For some reason fat loss and myths seem to go hand in hand. Every time we overhear a conversation about fat loss, whether it’s between bodybuilders or non-bodybuilders, half of what is being said is just plain wrong. Usually this stems from people looking for a quick solution to a problem that takes much longer to fix properly. Unfortunately everyone is different and as a result it’s hard to make a blanket statement that applies to everyone. Just because one guy does well on carb cycling, for example, doesn’t mean all of his friends will too.
Since we’ve been hearing more fat loss myths than usual lately, we’ve decided to put together this list of the most common myths along with an explanation as to why they are bogus. If you have been struggling with your diet, or plan to go on a diet in the near future, make sure you read this article. There is a good chance many of the beliefs you have about fat loss are just plain wrong.
Myth # 1 – You Shouldn’t Eat Carbs Late at Night
It’s pretty easy to see how this myth became so popular. Carbs are associated with energy and since we tend not to be doing much moving around late at night it would make sense that these calories would be stored as fat. As it turns out this just isn’t true. It doesn’t matter what time of day it is – your body will metabolize carbohydrates the same way. Studies have shown that consuming carbohydrates in the evening does not lead to increased fat gain compared to people who consume them at different times in the day.
Myth # 2 – You Need a Cheat Day
As you start to lose fat, your body will begin to slow down its metabolism. This is simply an evolutionary function – your body is trying to hold onto those last few pounds of fat in case of an emergency. These days, however, flood is plentiful and the chances that you will starve are pretty low. Unfortunately there’s no way of telling our bodies this so we will just have to work around it.
For some reason, people feel that the best way to fire up the metabolism is to have a cheat day. The rationale is that if your body suddenly takes in a bunch of calories it will assume that it is safe to raise the metabolism. Now, this does actually work but only when you do it strategically and with clean foods. If you simply chow down on a bunch of junk food you will go way over your daily calorie limit and gain fat. On the other hand, if you raise your daily calorie intake slightly and consume additional complex carbohydrates your metabolism will increase without the fat gain of a “cheat day”. That’s not to say you can’t have the occasional cheat meal. What we don’t want you to do, however, is turn it into a cheat day and overeat.
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Myth # 3 – It’s All About Calories In vs Calories Out
We always get questions from guys that go something along the lines of “If I eat junk food all day but my total calories consumed is below maintenance, will I still lose fat?” Again, this stems from trying to find an easy solution to a more complex problem. The truth is, yes your weight will decrease – but it won’t necessarily be fat. You see, the types of food that you eat determine whether you will lose muscle, fat, or both. It’s pretty typical to lose a little bit of muscle even on a clean diet. However, if you are eating nothing but junk food chances are you will lose just as much muscle as fat. This is how guys end up with the dreaded skinny-fat physique – they look skinny with a shirt on but fat without a shirt on.
Myth # 4 – Fruits Should Be Avoided Due to Sugar
While it is true that fruits are high in sugar they are also loaded with many important vitamins and nutrients. For example, blueberries are packed with antioxidants which will actually help you lose fat faster and feel better overall, despite the fact that they also contain sugar. If you are concerned about the sugar intake from fruit, consume them after you workout when it is actually recommended to spike your insulin levels. Mix in some berries with your post-workout shake and you will get the best of both worlds – an insulin spike to help with protein absorption and tons of useful nutrients.
Myth # 5 – You Need to Eat Every 3 Hours
A lot of bodybuilding experts tell you that you should be eating every 2-3 hours. We’ve even heard some extreme stories of guys waking themselves up in the middle of the night to eat. (Note: Don’t actually do this, the testosterone production you get while sleeping is far more important).
The reality is that whether you have one big meal or split it into two smaller meals will have a negligible impact on your metabolism. The real reason you should eat more frequent meals is so that you are less likely to overeat at one point in the day. However, if you are currently eating every 3 hours to make sure your metabolism stays high you are wasting your efforts. If you are concerned about your metabolism dropping, take a natural fat burning supplement instead.
As mentioned, a lot of myths stem from people trying to find shortcuts. The truth is that fat loss doesn’t happen overnight. It took a long time for you to put the weight on and it also takes time to lose it. Just stick to the proven fat loss principles, take a fat burner, get plenty of sleep and you will be well on your way to having a beach-ready body.