23 January 2015

Common weight loss misconceptions


So, I thought I'd add in some pointers for those who want to begin a healthier or more active lifestyle to lose weight or get fitter and stronger. I figured that you should learn or know the basics on how I started. I can't promise you a success but as long as you know, you can use the information to your advantage.

A lot of the information below I basically learnt from my fiancé. If I didn't understand or wasn't not completely certain about it, I would make the effort to find an article and read up about it. Knowledge and the internet it your friend! :)
Eating less means weight loss?
Yes and no.

If you're one of those old Asian lady folk who believe not eating is a means to lose weight. You've got it completely wrong. Don't follow those Korean pop idol crazy "one meal a day" diet fads. Those are extremely unhealthy and starving yourself basically means you'll be switching your body onto starvation mode, which will retain and reserve your fat as energy before reaching out to burn your lean tissue and muscle. So, you will lose weight but that's just valuable muscle and tissue. You'll have plenty of fat and cellulite.

When I meant 'yes', you may have to consume less than you already do. Get a calorie counting app like MyFitnessPal to track your eating. So, ideally to healthily lose weight you should be eating more and when I mean more, you should be consuming at least six meals (breakfast, snack, lunch, snack, dinner, snack) throughout the day. Don't go overboard. They should be controlled consumption within your daily intake.

Lifting weights will make you bulky?
Honey, no. Before I started lifting, I was also in this same boat. I was very sceptical however I trusted my fiancé and started learning to lift weights. The result? I am so fucking addicted that he tells me I lift too much and too often.

Lifting weights will build your muscles, the more muscles you have the better your body burns fat. You'll start looking more toned and have more curves. Plus, strength training and weight lifting have proven to be much more beneficial than cardio in terms of fat burning.

Girls do not produce enough testosterone to gain bulky-like muscles like men. If you want to bring in these champion bodybuilding women, that's a different story. There are also beautifully toned female body builders who remain in their femme, curvy petite frame:

Michelle Lewin
Stephanie Davis
Bella Falconi
They look amazing right? Maybe a bit much to regular girls but they look healthy, fit and strong.

If you still don't believe me, read this entry by Kellie Davis: http://www.bodybuilding.com/fun/8-reasons-women-should-lift-weights.html

Cardio VS Weight lifting
Everyone has a different take. Cardio burns more calories and helps you lose weight faster meanwhile weight training makes you build muscle and not lose weight as fast (muscle weighs more than fat). So what do you do?

This article basically sums it all up: http://www.bodybuilding.com/fun/8-reasons-women-should-lift-weights.html

In brief, cardio will make you skinny and it reaches in to burn your muscles too. Prime examples to look at are cyclists and marathon runners. They exert so much energy into lengthy cardio they end up quite thin.

Lifting weights/strength training adds tone and sculpts your figure. You hold more muscle but retain less fat than a cardio bunny. Ideal examples to look at are the bikini competitors, figure bodybuilders and athletes. 

Oh and for the record, you may burn more calories doing cardio but weightlifting ensures you continue to burn calories even after you've finished. 

Squatting for smaller legs?
Squats are a strength based type of exercise. While they are great for your body they won't make your thighs into supermodel stick-thin sausages. If you want thinner thighs then opt for HIIT sprints or LISS walks for fat burning. Squats build muscle which will inevitably tone your legs, make them fell thicker and give it more shape with the added bonus of a booty. But to slim those thighs, cardio works best.

Reducing your problem areas?
No such thing exists. Because if it did, we'd have millions of happy and perfectly carved women of their dreams. So think about it. You can't change your genetics unless you decide to go under the knife for alterations. However, you can target and workout the area to maximise your results. Most importantly, you need decrease the fat within your body before you actually start seeing results. Before you know, your "problem area" may end up being your most loved spot. Don't hate, embrace it.

Eat clean, train mean.
It is important to aid weight loss that you eat clean, healthily or at least control your portions and make sure you work hard to burn it off. Calorie deficit is key. If you burn off more than you eat, it will be easy.

But remember, one healthy meal does not equate to instantaneous weight loss in 24 hours. It is an ongoing journey, however hard you strive to reach your goal. It took me at least three months to completely drop off 10kgs/22lbs. That was while learning to control calorie intake and minimising it down to 1,200 cals per day, with ONE cheat meal per week along with regular cardio and weight training. If you're more controlled and serious, it will happen faster.

Too busy or poor for a gym?
That's the poorest excuse anyone can make. That's your little white lie to say 'I'm lazy' and you know it. I've been there before. You don't even need a full hour at the gym. Thirty minutes a day is enough. You can devise strength training at home and even HIIT circuits that target cardio. You only need a pair of dumbbells or even a skipping rope. But my most ideal and favourite home workout is going for a 30-45 minute power walk around the neighbourhood. What is so hard about that?

However, paying for a gym membership should motivate you to go and use the facilities and even attend classes in order to not waste your money. If you're unsure how to use a machine or how to perform an exercise, ask someone or a personal trainer. But, go at your own pace and when you're ready, kick it up a notch by increasing weights or running that extra minute.

But I sweat like a bitch at the gym all the time!
I think everyone makes this mistake! 

Firstly, the only reason you sweat is because its basically your body trying to cool itself down. It isn't exactly your fat's funeral. I mean seriously think about it. If you're sitting at a table eating a regular hot bowl or even added your chilli sauce to your pho, you sweat right? That's because the chilli is hot and burns up your body. So sorry to burst your bubble, but you are not working out while you eat.

Same goes for working out. You work out, exert x amount of energy and due to your body being active, you heat up. Sometimes, too hot for your body's liking so you start to sweat. Your body is so intelligent it begins to sweat as a means to cool you body down.
But to think of this reality in a positive light; the more you sweat, the harder you are working because your body is trying so hard to keep up with you. But it doesn't mean you are losing kilos of fat. Usually knowing that you sweat like a bitch, is personally, quite comforting. Disgusting but comforting knowing that I did exert myself to the best of efforts. 

I workout my abs all the time but have no abs.
Funny enough, I used to be in the same boat with this theory. But after delving more into the fitness world, this is also false. You can run on the treadmill for hours and do back-shattering ab-targeting workouts and still not have a toned stomach with a six pack. Funny enough, your body just doesn't work that way.
Stephanie Davis hnnng
Ab workouts are great, don't get me wrong. Everyone needs a strong core, its a great and impressive foundation to have. But in order to obtain a flatter and toned stomach, weight training is the way to go. Fundamentally, if you squat, deadlift and lunge, it all targets your core muscles. Why? Because it helps add balance to your body. With majority of weight training, not only do you focus on technique but posture plays an important role.

These days, I actually rarely target my core. I'm so caught up and dead from my weight training that I only train my core once or twice a week. Even then, I am half-assed about it. But hey, I can still hold a plank for over 2 minutes!

Okay, so these few tips were just sitting at the top of my head. Some stuff I have basically experienced myself over the course of the years I had been training on and off till now. I'm certain that these are typical experiences with any males and females alike. Trust me, I've seen clueless guys at the gym too and at time it is cringe-worthy.

But the best way to learn is to actually be open and be willing to make those changes in your life. If you're going to be half-assed then okay. It's kind of a start but if you beat yourself up over the shitty results then that is personally your fault. I would rather your whole ass on it that way you can't pull out any ridiculous excuses.

Good luck on your journey and I simply hope these tips helped. If I manage to figure out anymore weight loss tips, then I will be sure to write another post in future.


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