Losing weight can be an extremely difficult task, especially if you’ve experienced failure in previous attempts. The key to weight loss is down to fat burning, but before you begin the process yet again, here are five weight loss myths that need to be clarified.
1. Counting calories
Despite what many would have you believe, counting calories is not the be all and end all in weight loss. In fact, it’s often recommended to keep your calorie intake at the guideline daily amount, making appropriate adjustments to ensure you’re eating healthier.
Rather than reducing your food intake, consider combining your eating plan with an appropriate amount of exercise will create the calorie deficit that calorie counting attempts to create, therefore helping with weight loss.
If you find that you’re really struggling to lose weight, consult with a professional nutritionist to discover how to appropriately reduce your calorie intake.
2. Carbs and Fat are a big no-no
Once again, cutting out certain foods is not guaranteed to increase the speed of your weight loss. But equally as important, just because you eat foods that include fats and carbohydrates, doesn’t automatically mean you will gain weight.
Your body actually relies on a certain amount of carbohydrates and fats to get you through the day. Moderation is the key with this one, so as long as you’re keeping to a balanced diet go ahead and choose the full-fat yoghurt, or help yourself to an extra slice of toast.
You don’t, therefore, need to cut out some of your favourite foods in order to successfully lose weight. But remember, this also doesn’t give you the freedom to binge on foods with high fat, carb and sugar content.
3. Intense cardio is the only solution
Exercising is a very personal thing. You might benefit from an intense cardio session, or you may prefer to take it slow with regular light training sessions. However, cardio alone may not necessarily achieve the weight loss you’re hoping for.
Fat burning during exercises is achieved when your heart rate is increased and you begin breathing more heavily, which is what cardio achieves. Consistent, low-intensity exercise will help burn fat, whilst high intensity workouts, like HIIT, are more likely to burn calories.
Combined with weight training, and strength and conditioning workouts, cardio can indeed be an effective method for weight loss and fat burning.
4. The illusive fat-burning zone
The fat-burning zone is the ideal point in which an increased percentage of body fat is burned. But what is the best method of reaching this crucial goal, and how long should you remain in this zone?
In an interview with Men’s Health, a personal trainer identified that the ideal fat-burning zone is the point your heart rate reaches a certain level during exercise. This is identified on the coloured graphs that appear on cardio machines. Therefore, everyone’s ideal fat-burning zone is different depending on weight, height, age, and other factors.
How long you remain in this zone is up to you, but you should never over exert yourself and risk illness or injury.
5. You can burn fat from specific areas of your body
No matter how many crunches, bicep curls, or lunges you do, it does not mean that you will burn the specified fat around your stomach, arms, or legs and bum.
Before you begin your weight loss journey, it’s important to know what kind of fat is being stored throughout your body. With this knowledge, a more comprehensive diet and exercise plan can be built to suit your body, and therefore more successfully lose weight.
Bodyscan UK uses medically developed DEXA technology to accurately identify and measure your body fat. To begin your weight loss process that will ensure results that stick, contact our team today.
Just how futile are our attempts to keep trim, taut and terrific as we get older? After all, our muscles just waste away and we get inexorably fatter, don’t we?
Certainly, on average, and without intervention, muscle declines as we age. But by how much? And can we prevent or slow muscle loss or even turn it around?
While Bodyscan clients do not represent a random sample of the UK population, our dataset is big and varied enough to suggest that muscle mass does not begin to diminish as early as many say. It also contradicts the popular view that the rate of decline is very steep.
Bodyscan’s previous data, for 1400 men and 850 women, showed average lean mass index (lean mass divided by height-squared) to be almost unchanged up until age 50, and data points as likely to be above the median line as below it up until age 55.
It’s only when data beyond age 55 is included that there is a noticeable decreasing trend. (Please note the red line on each graph is the median value, not the line of best fit or a trend line.)
Bodyscan has recently segmented its latest dataset of 2700 men and 1300 women into four age categories and the results point to the same conclusion. Below are the average (50th percentile) and top quartile (75th percentile) lean mass indices for both sexes.
For a man 1.78m (5’10”) tall, the difference in lean mass between an LMI of 19.2 and 18.9 is exactly one kilogram. The women show no difference in LMI between the youngest and oldest age groups. Not what you’d call a cliff edge.
If you think Bodyscan’s client base is super-fit (it’s not), then for a random population sample, take a quick look at the US NHANES (National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey) data below. Its charts show that average LMI (the middle line on both charts) peaks for white men and women as late as 50, and points to about the same LMI at age 70 as at age 20.
As for actively building muscle and defying increasing age and falling testosterone, Bodyscan client Mitchell, aged 62, is proof enough that it is perfectly achievable. Mitchell’s LMI is 21.9, which is above the 80th percentile (what we at Bodyscan call “amateur bodybuilder muscle”) for men less than half his age. His fat mass index is very good too, at just 4.37.
Mitchell trains under James Blanchard, who applies the same training rules to older clients as younger ones, though with more alertness to pain, injury and recovery time. “Age is just one factor, together with overall health, fitness and experience,” he says. “Young and old alike need to listen to their bodies. Mitchell doesn’t train through pain or do anything stupid, that is key in allowing him to train and perform exactly like a younger guy would.”
Muscle mass and strength come through four sessions a week of the big, powerlifting moves, such as bench press, squat and deadlift. The only diet parameters were 2g protein per kilo of body weight and overall calories, which were set at James’s own formula of 12 x bodyweight in pounds, varied by how active the client is.
“This amount of protein was more than sufficient enough to maintain muscle mass and helped to keep Mitchell satiated. Carbohydrate and fat were set however he liked according to his preference.” James believes that the quantity or ratio of carbs and fat “makes no difference over the long term as long as the total calorie intake is respected.”
While it is easy to think that 62-year-old Mitchell’s achievement of high muscle mass is an exception to the rule, another look at Bodyscan’s data shows that it’s not. Take a look at the charts plotting FMI vs LMI for Bodyscan’s entire dataset.
Across both sexes and all ages, as people get fatter and heavier, they always develop more muscle mass to be able to carry the extra weight. They are effectively doing a high-weight workout with every step they take. Everyone with a high fat mass index has a high lean mass index. We’re not suggesting that you get fat to build muscle but it’s proof enough that weights-based resistance training – at any age and for both sexes – will maintain and build muscle mass.
Finally, it should also be stressed that resistance training is perhaps the best strategy for increasing bone density, something that naturally declines in later years. The decline is particularly steep (and therefore the benefit of weights greater) for women after menopause.
Mitchell’s bone density (in the light blue area) is 112% of average for his age and well above the average (the line that separates the two blue areas) for a man at peak bone density (about age 35).
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