There are so, so many lies in the fitness and nutrition world that are ever so prevalent. Even those who know absolutely nothing about health seem to praise these lies as absolute truth. One such myth that always seems to be circling involves muscle and fat.
Most people have fat loss as a goal. That's just the way it is. But what most people don't understand is how this process actually works.
No, fat doesn't just become muscle.
No, fat doesn't weigh more than muscle.
No, you don't have to only do cardio to burn fat.
And no, getting your heart rate into the "fat burn zone" as specified by the cardio machine or watch you are using doesn't actually mean you are burning fat.
Instead, what I've found to be the best way to lose fat isn't actually to lose much weight at all (maybe a little at first). Rather, when we start a fat loss goal by building muscle, we automatically increase our metabolic rate. Couple that with a focus on real food nutrition and blood sugar regulation, and you won't need hours of cardio to kick off your fat loss goal.
Why do I say I don't want you to lose much weight at first? While it isn't necessarily a bad thing to lose weight right away, I want you to be gaining muscle while you are starting the process of losing weight/fat. This gain/loss might end up cancelling itself out so that the scale appears not to have moved, but yet your body composition is changing.
This is often where the myth of fat weighing more than fat comes into play. Muscle takes up less space than fat, but it doesn't weigh more or less. If you have one pound of fat and one pound of muscle, which weighs more? Neither! They both weigh one pound!
We've created a culture so dead set on cardio for fat loss and demonized the weight room for fear that it will make us bulky. Trust me, if you really want to become bulky, you'll really have to work hard at it. You don't just wake up one day and look at your arms and say, "Damn, I got bulky overnight." It just doesn't work that way.
Instead, focusing on building muscle through strength training and interval training will allow your metabolism to rise so you are burning more calories at rest. Plus, that extra muscle will help your body stay as mobile as possible as you age, as well as help ward off chronic disease.
The moral of the story? Don't fall into the lies we've been told about muscle and fat. Running your ass off every day probably won't fix the problem. Managing blood sugar and building muscle will.