More Weight-Loss Myths

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More exercise = more ice cream. Research indicates that there is actually an upper limit to the number of calories that the human body will expend. Everyone is a little different, but adding more and more exercise doesn’t push that number up forever. Driving your metabolism, strength and endurance with smart exercise is very important for weight loss, health, etc., but it’s only half the equation. You can’t starve yourself to avoid exercise, nor can you work out twice a day to avoid eating better.

High intensity is all you need. The fitness industry has recently become obsessed with “high-intensity” fill-in-the-blank. People are looking for ways to make everything — including yoga — feel harder because “harder must be better.” One of the biggest problems with this fad? The injuries it’s causing. Injured people don’t train, and they move less all day long. That’s going to make losing weight much harder. (But please don’t take this too far in the other direction. Intensity does matter; a higher level, when appropriate, will help you get better results.)

Eating after 6 p.m. will make you fat. This is complete nonsense. If anything, intervention research shows exactly the opposite effect: waiting to eat until later in the day and eating the bulk of your calories with your evening meal gives you a slight boost in weight loss. The real problem with late-night eating is mindless snacking while watching TV. Devouring a bag of chips in front of the tube is bad for you at 6 a.m. and 6 p.m. (and every other time).

There is a magic diet. The best diet is the one you can stick to long term. In other words, the best diet is not a diet. Diets are short-term periods of deprivation from which your weight will eventually recover (either quickly or slowly). The most important part of weight loss is keeping it off. Start small. Start with the fundamentals: eat vegetables, eat protein, drink water, don’t snack. Most people don’t need a shiny new nutrition program, they just need to get better at the basics. Chasing the “perfect” diet will keep you on the diet roller coaster. Instead, spend that time and energy on building a lifestyle that will keep you lean for life.

Arm exercises. For weight loss, “arm exercises” like bicep curls are a complete waste of time. Fat and large quantities of calories are burned in your muscles. The more muscles you work, the more you burn and lose. Arm exercises and other isolation exercises (leg extensions, crunches, etc.) work small muscles and small numbers of muscles. This means that they do very, very little to help you lose weight. You want to train all the muscles in your body during a single workout as often as you can. Good news: you can strength-train your entire body in 30 to 40 minutes.

A best-selling author and fitness expert, Josef Brandenburg owns True 180 Fitness in Georgetown. Information about his 14-Day trial may be found at true180.fitness.

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