For centuries, people have been trying to come up with the secret fat loss formula. What can be done to shed stubborn belly fat? What’s the secret to slimming down and getting into shape? Well, there’s not really any secret at all, just science!
Realistically, the only way you’re ever going to get rid of body fat is if you burn more calories than you consume. This creates something called a caloric deficit. I won’t go too deep into the science behind this because it’s not really necessary. You don’t need to understand why this makes you lose body fat – you just need to know that it will work.
As such, everyone is keen to know how they can burn as many calories as possible every day. Unfortunately, this leads to the spread of a lot of bogus fitness information! There are countless calorie burning myths that you may come across every single day. So, let’s debunk some of the biggest ones!
You won’t burn calories with weight training
When most people hear about the idea of burning calories, their attention turns to cardio. Cardio exercises are things like running, cycling, rowing; anything that trains your cardiovascular system. Typically, you don’t really lift weights, and it’s more about improving your fitness and getting a sweat on.
Now, a common myth is that this is the only way you can burn calories. There’s no need to train with weights if you’re trying to lose body fat as you don’t burn calories, right? Wrong! You can burn hundreds of calories during a weight training session. If you don’t believe me, buy a fitness tracker and wear it during a weight training workout. You’ll be surprised at how much you sweat and how many calories you burn.
Think about it, lifting weights puts a lot of strain on your muscles, so your body has to work extremely hard. This gets your heart beating and helps you burn some calories. The key is ensuring you attack your workout with the right intensity and don’t just sit down for the entirety of it!
Another plus side of weight training is that you start to develop more muscle mass. As a result, this helps you burn even more calories! Your metabolic rate improves, which essentially means that you burn more calories than you used to – in the same amount of time.
Steady-state cardio is pointless compared to HIIT
High-intensity interval training is easily one of the best ways to burn lots of calories in a short period. The very nature of this style of workout means that you’re pushing your body to its limits over a condensed amount of time. As such, you can sprint as fast as you can, rest, then do it again – and repeat for ten minutes or so.
In many ways, it’s the most effective way of burning calories – particularly if you’re limited on time. However, many people used HIIT as a way of bashing and bringing down steady-state cardio. This includes things like running for a mile or cycling for an hour. The common myth is that these forms of cardio are pointless compared to HIIT.
Don’t be fooled by this; you can burn thousands of calories with steady-state cardio. Yes, if you compare a ten-minute HIIT workout with a ten-minute steady-state one, then there’s a clear winner. But, the benefit of steady-state is that you have the energy to go for longer. So, if you want to get a long cardio session in, then running on a treadmill for an hour is an excellent way of burning calories. Steady-state isn’t pointless, it’s a great idea if you don’t like HIIT workouts and have the time to keep a steady pace for an extended period.
Sex burns loads of calories
I’m sure you all have that one friend who tells you that sex is an excellent activity if you want to get a workout in, but you might not have the time. It burns loads of calories, they say. So, are they right?
Honestly, it’s a big myth. Studies show that men burn around 100 calories during sex and women burn about 60 or so.
As such, you’re not really burning that much more than if you were just walking for a few minutes instead. Obviously, the more energetic things get, the more calories you burn. So, you might want to think twice before you reach for your chosen contraception methods and look to burn a few hundred calories. Take a walk instead; you’ll most likely burn more in the same amount of time.
The more you sweat, the more calories you burn
How many times have you heard the saying ‘sweat is just fat crying’? If you’ve ever been to a commercial gym, then it’s usually plastered on the walls as some amazingly motivational idea. The issue with this saying is that people start to believe that sweating equals fat loss. Or, more accurately, sweating means you’re burning loads of calories.
If you sweat loads, then you must be getting in a pretty intense workout, right? As a result, you’re definitely burning more calories than the person next to you who’s relatively dry. The thing is, it doesn’t work like that. Sweat is our body’s natural response when we get too hot. It helps cool us down, which means excessive sweating is just a response to a raised body temperature.
Consequently, sweating loads doesn’t always mean you’re burning loads of calories. It just means that your body temperature is very high and your cooling system is working overtime.
You only burn calories when you exercise
By all means, following an active lifestyle and exercising regularly will help you burn calories. In fact, an active person will always burn more calories than an inactive one. But, the great myth is that exercising is the only way you’ll burn calories. I’ve mentioned weight training, HIIT, steady-state cardio, and they’re all examples of exercise. However, you will always burn calories even if you’re lying down doing nothing.
I must admit, I wasn’t aware of this until I bought a fitness tracker and saw how many calories I burned per day. I knew about the caloric deficit, and my big concern was how on earth I’d ever burn more calories than I ate. I’m sure you’ve all had a gym session and looked at the machine to see you’ve burned a few hundred calories. Then, you look at the food you’ve got for lunch and it already covers the calories you burned! So, how will you ever end up burning more?!
Well, your body will naturally burn calories throughout the day. In an average day, where no exercise is done, I can burn near enough 2,000 calories. This is just by walking around the house, popping to the shops, and so on. When you start adding exercise to this, it becomes a lot easier to reach your caloric deficit and lose weight.
Of course, the more active you are, the more calories you burn. If you lie on the sofa all day long, you’ll still burn some calories, but it will be nothing compared to if you just spent 30 minutes walking throughout the day.
Some foods require more calories to digest than they contain
If you’re confused by this, then let me explain. It’s not the easiest thing to condense into one sentence, but you’ll soon see what I mean!
Essentially, whenever you digest food, you burn calories. So, there’s this idea that some foods require you to more calories when you digest them than the actual amount of calories they contain. Things like cucumber and celery are usually the main ones people talk about. As an example, let’s say there are ten calories in celery, but your body burns 15 calories digesting it. In essence, you’re consuming negative calories by eating this food.
While this sounds amazing, it’s sadly not true. There aren’t any foods that require more calories to digest than the number of calories they contain.
You should only focus on burning calories
The final myth is probably the most destructive one. Mainly, the idea comes from the thought that you have to burn calories to lose weight. So, people only focus on burning calories every day, while neglecting the other side of things.
But, as I said in the intro, you need to enter a caloric deficit. You have to burn more than you consume. As such, it’s highly possible to burn 2,000 calories a day but still put on weight because you’re eating and drinking 3,000 calories.
So, don’t let all your hard work be for nothing. Focus on following a healthy diet that limits your calorie consumption compared to how much you burn. If you’re consistently consuming less than you burn, then the fat loss results will start to show.
I hope you’ve found this to be an eye-opening experience! We’ve all fallen victim to these myths, and they can hold us back from real progress. If you want to lose body fat, then you have to eat healthily and exercise regularly to enter a caloric deficit; it’s as simple as that.