Biggest Body Fat Myths
The world of fitness is rife with myths, old wives tales, falsehoods and misguided information. No topic is more misunderstood than the subject of body fat. Over the years many body fat myths have arisen that continue to plague the industry today.
Much has been written about the best ways to burn it, shred it, lose it, trim it and tone it. Most of which are completely untrue and distorted.
Here are some of the biggest body fat misconceptions:
Fat Spot Reduction
The myth of spot reduction is probably the most persistence untruth in the whole of fitness. Somehow, despite years of debunking, the idea that you can trim fat from a specific body part or area has managed to live on. The plain truth is there is no way to spot-reduce body fat from a specific area. Fat is burned from body areas in genetically pre-determined patterns that have no relationship to the exercises or muscles being used. So don’t listen to the infomercial, no matter how many crunches or tricep kickbacks you do, the excess body fat in your abdomen or upper arms may not budge.
Muscle Weighs More Than Fat
Which is heavier a 1lb of fat or a 1lb of muscle? Some people with questionable math skills will try to convince you that muscle weighs more than fat. What they really mean is that muscle is more dense than fat. This means by volume, muscle does weigh more, 1L of muscle is approximately 2.3lbs while 1L of fat is approximately 1.98lbs. Muscle takes up about 4/5 of the space than fat does. But as any mathematician will point out, 1lb of fat weights the same as 1lb of muscle or 1lb of feathers.
Muscle Turns To Body Fat
A classic and one of my personal favorites: The idea that one type of biological tissue (aka muscle) can miraculously turn into a completely different type of biological tissue (aka fat) is far-fetched, to say the least. Nevertheless, many people still believe this to be true. Muscle does not turn to fat and fat does not turn into muscle. However the saying “use it or lose it” is very true when it comes to muscle. If you are not engaging in some sort of physical activity, muscle can atrophy. Along with muscle atrophy, since you are not exercising, you will usually also gain some body fat. But one does not turn into the other.
You Get Fat by Eating Fat
The deception that you get fat by eating fat has been perpetrated by the media and in some cases by the food industry. Gaining excess body fat is a result of consuming more calories than you need. Whether these calories come from potato chips or broccoli, it doesn’t really matter. Since fat contains more calories per gram than carbs or protein (9cals/g vs 4cals/g), it can contribute more to weight gain if eaten in excess, but there is a lot more to stored body fat than just excessive dietary fat calories.
Fat Burning Zones
A standard program choice for most cardio equipment is something called the “fat burning zone.” A little intensity spectrum diagram shows you how fat is being burned when you are exercising in this magical zone. The concept behind these fat burning zones is that you will burn more calories from fat by a lower intensity – something these machines profess to help you carefully dial in. Although there might be some truth to the principle, the truth is, you are burning fat all the time, even while your sitting reading this article on your computer.
What is most important is the total number of calories burned. Ultimately, you will burn both more total calories at a higher intensity in a shorter duration. So forget the fat burning zones and go for the great overall caloric burn.
Hopefully, we have debunked some of the myths surrounding this much-misunderstood issue. Body fat doesn’t just appear because you ate a cheeseburger and it won’t just vanish because you do a few crunches.