Guest blogger Paul Bradley, a Dubai-based fitness expert known for his extraordinary 8-week transformation programmes, exposes some of the world’s biggest fat loss myths to Talk About Hospitality ahead of The Leisure Show Dubai 2018, with a focus on why we need to understand that they are just that – MYTHS – in order for us to truly achieve the body that we’ve always wanted…
1) Carbs are EVIL
Carbohydrates are our main fuel source but there seems to be a common misconception that if you eat carbs you’ll get fat. The cold truth is that no one piece of food in isolation will make you fat. It’s the total amount of calories you consume on a daily or weekly basis that will be the main factor in fat loss or fat gain.
Yes, there are those tasty and devilish simple or refined carbs like cereal, bread, cookies, etc which are processed and not ideal for body composition, if abused. And then there’s the healthier complex or whole carbs like potatoes, vegetables and fruit which contain natural fibre to aid in digestion.
Obviously you want the large majority of your carbs to come from whole food sources whilst still enjoying some of the fun refined carbs from time to time. The problem is that it’s easy to over eat the refined carbs which leads to fat gain by eating more calories than your body is using for energy (calorie surplus) hence why I believe carbs are given a bad rep.
The amount of carbs your body can tolerate depends on current levels of exercise intensity, body fat and insulin sensitivity. Generally, the leaner you are the more carbs you can consume.
If you are heavily overweight then a lower carb approach will probably work best for you to start with – if fat loss is your goal. So the take-home is to choose wisely. Stick with 80% of your carbs coming from healthier, fibre rich sources and from time to time enjoy some cake. The key is to stick to one slice and not ten…
2) Eating small meals every few hours improves your metabolism
The belief is that our metabolism accelerates based on meal to meal frequency during the day – this is not true. The best way to build a strong metabolism is by lowering your body fat via strength training and diet. Develop more lean muscle mass and accelerate the fat loss process.
There are however benefits to eating smaller meals, more frequently including regulation of insulin and keeping blood sugar stable. That being said, the most important factor is to make sure you are hitting your calorie goal for the day regardless if its six small meals or three bigger ones. When it comes to training and especially your diet, you need to make sure it’s sustainable and works for you and your lifestyle as this will help you achieve results but more importantly keep making progress long term.
If you can’t see yourself sticking to your diet longer than few weeks, months or even a year then changes needed to be made to create a more sustainable plan.
3) Performing sit-ups to get abs
You can perform sit ups all day long, until the cows come home, but I’m afraid you’re wasting your time. In reality, when you burn fat, you are unable to choose the area in which the fat cell reduction will occur.
Fat cells have various receptors, known as alpha or beta-receptors. Stubborn fat areas have more alpha-receptors, so in order to burn more fat you need an increase in beta and reduce alphas.
This can be achieved by lowering and controlling insulin levels through a more measured use of carbs coupled with resistance and high intensity style training.
Truth is, fat loss comes down NOT to targeted exercises, but to how many calories you expend versus how many you take in.
Focus on getting stronger and keeping your diet in check.
4) LISS Cardio is best way to lose weight
LISS (Low Intensity Steady State) Cardio should only be used as tool to help you lose weight.
You should be focusing your attention on weight training and making sure your diet has the right balance of proteins, carbs and fats and that your calorie intake keeps you in a calorie deficit (consuming less calories than your body is using for energy).
By skipping the weights, you risk losing muscle mass and slowing down your overall metabolic rate which is not ideal for losing fat. Benefits of weight training include:
- Reduced body fat
- Stronger metabolism
- Improved strength both physically and mentally
- Improved posture
- Reduces the risk of arthritis, diabetes, osteoporosis & heart disease
- Improved sleep patterns, mood, and stress levels
- You’ll look better naked
Of course cardio has fantastic benefits too but if all you are doing is spending time on the treadmill or X trainer to lose fat then eventually you will hit a plateau and be left with a weak and stringy physique. Prioritise resistance / weight training and add in cardio (either LISS or High intensity interval training, HIIT) when required to help drive you into a calorie deficit, resulting in a leaner body.
5) Lifting weights will make you bulky
This myth is more applicable to females (but rings true for some men too) and is one of the major concerns I hear from ladies when starting a training program.
‘I don’t want to get bulky or too big’ is a classic.
Now, unless you’re planning to invest money into a heavy course of anabolic steroids or you have been training for many years as a competitive bodybuilder or you have insane genetics – you really don’t have to worry about this.
Truth is ladies, testosterone plays a big role in growing large muscle and women don’t produce enough testosterone to develop hulk like muscle in comparison to males. It’s hard enough for most men to add muscle even with this hormonal advantage.
When you are weight training don’t be afraid of challenging yourself with the right amount of weight. Women’s pain threshold in my experience can be greater than men #childbirth – but again there is a misconception that using lighter weight with lots of reps is the way to go as it will provide that ‘toned’ look.
Firstly – there is no such thing as a ‘toned muscle’. You are either building muscle or they are getting smaller. Just like for men, what will yield results and provide is lowering your body fat levels through weight training, the right amount of cardio and of course your nutrition.
There should be no difference in the way females and males train when the goal is to drop fat or build muscle. So don’t be afraid of getting stronger and training with weights, as when combined with the right diet, this will provide you a body you can proud of.
To find out more about fitness, health, nutrition and Paul’s impressive body transformation programmes, see: Paul Bradley Fitness