Chances are, if you’ve tried to lose weight before, you’ve heard these myths. Maybe it was from your family physician using an outdated nutrition textbook, or the fitness guru with a six-pack from your local gym. It might have even been an uninformed personal trainer.The following myths have been around since the beginning of commercial fitness.

The so-called benefits of these myths have been passed off as universally agreed upon truths for generations, but recent research exposes these “truths” as the fallacies they really are.

Cardio Is The Best Fat Loss Strategy

For some reason, a large majority of people believe that cardio–such as long distance running, biking, or even walking on the treadmill–is the key to fat loss.

Low intensity long duration cardio might help you lose weight, but a significant amount of that weight will be muscle. And the less muscle you have on your body, the more fat your body will store.

The reason for this is because of something called your Basal Metabolic Rate (or BMR), which is the number of calories your body burns at rest to support your lean muscle mass. As the amount of lean muscle on your body increases, so does your BMR.

In addition to losing lean muscle, your hormones will be virtually unaffected by low intensity long duration cardio. This means that the calorie burning will stop shortly after you step off the treadmill.

A better alternative to low intensity cardio is High Intensity Interval Training (or HIIT for short). HIIT is a method of cardio during which you alternate periods of intense work (like sprinting), with periods of rest. Training like this burns more calories, keeps your metabolism elevated for longer,  and is much more time efficient.

One study showed that HIIT was 9 times more effective at burning fat when compared to long distance cardio. The reason for this was EPOC–Excess Post Exercise Oxygen Consumption [1]

Put simply, EPOC means your body will continue burning calories up to 48 hours after your workout.

Don’t Eat After 6PM

Living in a world where you can’t eat at night means you can’t enjoy food with your friend and family. This restrictive myth is another reason why so many people are turned off when they hear the word “dieting”.

The fact is that eating too many calories causes weight gain regardless of when you eat them.

To quote the world-renowned nutritionist, Alan Aragon, “Your body doesn’t store fat more readily during the evening than any other point during the day”.

A recent study by Italian Researches compared eating earlier in the day (10am) to eating later in the day (6pm). In the study there was no difference in weight loss between the two groups, but fat burning was higher in people who ate their meals after 6pm.

Another study by Israeli researchers proved this theory when they compared people who ate carbs in the morning, and those who ate them at night. The nighttime carb eaters burned more fat and experienced less hunger during the day.

The reason for this is Growth Hormone  (or GH for short).

GH is a powerful hormone that controls how much fat your body burns, and how much muscle it builds. Your GH peaks at night while you sleep, and shuts off the moment you have your first meal of the day.

A nice way to naturally boost the production of GH in your body is to push your breakfast back a few hours and enjoy most of your calories in the evening.

Breakfast Is The Most Important Meal Of The Day

Let me begin by stating that there’s nothing wrong with eating breakfast; it’s just not this powerful weight-loss solution that it’s promoted as.

The moment you eat your first meal of the day, your body creates an expectation for calories. When you start those expectations first thing in the morning, you’re creating a huge feeding window for your body; the amount of hours you’re eating during the day.

The more calories you consume, the more calories your body will expect. In other words, the less you eat, the less hungry you feel.

In addition to the expectation of added calories caused by breakfast, eating first thing in the morning slows down production of the hormones that control how much fat you store, and how much lean muscle you build.

As you’ve learned, your body’s production of Growth Hormone peaks at night while you sleep, and slows down the moment you eat your first meal of the day.

Tomorrow, instead of eating first thing in the morning, drink some water or coffee and push your first meal back a few hours. You’re well on your way to creating a better environment for fat loss in your body. You wont feel hungry. I promise.

This new theory on breakfast is why Intermittent Fasting is the most widely discussed diet concept on the Internet right now.

Eating Every 2-3 Hours Will Speed Up Your Metabolism

The theory behind this one is that eating more often increases your metabolic rate, which is true. But that does not necessarily promote fat loss.

There are 0 studies out there that prove this popular theory, but plenty that prove it wrong.

French Researchers found that “there is no evidence of improved weight loss” when eating more frequently.  Participants were told to eat 2,000 calories per day. There was no difference in fat loss between those who ate four 500 calorie meals, and those that ate two 1,000 calorie feasts.

Another recent study coming out of Canada compared people who ate three meals per day with those who ate six meals per day. There was no difference in weight loss. The only difference was that the people who ate three meals per day consumed less calories, reported feeling more satisfied, and felt less hungry.

Eating every 2-3 hours is how you develop unrealistic eating habits, carry Tupperware everywhere, and stress out when life happens and you miss a meal.

It’s just another myth that’s turning you off to the idea of a fit lifestyle.

There are several myths, lies, or excuses that we use in order to avoid doing the work that needs to be done. Four Procrastination Myths Debunked

Featured photo credit: garryknightvia Flickr

Love this article?