Just do a google search for weight loss and you will find a slew of sites, products, so-called fitness facts and experts pitching us quick and easy way to lose fat. So many of us are suckered into fad diets each year with the promise that we can quickly develop a svelte body or we are sold exercise plans that proclaim to lead to super fast weight loss or muscle build up.

The blunt truth is staying healthy and fit requires a consistent, disciplined lifestyle that pays off overtime.

With so many proposed fitness facts, theories and myths out there it is easy to get misinformed. Here we explore and debunk some common fitness facts and myths.

Fiction: you can loose more than a pound per day on a good diet plan

Fact: a pound of fat is equivalent to about five thousand calories.  Burning off five thousand calories is extremely difficult.  Even a high-intensity exercise like wrestling or rugby, in which nearly every muscle in your body is pushed to its limit, burns about five hundred calories per hour.

Typical exercise with moderate intensity like running only burns about two hundred calories per hour.  You would need to exercise all day at peak levels (which even a professional athlete cannot do) to burn a pound of body fat in such a short period of time.

It is not healthy to lose more than one pound of body fat per week, because you will put too much strain on your muscles and bones.

Fiction: you burn belly fat if you do stomach exercises like crunches alone

Fact: there is no way to burn off fat from a specific part of your body.  Fat is stored around every area of the body and burning off fat reduces it from all areas of your body. This is a fitness fact that is especially important to understand because so many times we are sold equipments or exercise regimen that targets specific areas of the body, most often these are fads.

If you want to get rid of the dreaded muffin top, you will have to work hard enough to lower your cumulative body fat from your stomach, legs, and chest.  Burning fat is best achieved by increasing your heart rate to its maximum performance (usually doubling or tripling its beats per minute).

The longer you retain your heart rate at a high rate, the more fat you burn off from your body — a marathon runner will get almost all their energy from fat reserves after about an hour of running.

Fiction: cardiovascular exercise will limit muscle growth

Fact: cardiovascular exercise should be done for at least 30 minutes 4 days a week to support heart health.

Getting as little as fifteen minutes of cardiovascular exercise per day can completely negate most fatty foods you eat during the day and lead to weight loss over time.

It does not affect the growth rate of muscular mass when you increase your heart rate — in fact, since your muscle cells need blood to deliver nutrients, it speeds up the process (though not by much).

Fiction: exercise is best done immediately before or immediately after eating.

Fact: it really does not matter when you workout or when you eat.  Morning, noon, or night all have the exact same result on your body — it is a simple matter of calories in and calories out.

If you burn off more calories in a day than you eat, you rely on body fat reserves to make up the difference.  If you  eat a big meal and then work out, you may feel a bit sluggish, but the nutrition will go towards building muscle mass as soon as you are done exercising.

Instead of timing your meals, make sure that you get enough complex carbohydrates and proteins to support your body and minimize simple fats like sugar and oil.

Fiction: when you work out with other people, you do better

 Fact: actually, this one maybe true.  Our psychology is geared to do better at an activity when we are in the presence of other people.

Whether you do a yoga class or just go jogging with a friend, your output will be greater simply by the presence of another person.  Best of all, you do not even notice it, but just do it automatically.

This is why gyms have people run on treadmills in front of glass windows, so that people looking from outside spur everyone to greater effort.

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