it’s all dependant on personal preference but there is no ‘scientific proof’ to back up point 2.
#3 – Do a load of cardio
Hmmm! Looking at the facts, more muscle helps your metabolism stay high (or increases it if you start to build muscle mass). So, if you overindulge in cardio, you’ll get the same effect as when you overindulge in other things, such as pizza (pizza’s good but just don’t eat too much!)
You’ll get to the stage where your body is using everything as energy, so not just the carbohydrates and fats you get from foods but also your muscle mass which, as we now know, can become counter-productive. Cardio is good (not fun, I didn’t say fun), but you need to train smart and ensure that you don’t overdo it.
#4 – Don’t eat fat
This one may surprise you but fat-free foods tend to be overly full of sugar to compensate for the low amounts of fats. Here’s a tip:
Eat fat to burn fat (but not too much)
Fat-free foods also tend to sacrifice essential nutrients to compensate for the reduction in fat. So if you want low fat foods, buy low fat foods but be really careful what alternatives you’re consuming. Let’s take milk as an example, nutritionally speaking, whole milk is better for you than skimmed milk, it’s just more calorie dense and higher in fats.
#5 – Carbs are bad for you
So we’ve moved from fats to carbs, both of which are the body’s main sources to get energy from. Have you ever seen anybody on a zero or low carb diet? They hardly have enough energy to be awake so hopefully, that doesn’t inspire you too much.
Carbohydrates are essential to give you energy and making you feel full. Having the wrong carbs, such as simple carbs can spike your insulin levels, making you feel overly fatigued.
#6 – Natural/organic/gluten free foods are better for fat loss
Let’s be serious, gluten free foods are essential for people with a gluten intolerance and whether the food is organic or not, a healthy diet is essential for fat loss – it doesn’t matter where the broccoli was grown.
Speak to your doctor or a registered healthcare practitioner if you think you have any specific food intolerances or show any symptoms of food intolerance but don’t eat food designed for people with such conditions as an endeavour to lose fat.
#7 – Fasted cardio is essential
Well it’s true, it does burn more fat, well slightly.
Without overcomplicating it: If you eat more than you burn off, you’re going to gain weight. So eat at a calorific deficit (or burn off more than you eat), that’s the only way you’re going to lose weight.
You’ll need to do cardio but do it when you want to whether that’s the first thing in the morning, the last thing at night or straight after a workout.
#8 – You can eat what you want as long as you cook it a certain way?
Chip butty gains, really? You need the right amount of macronutrients in your body so, replacing lard with a low-calorie spray isn’t going to help you get any results (sorry!)