The trick to developing a healthy lifestyle, and the body that comes with it, is figuring what is true and what isn’t when it comes to working out and eating right. For example, how healthy are no carb diets and do they work? After all, didn’t your neighbor’s third cousin twice removed lose a ton of weight on one?
A mix of common sense and research will help you tell the difference between a smart choice and a promotional gimmick or even a misunderstood fact. Consider some fitness myths you have probably heard and why they are untrue.
Get Your Cardio First
This one is as much common sense as it is exercise science. If you spend 30 minutes on the treadmill before you workout, where is the energy to power your strength training going to come from?
The truth is that cardiovascular exercises burns through glycogen -- that’s stored energy. By doing your cardio first, you reduce the levels of stored glycogen. Strength training first also increases levels of hormones like cortisol that motivate you to move when it comes time for cardio.
About Those Sports Drinks
People think gulping down a sugary sports drink will revitalize their electrolytes, but what a working body really needs is water. Again, let common sense dictate your fitness strategy. If you are trying to improve your health and fitness, how does drinking a bottle of sugar accomplish that goal?
If you do find during and after an intense cardio session that a bottled water isn’t enough, consider an enhanced water or an alkaline water instead of the sugar-based drinks that are just dressed up soda and salt. Enhanced waters contains minerals and electrolytes that improve your hydration and workout performance without the calories and chemicals.
Top Rated Natural Fat Loss Supplement
Enter to win a FREE 3-month supply of multi-functional weightloss + metabolism booster Fat Burner Plus
Be Sure to Stretch
There is a little bit of a debate about this one but the current theory supports a dynamic warmup instead of static stretching. The goal is to warm up the muscles and although both forms of warmup do that, static stretching has been shown to relax the muscles and reduce the stretch response (stored energy in muscles and tendons).
To help avoid injury, your body needs a warmup before you challenge it with vigorous exercise. For example, instead of static thigh and hamstring stretches, try a compound movement like walking lunges as part of a dynamic warm-up routine. These type of dynamic warmups burn calories and get your ready to work at the same time.
Cardio Means Weight Loss
People think cardio equates to fat burning and weight loss, but that’s not exactly true. Weight training is the more effective tool for weight loss because burns fat in a way cardio never will. Why? EPOC! (Exercise Post Oxygen Consumption). When you do cardio, you pretty much only burn calories while you're running. Studies show that with weight training, the metabolism can remain elevated for upwards of 36 hours post-workout. That means after you've workout, and you're vegging out in the evening watching Netflix, your body is burning more calories than normal – big win!
The ultimate goal with weight loss is to burn calories more than you consume. Your body is going to burn a certain amount just to keep your heart beating. The activities you do throughout the day burn even more whether it's a morning run or carrying groceries from the car to the kitchen. It all factors into the calorie-burning equation. Once you burn 3,500 more calories than you eat, your body uses a pound fat to make up the difference.
Weight training adds muscle to your body and muscle acts like a furnace to amp up your metabolism. With that additional fat-burning muscle, your body can reach the 3,500-calorie goal that much quicker. You can also add a supplement to your daily routine to naturally increase your metabolism and improve your fat burning even more.
The Number on the Scale Means Everything
The scale gets WAY too much attention when it comes to fitness. Body mass is a much better indicator of health and progress because muscle is far more dense than fat. Two people of the same body type, one overweight and one fit, could weight exactly the same amount.
Body mass, that’s the amount of fat on your body, paints a much more complete picture of your heath. Take this scenario: Say you've started a new diet and exercise routine and your body mass goes from 30 BMI to 27, that's a major accomplishment and something to be proud of! Your clothes will fit different, and you'll notice a change in the mirror.
The thing is, your body most likely replaced some fat with some muscle, and if you were only using a scale to monitor progress, you may actually see your weight increase. That increase on the scale is huge mental blow, and more often than not, can even cause you to completely bail on your exercise routine - and all for nothing!
Doing Crutches Means Great Abs
Doing crunches can help to sculpt your abs, but you first need to strengthen your core (and then lose extra belly fat to see them)! The truth is that what you eat is what matters most if you want a flat belly. You'll often hear it said that, "great abs are made in the kitchen". You can’t get it by simply doing 100 crunches a day and ignoring your diet.
Aside from your diet, start by focusing on your core. Strengthening your core through compound movements like squats, deadlifts and pull-ups is the foundation of good six-pack. Once you have something to sculpt, then it's time to work in the ab routine.
And What About Those No Carb Diets
Yep, those drastic (dreaded) no carb diets that are so popular these days. There is only one way to lose weight and that is by burning more calories than you eat. People who follow an extreme no-carb diet do just that but not in a healthy way.
Carbohydrates play a role in body functions. They are the fuel source, and, without them, you suffer. You might experience loss of bone density, muscle cramps and even digestive issues like constipation.
A better approach is to balance out the three macronutrients to create a sustainable diet plan. After all, you can’t go your whole life without eating carbs and stay well, so focus more on balance and low calories. A healthy and balanced diet typically involves 50 percent carbs, 30 percent protein and 20 percent healthy fats. Balance and moderation my friends – that's how you achieve results that last a lifetime!