Tuesday, May 19, 2009

Myth busting exercise

If you are anything like me - a bit of a novice in this exercise business - then perhaps you are also confused. The confusion stems from the amount of 'helpful' articles written about the best times, activities and speeds of exercise to get you well on your to getting your ideal body or getting over the plateau. And far too often I've trusted those articles that have told me that my exercise programme isn't working because it's not before breakfast or it's not in the optimum fat burning intensity. I've trusted the experts because the more I've learnt about exercise and specifically fat loss, the more confused I've gotten. Forget the 'just do it', because there is a right time and a right place and I obviously don't know what they are otherwise I wouldn't have plateaued. Right? Wrong and Choice is here to de-myth all the things I have believed about exercise and not in a fitness magazine type way. Most of their articles are by subscription, but this little gem isn't so you can read the whole article here. So, lets get to myth busting - here are my favourites.

1. My favourite fact: Chocolate = 1250kJ. One hour walk = 1250kJ. Chocolate here I come. And that's how we all gain weight. Why? (Please someone tell me I wasn't the only one who didn't know this!) Because sitting writing blog post for one hour = 625kJ. So walking only constitutes an additional expenditure of 625kJ over the amount I normally expend.

2. My least favourite fact: The reason I walk is because I'm in the optimum fat burning zone. Yup, that's the reason. It's got nothing to do with being lazy. And it's true that low intensity exercise burns more fat as a percentage of energy burned, except that the total amount of energy is really more important. So increasing intensity and leaving the zone will not only get me fitter, but also use more overall energy.

3. Not justify my hunger fact: If I exercise in the morning my metabolism is increased all day long. Which explains why I'm always hungry after morning exercise. False! While after burn does happen (known as excess post-exercise oxygen consumption) it is generally overestimated. For a meaningful after burn you would have to work long and hard, so my increased hunger is probably unjustified as is exercising in the morning for the sake of the after burn if it doesn't fit well into my routine.

4. The myth that changed my routine: Exercising on an empty stomach burns more fat. You hear something enough times and you believe it. So during my plateau I figured that if I exercised before dinner instead of after breakfast I would be home and hosed. Again, it's true that after fasting you burn more fat, but the total amount of energy expended is more important that whether it's fat or carbohydrate. Which is wonderful, because now I don't have to feel guilty for not wanting to get up at 5am!

5. It's a shame it's almost winter fact: I've always heard that swimming is not helpful for fat loss, not that I ever understood why and spent countless laps trying to work it out. Anyway, it's false as long as you don't eat more because you just spent lots of time in cold water and you work hard enough.

How about you? Did you know all of these already? Got any more of your own?


  1. I have never hears some of these myths! Finally, a benefit to being educated. :-) But with #1, I have never looked at it that way..I am having a mentally dull day, so I am going to have to think about that one!

  2. Patty - Not knowing is probably best! No need to create confusion.



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