Hello my dear readers, last year I wrote a blog post about my healthy routine in here My Healthy Routine . Ever since that post, I learned quite a few more things about fitness and health. I have a better understanding of fitness and a healthy lifestyle. It is eye-opening information and many things I use to believe about diet are wrong. Here are some myths that I used to believe:
1. You Can Spot Reduce Your Body Parts
Way back when I gained weight and I wanted so bad to reduce my belly size. I thought since I only want flat abs, I decided to exercise but the exercises I am doing only focus on abs workout. And I do it almost every day with a once-a-week aerobics class. After few months, I did not really notice significant changes in my tummy. There is no sign of muscle developing on my abs.
Fast forward now, after reading more about health and fitness, I just realize what I did wrong. it turns out that if I want to have flat abs, I cannot just do abs workouts. I have to combine it with another exercise. A full-body workout needs to be done overall to burn fat, then combine with an abs workout. Moreover, when you burn fat you cannot choose which part will lose fat first. Everybody is different, some lose fat in the love handle area first, some may be losing fat around their back, etc. Mostly the hardest fat to burn is in the lower abs. Until now I am still doing a full-body workout, cardio, strength training and abs workout combination, finally I can see few visible muscles on my upper abs.
2. Eat as little as you can to lose weight
The main point of weight loss is essentially calorie deficit. Calories in, calories out. It is that simple, but mind-blowing at the same time when I realize that simple fact. What I thought about losing weight was, doing detoxing by fasting for few days, or eat as little as possible. The result was I feel dizzy, I cannot concentrate during the day and I don’t have the energy to do anything. It was torture for me, moreover, I have a problem with my stomach. Eating too little will make it worse.
The key is controlling the number of calories you consume, find out your daily calorie expenditure and eat about 300 calories less to lose weight. Let’s say, your normal daily calorie expenditure which based on your age, height, weight, gender, and activities is 1400 calories, then to lose weight eat 1100 calories in a day. How do you know how much you eat in a day? You can use an app like my fitness pal, lose it, or fat secret. Additionally, to support your weight loss is also essential to do exercises like cardio and strength training.
3. Cardio is all you have to do to lose weight
I love cardio, over the years of my life, I always do cardio like Zumba, aerobic, body combat, Muay Thai, etc. I am able to maintain my weight thanks to cardio. I used to do cardio 2 to 3 times a week, but as I get busy with work, I end up doing cardio once a week (before covid 19). I did notice when I do less cardio, it is easier to gain weight when I eat a little bit too much than my usual calorie intake. Then I must do more cardio to burn the excess fat.
Cardio is great for fat loss, strengthens your heart, and boosts your immune system, but it is not sustainable for weight loss. I mean if you stop doing cardio, chances are you will gain the excess weight back.
To be sustainable for weight loss and maintaining your weight you need to combine cardio exercise with strength training. Strength training will help you burn calories, and help to maintain your weight by increase the amount of muscle in your body.
4. Strength training will make women look muscular like men
Yes, this is the thing that holds me back from starting strength training initially. I don’t want to be muscular like guys. I don’t want to gain muscle because of that. I am worried about looking manly if I train my muscle and I bet a lot of women think like that too. When I try it myself, gaining muscle is not that easy, let alone become bulky like a man’s muscle. Instead, it makes me look lean and toned. I am loving it. Unless I really flexing, I don’t think anyone would notice that my bicep has grown a little.
It also takes time to build muscle in your body, it is not as easy just by doing strength training, you also have to eat a well balanced diet, find the right workout pattern and be consistent if you want a visible result.
5. If you work out hard, you can eat whatever you want
As an Indonesian, the food I eat is mainly carbs and a lot of delicious fried or oily food (LOL). Protein usually is consuming in a smaller amount compared to carbs. After learning about well-balanced food to build muscle, I just realize how important it is to have the right amount of protein in my daily food consumption. Eating healthy with enough protein is probably the hardest part of my fitness journey. Because I love fried food and carbs. But you know what they say “abs are made in the kitchen”, meaning what you are eating has the biggest impact on your fitness progress. Besides watching calories in and calories out, you must also nourish your body with healthy food.
Let me say that I am not doing entirely clean eating, I am a more flexible dieting kind of girl. What I do is trying to reduce oil and sugar in my diet. I still eat sugar but less than I used to, and I eat fried food every now and then. Also, eat more protein as needed to build muscle.
6. Exercise every day to lose weight faster
Exercising every day will only drain your energy and make you exhausted. Balance is key with exercising. You can do a workout but your body needs some rest time to be able to recover. Personally, I cannot do 7 days a week workout without a rest day. The book I read also says that you need to take a day off from exercise to allow your body to adjust and grow muscle.
7. You cannot eat after 6 pm
You can eat at any hour as you like as long as it is still on track with your daily calorie intake goal. For example, your daily calorie intake is 1500 calorie, and by 6 pm the total calorie you eat is 1000, that means you have 500 calories left then you can eat this 500-calorie left at 7 pm, 9 pm even 11 pm. It does not matter what time you eat, what matters in “calorie in calorie out”. As long as you still have spare calorie intake on that day, you can eat at any time you want.