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Knowledge is sometimes not your best friend. The more you read or learn, the more you get curious. Often, this results in giving birth to myths and misconceptions. Bodybuilding is no different in this regard. Given the zillion tips on weight training and fat loss, it is quite natural that there will be myths. In this post, we shall explore the myths related to weight training and fat loss.
I was browsing through the Web when I bumped into a question that read, how to gain muscle loss fat. Yes it was ‘loss’ fat. Ignoring the language, I decided to put up an article to help you understand and bust the myths that haunt the bodybuilding arena about weight training and fat loss. I would also recommend reading my posts on the science of muscle growth and muscle growth mechanism to get a better idea.
Weight training for fat loss works. Period! However, what bodybuilders find challenging is to lose fat and build muscle simultaneously. Minus juice, it is extremely difficult though. Natural bodybuilding has its limitations after all. We should not be complaining!
Body fat hides the muscle definition, thus restricting the bodybuilder from flaunting his physique- something that is of key importance in bodybuilding competitions. I mean who would like watching a bulked-up bodybuilder with a protruding belly! Having said that, we must not forget that in order to gain muscle, you need to possess or develop a certain percentage of body-fat.
Off season, bodybuilders aim at gaining size. And most of the times, this comes at the cost of losing muscle definition. Lee Priest being the King in this regard. (lol). However, I do not quite support this strategy. These big guys are on juice. They can shed fat at a much faster rate than us natural bodybuilders. In my opinion, you should not gain too much body-fat in the first place. I go by Arnold’s and most other bodybuilders of the 1980s.
Check out their pictures. Check out their diet. These guys were huge and yet ripped all year round. They could have removed their shirts at any time and still would be carrying those bread baskets. Get the idea?
Let us delve deeper into the myths surrounding weight training and fat loss.
When you gain some fat, you might be able to workout heavier, and that might even facilitate muscle growth. However, when you overdo the fat gain, you would hate the results. On the other hand, by staying in shape all year round, you can market yourself better, especially if you are a pro- more magazine contracts, more interviews and so on. I am sure no client would approach a bodybuilder or personal trainer carrying 20% body fat. Isn’t it?
Also when you carry a lower percentage of body-fat, you can lose it easily. I would say you should keep the body fat under 10%.
Myths Related To Weight Training And Fat Loss
While most advanced bodybuilders would already know about the following myths related to weight training and fat loss, the novice trainees should pay attention to these.
Myth1: High Repetitions Burn Fat
Does that mean that a trainee who performs 20-25 reps would burn fat faster than his partner in the gym who keeps the reps within 12? Absolute bullshit!
According to studies, moderate reps are more effective in burning fat than higher reps. Remember; the human body starts burning fat after 30-40 minutes of steady aerobic exercise. Hence, increasing the reps would not certainly help.
The solution is to train with heavy weights while keeping the reps in the 8-12 range. This will force your muscles to grow while also stimulating your metabolism. Higher the metabolism, faster the rate at which the body burns fat. Remember muscles are a metabolically active tissue. I do not dismiss the idea of using higher reps. Use them, but pre-contest, not when you are trying to blast fat.
Myth2: Spot Reduction
Frankly, this myth gives me headache every time I hear someone ask me “can I lose fat from my waist ONLY”. Unless you are genetically gifted, you will not be able to spot reduce. And even if you are, the rate of fat loss will be extremely slow.
Your genetics decide the ‘location’ and ‘extent’ of fat loss. Sadly, the area that loses fat last is also the area that gains fat first. For men, the mid section is the danger zone and for women, hips and thighs attract fat fast. Trying to lose fat from these areas by training them exclusively is not a good idea.
The best way to lose fat is by training all muscle groups with equal intensity and throwing in aerobic training 3-5 times a week.
Myth3: Crash Diets
Many people starve themselves in order to lose fat. This is dangerous. In fact, it can have the opposite effect. When you deprive your body of calories, you promote catabolism (muscle loss), which in turn encourages fat gain. Hence, you should not stay hungry for more than 4 hours. Eat smaller meals and include healthy foods. But do NOT succumb to crash diets.
Get out of this gain-as-much-fat-as-possible-to-bulk approach. Look back into the bodybuilding and nutrition routines of the yesteryear bodybuilders. Now that you have learned about the stupid myths related to weight training and fat loss, you can create a much better training and nutrition regime. Aim at staying lean all year round. No one likes to see a bodybuilder walking with a pot-belly. The ‘off-season’ excuse should not be in your case when you eat clean throughout the year!