When it comes to exercise and nutrition, they’re tons of myths out there. Like that the shake weight actually does anything. Since we hear many of these fallacies so often, we don’t always question their legitimacy.
Today, let’s bust the top 6 myths about body fat:
- Muscle turns to fat. Because many people gain weight when they stop exercising, there’s a misconception that muscle turns into fat. In reality, muscle fibers and fat cells are two very different things; one cannot become the other. The truth: Many people gain weight after they stop exercising because their body is burning fewer calories – but they continue to eat the same amount of food.
- Fat on the body come from fat in foods. This belief has led to a slew of fat-free and reduced fat foods. The truth: Body fat comes from calories, not necessarily fat. If you eat more calories than your body burns – whether it comes from lettuce or a double-cheeseburger – your body will store the extra calories as fat.
- The lower the body fat percentage, the better. To lean down and increase muscle definition, many dieters aim for the lowest body fat percentages possible. The truth: Your body needs some levels of essential body fat to protect organs and facilitate functions. For women, a body fat percentage of 10% – 13% is essential; for men, 2% to 5% is essential. Aim for body fat percentages above these ranges.
- You can target where you want to lose body fat. When we build our muscles, we exercise the muscles we want to grow. For example, doing bicep curls will give you larger biceps. It only seems logical to assume that body fat works the same way. The truth: You can’t spot-reduce body fat. It comes off various body parts according to its own agenda. This may include your face, neck, chest, arms and anywhere else. For men, the pesky beer belly is usually the last to shrink.
- Fat weighs less than muscle. You’ve heard it a million times before. The truth: A pound is a pound; a pound of feathers weighs the same as a pound of bricks. In the same way, a pound of fat weighs the same as a pound of muscle. It’s truer to say that muscle is more dense than fat. And this explains why exercisers may lose inches but not pounds – as they are shedding body fat but also building muscle.
- Starving yourself reduces body fat. Since our body fat comes from calories, it seems to make sense that if we starve ourselves, we’ll lose our extra body fat. The truth: While you will initially lose body fat if you stop eating, your body will go into starvation mood – and your metabolism will come to a grinding halt. Eventually, you’ll need to eat again. And when you do, you’ll gain all the weight back – and then some.
Did these 6 myths change the way you think about body fat? Let me know in the comments below!