Myth:

For Weight Loss, Focus On Cardio Over Strength Training

All cardio and no strength is not only boring, but may cause you to burn fewer calories overall. “Strength training builds lean muscle mass, which both increases your metabolism and decreases fat. “So the more muscle you build, the more calories you burn on a day-to-day basis.”

Some strength-training workouts can even double as cardio: A recent study by the American Council on Exercise found that maximize weight-loss benefits by incorporating up to four non-consecutive days a week of resistance-based exercise such as kettlebell, TRX, and weightlifting.

Myth:

Do Cardio First, Then Resistance training

If you’re hitting the treadmill for an intense cardio session and then plan to hit the weights afterward, you’ll have little energy left in your tank for your resistance training. When it comes to doing a full, high-intensity cardio session and an entire resistance training workout, perform each on separate days so that you can give 100% attention on each one of them.

Myth:

You Should Burn at Least 500 Calories During Your Cardio Sessions

Ignore the numbers on the treadmill, cross trainer or cycle console and focus on intensity instead. If you work harder in shorter bursts, you’ll burn more calories even after your workout is over. Use a heart-rate monitor (aim to stay between 65 and 85 percent of your max heart rate) or the rate of perceived exertion scale of 1 to 10 (strive for an 7 or 8 on high-intensity intervals) to determine if you’re working hard enough. Consult a professional before starting fitness regimen.

Myth:

Cardio On an Empty Stomach Burns More Fat

You can’t drive a car without gas, so why expect something different from your body? The trouble with this theory is that the large muscles that power you through your cardio exercise rely heavily on a combination of carbs and fats for energy. When you run or bike on an empty stomach, your body will turn to the carbohydrate and fat fragments in your bloodstream and muscle stores, not to the fat in your fat cells to energize your workout, says Michele Olson, Ph.D., an adjunct professor of sports science at Huntingdon College in Montgomery, AL. This strategy could completely backfire, she adds, as you may become hypoglycaemic (low sugar) and low on hydration, which can cause you to cut back on the intensity or stop the exercise.

Eat something light and easy to digest, such as a small piece of fruit and half a cup of low-fat yogurt sprinkled with a couple tablespoons of granola. And be sure to wash it down with one or two full glasses of water.

Myth:

If You Do Enough Cardio, You Can Eat Whatever You Want

Most of us overestimate how many calories we burn during our workouts; and we underestimate how many calories we’re eating.

Exercise alone just isn’t effective enough to burn fat, a recent study suggests that the average obese person loses approximately 5 pounds of fat over the course of eight months through cardio or resistance training alone. That’s an awful lot of work for very minimal results, so don’t forget the “calories in” side of the equation and follow a healthy diet that delivers the calories you need to eat to lose weight.