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Saturday, July 21, 2012

Do You Know These 5 Common Myths About Exercise and Weight Loss?

Exercise is an important component of the weight loss process, but we need to know the truth about what exercise can and cannot do for us. Here are some of the most common exercise and weight loss myths.

Myth #1 Do not eat before a workout

This is one of the most intriguing myths for me as I have been told that you should have at least a small snack before you exercise. The snack is eaten to provide your body with a ready supply of glucose and the energy that you need for your workout. Food needs to be digested and absorbed before it can provide you with fuel, so large meals need to be eaten 3-4 hours before a workout and lighter snacks 1-2 hours before.

One to two hours before exercise, you can try eating breakfast cereal with milk, liquid meal supplements, cereal bars, yogurt and fruit. If you have less than one hour before you exercise and you need a quick energy burst, try cordial, jelly lollies or sports drinks. This may not be suitable for everybody though. The increase in insulin in response to the increased blood sugars can make your blood sugar drop too low causing fatigue, shakiness and dizziness. You will need to experiment to find out what works for you.

If you exercise in the morning like I do, you should only have a light snack before exercising. I actually prefer not to eat before I exercise so it is really an individual preference and a case of discovering what works for you.

Myth #2: Crunches will get rid of your belly fat

Unfortunately you cannot chose where you are going to lose fat on your body and that includes belly fat. For fat loss you need to combine a good healthy eating plan, cut out any processed foods including sweet drinks, and do a combination of cardiovascular exercise and strength training. Crunches and other strength training exercises will help to tone you up so that you build lean, toned muscle.

Myth #3 Strength building will make women bulk up

A normal strength building plan using light weights, will not make you bulk up if you are a woman. Female body builders spend many dedicated hours in the gym lifting seriously heavy weights. If you keep your program to using light weights with more repetitions (as opposed to fewer repetitions using heavier weights), you will not bulk up.

Keep in mind that a pound of fat takes up at least twice the volume of a pound of muscle. If you lose a pound of fat, but gain a pound of nice lean muscle, you will weigh the same, but your measurements will decrease. This is why it is very important to measure yourself and possibly more important than looking at the numbers on the scales.

Myth #4 When you exercise, fat turns into muscle

This is actually a physical impossibility because fat and muscle are two completely different tissues. It is like saying that an apple can be turned into an orange. They are both fruits but you cannot turn one into the other. When you lose weight and exercise, you lose fat and increase nice lean muscle. Similarly, when you stop exercising, the lean muscle starts to waste away and if you do not eat less, you will start to put on weight (fat). Hence the illusion that muscle is turning into fat.

Myth #5 Muscle burns more calories than fat

This is a very interesting topic of discussion and it is not actually a myth. The reason why I included it is because we don't really know if muscle burns enough calories to make a great deal of difference if we are trying to lose weight. It is very difficult to measure metabolic changes after exercise, and studies vary between 6 calories up to 35 extra calories per pound of muscle for men who lift weights. Whatever we burn, this does not discount the importance of doing weight training to keep our muscular system strong and lean.

While exercise is a very important component of your weight loss plan, it is not the most important part. The most important part is to find a healthy eating plan for weight loss that you can follow. 70% of your success will be achieved through what you eat and 30% through exercise, although exercise plays an essential role in helping you to maintain your weight.

Visit Jan at eating plans for weight loss where you can read my three favorite diet reviews, find out how exercise, sleep and stress affect weight loss and get the latest research on losing weight, nutrition and wellness. Visit today to learn how to stop sugar addiction. Nutrition is my passion.

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