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A dozen+ years into my personal training career I often find myself wondering why smart people are so susceptible to stupid ideas.
Disclaimer: this is all observation and fascination with zero judgement as, I know I’m susceptible to stupid ideas too! Perhaps not so much in the realm of nutrition, exercise and fat loss however absolutely in the realm of business.
In todays show I’m sharing:
5 Fat Loss Myths Sold To Women and What To Do Instead.
A contributing component is likely that we’re more open to believing what we want to believe. Equally, some of the things that work really well so far as creating and keeping a fit, strong, healthy body can seem a little counter-intuitive at first.
Before we get rolling I have an acronym to describe just how much these M.Y.T.H.S. will hold you back from achieving your body composition goals.
H.ungry & hangry.
I’ll explain each part of the acronym and what to do instead as we get rolling.
Fat Loss Myth One: Lift Light Weights, High Repetitions and Prioritise Isolated Little Exercises To Spot Reduce Fat or Tone.
This is such a pervasive and persistent myth I’d love to see annihilated once and for all.
Potentially you know someone who has pretty fab results lifting light weights for high reps? I guarantee they are the exception and they’ve likely been doing a huge amount of it for a very long time. They would have achieved their results so much faster and so much more time effectively If they’d gone straight to the higher bang for your buck big compound moves (movements involving multiple muscles and multiple joints) with decent weights.
In fact, the highest value moves for a lady and a gent are the same. A squat or lunge variation, a deadlift, a chin up and a standing press make my personal top 4. There are limitless other moves to play around with and everyones limitations / contraindications are different however for the human who can safely do these powerful moves who has any sort of goal relating to fat loss, toning (which just means fat loss) or building lean sexy, metabolically active muscle I’d super highly recommend including these moves or a variation of them.
Ladies, if you want to spend less time in the gym for faster, better results: Lift Heavy Weights for just as many reps as you can manage.
Obviously safety and form comes first however 99% of the time I take on a new client who has lifted weights in the past, the weights they choose themselves are way too light. They are always surprised by the size of the dumbbell I pass them, and then, they lift it just fine.
To the matter of “spot reducing” it’s a myth. A certain exercise won’t burn fat from a specific area however a certain exercise can sculpt muscle in a certain area. So you can “choose your curves” by adding muscle where you want however any excess fat will leave in the order it chooses NOT the order you choose!
Fat Loss Myth Two: You Have A Use By Date / You’re Too Old.
I’m so passionate about this one. You can change your body at any age and you’re never too old to start lifting weights or start whatever other type of exercise appeals to you.
I even take issue with the tired old excuse: “It gets so much harder as you get older” or the warning: “Just wait till you hit your 30’s, 40’s, 50’s, 60’s…”
Of course there are variables that change as you age however your tool-kit of self-knowledge and experience also changes.
Metabolism slowing down with age is a commonly thrown around explanation for why it might take more effort to maintain the results you had in your youth. And yet, as we discuss in Myth 3 Muscle is Metabolism and so Yes as you lose muscle with age your metabolism slows down.
Meaning, the solution is to not lose muscle! It’s doable. You can maintain your current muscle mass, slow the loss or build muscle at any age dependant on where you’re starting from and how committed you are. Often the “too old” excuse is more a matter of changing priorities rather than age.Once you tolerate the “You’re too old” whether it’s society telling you or YOU telling you, where do you stop? (5 Fat Loss Myths Sold To Women #thehealthificationpodcast E631) Click To Tweet
It is important to workout in an environment you feel comfortable in. The large commercial gym I do my own training at sometimes feels like a fitness model photo shoot. I appreciate many people wouldn’t feel comfortable there. However the smaller studio I train clients at is a lovely little community where, WOW everyone seems to know everyone – in a (generally!) really nice way.
So if you’ve felt out of place at a gym, yoga studio or wherever before I urge you to keep looking for the one that suits you as each facility has it’s own little vibe and there will be one that works for you.
A little more on the notion of your tool-kit of self-knowledge and experience changes with age. If you’ve been paying attention – or even if you think back right now (!) you’ve got some solid evidence gathered over the years as to what works for you. Everybody is unique however here are a few things I’ve learnt:
- The language you use is powerful.For example “I hate cardio!” verses “I love how I feel after a cardio session!”
- Viewing exercise as a privilege and precious me time rather than a chore or a necessary evil makes me much more inclined to do it.
- Your limited daily discipline quota is full in the morning and depleted by the end of the day. As such it makes sense to schedule those things that require discipline for as early in the day as possible.
- It takes MUCH longer to lose the fat you chuck on over a holiday than it took to land that fat so it’s simpler to follow a few easy guidelines to help prevent any excess baggage on your way home!
I absolutely learnt this one the slow and hard way (you’ve heard me talk about how AMAZING my mums home cooking is right?) so I have an extensive 6 step survival blueprint called: How To Prevent Weight Gain Over Christmas and New Year / The Holiday Season blog post.
Here’s the overview of those steps:
Step One. Start on a PEAK.
Step Two. GRATITUDE.
Step Three. PLAN.
Step Four. Set Your STANDARDS.
Step Five. Be Proud To Be CONTRARY & Communicate Why Effectively.
Step Six. LOVE What You Indulge In.
Fat Loss Myth Three: Cardio To Burn Fat.
This myth fits into the realm of we are more open to believing what we want to believe.
Perhaps you sweat during your cardio session and it feels like you’re just melting the fat right off? In contrast, possibly (up until myth one and hopefully never again!) you cruised along in your weights session lifting light weights for tedious ineffectively long sets and felt like you were wasting your time?
The way to look at it is: Lifting weights (done right) is like a passive income.
And cardio is like selling your time for money.
You get the return for your time invested into cardio at best – often less – because cardio is the exercise form that makes you so much more inclined to over consume after your session. Cardio makes you susceptible to Fitter and Fatter.
Weights builds metabolically active muscle which burns fat 24/7 while it’s just sitting their on your body looking all sexy. Ok, I’m biased (!) however the fact remains, muscle burns fat just to maintain itself while you’re exercising and while you’re sleeping. Fat just sits there.
The scenario that might ring true to you is the couple you might have met or your might have been.
A man and a lady of similar weight and similar activity (or lack of activity) level. They start a “diet” and they eat and exercise the same and yet the man enjoys much better results so much faster. Maybe he assumes she’s cheating on the diet. The unfair reality is that as a male he might weigh the same to start yet his weight is naturally built from a higher % of lean muscle mass. Metabolically active lean muscle mass.
I’m not hating on cardio, if you love it go for it and enjoy the many benefits it avails you however please don’t fall for the myth that it’s the most effective way to burn fat. Think of cardio as a condiment (the Veganaise) and weights as the main event (the black bean and mushroom burgers).
Fat Loss Myth Four: Less Is Best With Food.
This likely needs a little more explaining. I do think it’s important that you feel hunger and I don’t think you should eat till you feel sickly stuffed.
Yet regularly I’ll have a client declare gleefully how they “skipped lunch” or “barely ate yesterday” and the sad fact is that restrictive, unsupportive to your body approach will always come back to bite you. Whether it’s the mindless, high caloric density snacks you demolish before dinner, the gigantic takeaway you inhale for dinner or perhaps it hits you the next day, when you “just can’t” say no to the biscuits at morning tea?
Even if the meal you skip today isn’t replaced with a higher caloric density, low value meal tomorrow how hugely UN-fun and unsustainable is it to teach your body to get by on the least possible food? As a personal trainer first told me around 20 (!) years ago: “The less you eat the less you have to eat!”
Gosh, from someone who gets HUGE joy from food that really isn’t an approach I want to lock and load.
The multi billion dollar food and fitness industry also markets the Less is Best mindset with food. Whether we’re talking meal replacement shakes, the 5:2 approach with a couple of 500 calorie days a week, appetite suppressants, zero calorie (and zero value) foods and drinks. The approach I recommend applies to any new food approach is to ask you self these few questions:
- Is this a way of eating I could JOYFULLY maintain long term?
- Is this the lifestyle approach to food I want to teach my kids?
- Does this reflect a supportive relationship with my body, or a beat it into submission approach with my body?
- Could I eat this way on holiday? On a lower budget? While I’m crazy busy with work, family, life?! Of course I’m also going to throw in, it belongs at the top of the list actually…
- Does this approach to eating align with my values and beliefs?
In short rather than Less is Best with food, I’d say aim for an abundant, colourful, diverse whole food plant based approach.
To make this happen you’re also likely going to need to prioritise a little time each week for meal planning, shopping and prepping. It’s time you out-lay in advance to save huge amounts of time in the future.
Fat Loss Myth Five: There’s A New Quick Fix!
I fall for the “too good to be true” in business so I understand why smart people fall for it in fat loss and health.
The most effective marketing will tug on your emotions, tell you what you want to hear and deploy just enough truth to make the approach sound plausible. Or perhaps just enough confusion with a dash of marketing scarcity and time sensitivity to encourage you to give it a go.
Many of the lessons I’ve learnt the hard way in business are equally applicable to health. For example:
- The ONE thing. Is never the ONE thing. There’s not one magic hormone imbalance to fix, or one missing super food, or one perfect macronutrient breakdown, or one super fast-track program whether it’s an eating, exercise, coaching or online marketing program.It’s always an un-sexy series of small steps taken consistently and tracked and evolved diligently.
- It’s not purely about fixing your broken MINDSET. I’ve invested so much in coaching over the years and as valuable as some of it has been if I’m honest I was often searching for that secret, hidden, hugely detrimental limiting belief which once uncovered would open to floodgates to my success. That’s a nice story to believe however it’s not true and waiting to uncover the thing that’s limiting you is indeed limiting!As is investing huge amounts in paying someone to find that thing for you. And yet, self-improvement, coaching and self-awareness can also be incredibly valuable, as an ongoing steady commitment rather than as a hopeful quick fix.
- High pressure, time sensitive, short time ONLY, you must take action NOW is crap-o-la. That’s marketing based on the goals of the business marketing to you. The high value, ethical, value based approaches, business’s and people will be there for you when you’re ready.They’re in it for the long haul not for the short term quick fix.
To recap and get actionable today here’s the acronym of my top 5 Fat Loss Myths Sold To Women. 5 things you absolutely want to avoid if you’d like to create and keep a fit, #plantstrong, healthy body. Does one jump out at you as something it’s time to ditch for good?
Y.outh. (as in letting a lack of youth limit you!)
H.ungry & hangry.
Importantly here’s what to do instead:
One: Lift Heavy Weights and Prioritising Big Compound Movements. For just as many repetitions as you can safely manage.
Two: You’re Never Too Old. Find the workout environment that you feel comfortable in and utilise your tool-kit of self knowledge and experience that comes with age.
Three: Lift Weights To Build and Maintain Metabolically Active Muscle and Burn Fat 24/7.
Four: Whole Food Plant Based High Micronutrient Value Is Best With Food.
Five: There’s Never Quick Fix! Aim for the multi-faceted and constantly evolving approach that will fit joyfully and sustainably into your routine for life.
That’s it for today in Healthification. Thank you so very must for trusting me with your time and attention today. It means a lot.
The Healthification podcast is proudly bought to you by my FREE ‘Easy Vegan’ plan. It took me 25 years to transition from a meat eater to a happy, healthy Vegan! You can do it in just 3 days with my simplified ‘easy vegan’ plan! Get the fit, strong, and healthy plant based body you deserve… while avoiding ALL the mistakes I made along the way!
Till next time, remember Creating a body and life you love is Freedom. (If this ex-carb queen, non genetically gifted, naturally uncoordinated vegan chick can do it – so can YOU!!!)
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