myth each month.
After all, by now you’ve probably heard that if you don’t do
60-minutes of cardio in your fat burning zone on an empty
stomach while Venus is in line with Jupiter, you’ll never burn fat.
The problem with myths is that not only are they wrong and give
false hope to millions of people trying to lose weight, but they
also waste your time and mental effort.
I could go on for days about fitness myths, but I cut my list
from 30 down to the Top 5 Fat Loss Workout Myths today. I’ll
save the other 25 for future newsletters.
Myth #1: You have to do cardio first thing in the morning on an
Relax. You don’t have to hop on the treadmill at 4:30am very
morning. Let’s allow common sense to dictate when and how you
If you want to work out first thing in the morning, and I
know that is the best time for many TT readers, by all means,
go ahead and do it.
But there’s nothing magical about this time – although it is
often the only time many of day many people have to themselves.
We need to think “outside of the hour” of exercise and realize
that calorie burning and fat burning goes on for 24-hours.
Forget about the theories and look at the big picture.
It doesn’t matter when you exercise – as long as you exercise
intensely and consistently. Focus on relatively high-intensity
workouts to increase your metabolism for as many hours after
exercise as possible. That is best done with interval training
and resistance training.
Myth #2: You have to do your cardio in your “fat burning zone”.
While you might burn a larger proportion of total calories
as fat when you exercise in your fat burning zone, you burn
fewer calories overall by exercising at such a low intensity.
When you increase your workout intensity and get out of your
so-called “fat burning zone”, you burn more total calories,
and as a result, more fat.
In addition, the “fat burning zone” training doesn’t put
“turbulence” on your muscles…so you don’t burn many calories
in the post-exercise time period. But with interval training,
you burn a significant amount of calories for hours after
training, and that leads to more fat loss.
I’ve worked with hundreds of people that have avoided the fat
burning zone while still managing to lose dozens of pounds
of fat. The “fat burning zone” is one of the biggest fitness
myths of all time.
Myth #3: You have to do cardio for 20 minutes before you burn fat.
When I hear this, I picture a fat-burning switch in my body
that turns on only after I’ve been doing “cardio” for 20 minutes.
But what if I only exercise for 19 minutes and 59 seconds? Are
you telling me that I won’t have burned any fat? Ridiculous.
What if I did it on an empty stomach in the morning and in my
target heart rate zone? (read that one sarcastically!)
I’ll say it one last time. We need to be more concerned with
our 24-hour metabolism, not how much fat or even how many
calories are burned during the workout.
Myth 4: Drinking ice cold water will help you burn calories and
Standing in line at the grocery store is a great place to
pick up the latest fat loss myths. You’ll also find this
one all over the Internet.
This myth often comes along with some calculations showing
that by drinking 8 glasses of ice-cold water you can burn
70 calories per day.
I don’t believe that actually holds true in real life.
Regardless, drinking cold water is not going to burn any more
fat off your body than drinking room temperature water.
Don’t get me wrong, I strongly believe you should drink 12
glasses of water per day, but the temperature of your water
won’t have any effect on your overall fat loss success.
Myth #5: Adding one pound of muscle will burn 50 extra calories
Uh-oh, now I’m cutting down a myth that supports my use of
strength training in a fat loss program.
But I have an obligation to set the record straight about
this extremely prevalent myth (even though I just saw a big
name fitness expert perpetuate this myth in a recent article!).
This myth sounds so good. Add a pound of muscle, boost your
metabolism 50 calories. That doesn’t seem out of line at all.
But do the math for a guy that puts on 30 pounds of muscle.
Does his metabolism really increase by 1500 calories?
For an average guy, that would require his resting metabolism
to increase from 2500 calories to 4000 calories per day.
How would he be able to keep any of that muscle with a
metabolism like that?
He’d have to eat like a pig forever.
So when you look at the big picture, you can see this little
myth start to fall apart.
That’s not to say you should stop your strength training,
but just don’t use this myth as an excuse to cheat on your diet.