In today's February 15, 2010 newsletter . . .

  • Myth Busting: Body Fat and
    Six-Pack Abs

  • Fat Burner Exercise of the Month

Myth-Busting: Body-Fat and Six-Pack Abs

Myth: The way to burn off fat is with long, daily workouts.

Myth-Busting Fact: Putting fat people through torturous workouts, like those seen on “The Biggest Loser” TV series, will certainly burn calories. But regardless of workout intensity and/or duration, the only way to lose weight and body-fat is to consume fewer calories than your body needs to maintain its present state. A combination of cardio and resistance exercise is certainly important. But a proper diet is number one. See Ab Exercise and a Trim Waistline.

Myth: For both fitness and body-fat reduction, the rule is: No pain, no gain.

Myth-Busting Fact: Mild muscle soreness is common when starting an exercise program. But actual pain, especially in a joint, means you are doing something wrong, such as using improper exercise form; or, maybe, there is an underlying problem that should be checked by a doctor. If you are a senior, improvement comes from pushing yourself gradually. Not beating yourself up.

Myth: No matter what you do, as you get older you lose muscle and gain fat.

Myth-Busting Fact: This one is true — if you do nothing to prevent it. But even in old age, you can increase lean body mass (muscle) and decrease fat through resistance exercise and a good diet.

Myth: Strength training makes women “bulky”.

Myth-Busting Fact: Not unless you’re talking about female pro-bodybuilders doing lots of heavy lifting, specialized eating and, often, taking steroids. The truth is weight training is the most affective way to tone and strengthen muscles, but most women lack the testosterone levels to build huge bulky muscles.

Myth: For maximum fat burning, early morning workouts are best.

Myth-Busting Fact: There may be some advantage in losing more fat by working out before your first meal of the day, as your body must tap into more of its reserves. But this is fine-tuning (and controversial). If it is convenient and you have the energy at that hour, try it. Overall, though, the best time to work out is a time when you can most consistently fit exercise into your day. Consistently is the key word.

Myth: If you stop exercising your muscle turns to fat

Myth-Busting Fact: Muscle and fat are two different things, so that’s impossible. However, muscle does shrink when it is not used. If you stop exercising you are likely to gain fat because you are not burning as many calories. But muscle cannot transform itself into fat.

Myth: The more out of shape you are, the longer it will take to see results from an exercise program

Myth-Busting Fact: Actually, the less fit you are the greater the relative improvement will be, especially in the first few weeks or months of an exercise program when, percentage-wise, the greatest gains are made.

Myth: Heavy people have a harder time burning calories when they exercise.

Myth-Busting Fact: The more you weigh the more calories per minute you’re guaranteed to burn when you’re doing weight-bearing exercises. It’s a simple law of physics. You’re doing more work because you’re moving a greater mass.

Myth: If you cut fat out of your diet you will lose weight.

Myth-Busting Fact: Reducing the total number of calories consumed daily is the key to weight loss. However, cutting way back on animal fats is a very healthy thing to do. But certain other fats are essential to good health. Read food labels. Many low-fat or nonfat products are loaded with calories from various forms of sugar. And no one needs processed sugar. See Practical Nutrition.

Myth: If you’re thin you are healthy.

Myth-Busting Fact: Not necessarily. Sedentary thin people have a higher mortality rate than physically active but overweight people. Of course, fit people with healthy body-fat percentages are by far the healthiest of all.

Click to see this amazing compact gym system

Fat Burner Exercise of the Month:
Squat Thrust (Burpee)

Following this mid-month's fat burner theme, let's take a look at the short demo of Squat Thrusts (aka Burpees). Squat thrusts fit into that category of bodyweight exercises that build both muscle and endurance. So have some fun. But take it slow if you are a beginner or very overweight. For experienced trainees, huff and puff and challenge yourself. No equipment needed.

Watch the short Dive Bomber demonstration here.

You've probably heard about the tremendous benefits of weight training and how you can retain -- or even reclaim -- the attributes of youth . . . Discover the way with . . .

Gray Iron: A Fitness Guide for Senior Men and Women

Policy Matters

The Gray Iron Fitness Newsletter is a free publication sent twice monthly to subscribers. The purpose is to provide honest and realistic fitness information for people age 50 and above.

I have never been paid or received compensation of any kind to write a positive review or endorse a product. If I say that I personally use a product or service, it is because I find value in it and have paid for it with my own money.

Like newspapers, magazines and television, the newsletter and web site contain advertising and some affiliate marketing links. I receive a commission when people buy the advertised products or services.

The newsletter and web site provide information to help users establish and maintain a fitness lifestyle. But fitness information is not the same as fitness advice, which is the application of exercise and dietary practices to an individual's specific circumstances. Therefore, always consult with your physician for assurance that fitness information, and your interpretation of it, is appropriate for you. Your comments or questions are always appreciated.


Logan Franklin
The Gray Iron Fitness Newsletter