Are You Falling Victim to These 5 Fat Loss Myths?

The fat loss industry is filled with myths that consistently mislead the general public.

In this article, I’m going to lay out five of the most common fat loss myths and bust them so that you can make informed decisions on your journey to a healthy, lean body.

Enough banter, let’s get to it.


Myth #1: Tons of Cardio is Essential

I can hear the critics now.

Wait a minute. So you’re telling me that endless amounts of boring, joint-ruining cardio doesn’t cause fat to just melt off? Yes, and I’m afraid I have even more bad news.

Excessive medium intensity, long duration cardio can actually have negative effects, such as elevated cortisol levels.

Cortisol is a natural stress hormone, but when it is produced excessively in the body, it causes the breakdown of muscle tissue, lower testosterone (in males), and increased fat storage.

Along with the cortisol increase, medium intensity long duration cardio also places a ton of load on joints such as the knees, hips, and ankles.

High intensity interval training (HIIT), such as sprints or bike intervals, are a much more effective and efficient alternative. HIIT is usually 30 seconds of high intensity work, followed by 60 seconds of rest. This will give you all of the fat loss benefits without overly taxing your hormonal system.

Myth #2: You Must Avoid Dietary Fat Like the Plague

The fear of fat, especially for those trying to lose fat, has reached almost phobic levels. The pressure from food manufacturers to consume their low-fat “healthy” products has reached an all-time high.

But is there merit to completely avoiding fat when trying to lose fat?

Not really. Fat has the most energy per gram, and it will give you the most bang for your buck in terms of feeling full and energized throughout the day. Healthy fats such as avocados, coconut oil, olive oil, and nut/seed butters can be a great source of quick and sustainable energy.

It may sound counterintuitive, but don’t completely ditch fat when trying to lose fat.

Myth #3: You Have to Work Much Harder in the Gym

Am I saying that you shouldn’t work hard? Absolutely not.

But you have to understand that when you’re dieting, your body is running on a lower amount of energy than it is accustomed to. If you try to ramp up the intensity every workout like you normally would, your progress will slow and you will burn out.

When dieting, work smarter, not harder. Listen to your body and adjust accordingly, taking a day off if needed.

Myth #4: Exercises Must Be Performed With Light Weight for High Repetitions

The idea that you need to do upwards of twenty repetitions with an extremely light weight in order to get “toned” is outdated and flat out wrong.

There is no rep range that will make you look “toned”; definition is achieved when you have muscle at a low body fat percentage. This misconception is most common among women who are afraid to lift heavy weights in fear of becoming “bulky”. That is another myth in and of itself, so I won’t go into detail.

What I will say is that lifting moderately heavy weight in the 8-10 repetition range will give you some muscle gain and provide enough stimuli to maintain the muscle that you have if you’re dieting. Don’t be afraid to lift heavy (you too, ladies), as it’s very beneficial for fat loss and muscle retention.

Myth #5: You Must Starve Yourself

This is a major problem among those who are trying to lose a significant amount of weight. The thought is that if they cut calories enough, almost to the point of starvation, their body will have no choice but to lose fat.

This is a terrible way to look at fat loss as it can cause some serious issues that are worse than the accumulated fat. To sum up the negatives, when you reduce your caloric intake below a certain point (this is individual to each person), your metabolism shuts down.

Your body thinks that it’s going through a famine and it struggles to hold onto every bit of fat because fat contains the most energy per gram. Having no other alternative, you are then forced to burn muscle tissue for energy. This situation is very easily avoidable. If you are going to go on a weight loss diet, be sure to lower calories slowly. When progress begins to stall, you can lower calories little by little, but never to the point of starvation.

Lowering calories slowly ensures that your metabolism functions properly so you can sustain fat loss over a longer period of time.

Wrap Up

You are now armed to fight against the misconceptions that are being spread in the fat loss industry. Do your best to spread the word about these common fat loss myths, as knowledge is power and the more people understand the proper way to approach losing fat, the healthier we will become.

To learn more about fat loss and other fitness concepts, visit

Jacob Johnson

Writer and blogger who is passionate about high performance fitness and nutrition. Avid reader and learner, helping people live a healthier life. Visit my site at for more information.

5 thoughts on “Are You Falling Victim to These 5 Fat Loss Myths?

  • April 22, 2013 at 8:00 am

    Thanks for the tips ! Even though they may be slightly counter intuitive, I’m gonna give them a try.

    • April 22, 2013 at 11:38 am

      Glad you enjoyed the article, Aimee. No matter what you do, just keep experimenting and find what specific methods work for your goals.

      Jacob Johnson

  • April 20, 2013 at 7:20 am

    Morey hit the nail on the head. Muscle mass takes a great amount of energy to maintain, and if you’re in an overly extreme caloric deficit and not consuming enough protein, your body will tap into muscle tissue for energy.

    Jacob Johnson

  • April 19, 2013 at 11:23 am

    Unfortunately, that is the way the body works. If it is in starvation mode, it will burn muscle instead of fat. It’s easier to burn the muscle, so when the body “thinks” it’s starving, it burns that which takes less energy.

  • April 19, 2013 at 11:08 am

    Thats hard to believe that to go on an extrerme diet,that the body will stop burning fat & will instead burn the muscle tissues intead.


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