Fact or Fiction? Do you fall for these Fat Loss Myths?
By Joshua Trentine, IDFA Pro Heavyweight
Boldly succeeding by applying truth in a world mainly directed by false advertising requires understanding. How many of the most popular pitfalls do you know how to recognize on sight?
Cellulite is a word coined to help European salons and spas describe the dimpled condition of customers’ thighs and buttocks. Nicole Ronsard brought this term to American women in her 1973 book, Cellulite: Those Lumps, Bumps and Bulges You Couldn’t Lose Before. Absolving women of guilt because they didn’t understand the problem nor did they possess the tools of her beauty salon. She attempted to convince women that they have a special kind of fat run amok thriving on toxic waste that the body is powerless to eliminate. Today, legions of anti-cellulite products are hawked by multi-level-marketing companies and Internet web sites. Not far behind all the hype and hoopla is the FTC taking action against the marketers of most cellulite-reducing products. Get results by first getting the facts: cellulite can only be eliminated by losing body fat via a calorie restricted diet and maintaining lean muscle; this can only be done via strength exercise.
Toning and firming are buzz words that appeal to people but have no basis for meaning, biologically speaking. Use of these terms when speaking to a medical professional reveals that you are unschooled in how the body works. These are simply marketing words meant to lull people to a false sense of security to get them to part with their money for whatever pill, potion, or program advertised—and all without fear of working too hard, adding muscle and becoming the next Arnold or Suzie Schwarzenegger. Unfortunately, out of necessity to attract people, most specifically women, to the exercise arena, savvy marketers dating back to the 1950’s have created an imaginary divergence in the minds of people about what is required to get the desirable appearance from strength training.
Everyone needs to understand that the results sought are dictated by genetics which can be improved upon and controlled only by changing the body-shaping tissues we are born with. The majority of people, not using performance enhancing drugs, simply cannot become too muscular; most are in a constant battle and losing something closer to a pound of muscle per year past age 35. One who is aggressively strength training will be lucky to maintain their muscle mass as they advance in age.
The thought of becoming too muscular from strength training is irrational and only perpetuated by the media and marketers. Rest assured that if one ever did get too muscular in a particular part of the body, they would stop training that particular body-part for a few weeks and it will atrophy back to its original size. But back off too much or too frequently and the whole body will become shapeless and baggy. You see our body shape comes from its underlying bone structure and its muscle; overlying fat provides the body’s curves. Fat can be appealing when kept in check and only when there is sufficient underlying supportive muscle. Muscle is the foundation of our shape, metabolism and our functional ability: Become as lean as possible (or reasonable) via calorie control and as strong and enduring as possible through consistent high-intensity strength training. Then let nature do the rest.
Spot Reduction, the idea that one can get rid of fat in some “problem area” by exercising that part of the body is perhaps the most popular myth in fitness. This myth assumes:
- You burn a significant number of extra calories due to the exercise for that particular body part—improbable.
- You burn extra calories exclusively in the area targeted for spot reduction—impossible.
- Your fat stores replenish the deficient energy substrate instead of calories from diet—improbable.
- Your liver mobilizes fat specifically from the area targeted—improbable.
A good analogy is if you grab a bucket and start bailing water from one end of the pool you do not see water level change on one side of the pool as compared to the other…the water is lost from the pool uniformly. Fat is mobilized systemically as opposed to locally from one specific or targeted location.
The too-tight pants test. Dare to be objective…this is the easiest cheapest way to make assessments about the effectiveness of your diet and exercise for fat-loss. Select a pair of non-stretch slacks or jeans you no longer wear because they are too uncomfortably tight. If from week to week and month to month these pants are easier to slip on then you are becoming leaner. This test is as good as any fancy body fat measuring device. Likewise, this test works in reverse as well. If the test pants begin to feel tight once again, then most likely you are regaining fat, signaling the imperative for you to redouble your efforts of rechecking your food diary and portion sizes.
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