Have you ever hit the gym hoping for a quick weight loss fix? Or blamed a lack of exercise when you don’t see a loss on the scales? When it comes to slimming and exercise, there are so many misconceptions around that it can be hard to separate fact from fiction.
To help you cut through the confusion, we’ve busted five of the most common myths about weight loss and exercise.
Five myths about exercise and weight loss: busted
Myth: Exercising is the best way to lose weight
It’s a widely held belief that fat-burning workouts can help you lose weight quickly. In fact, while exercise is an important part of any healthy lifestyle, with huge benefits for your physical and mental health, it’s no fast-track to slimming success. You’d have to do a lot of exercise – more than most people could manage! – to achieve anything like the weekly results you get from Food Optimising.
You’ll know that you lose weight when your body is using more energy than it’s taking in, and it’s far easier to create this deficit by changing what you eat than by burning calories through exercise. By filling up on Free Foods, which are naturally lower in energy density but still satisfying, you can expect losses of 1-2lbs a week. You’d have to run for about an hour every day to lose that much through exercise alone.
Although Kat Miller enjoyed hiking and Body Pump classes, she couldn’t seem to stop her weight creeping up. Then she started Food Optimising and found the pounds steadily came off. She says: “After a while, I could get through a workout without needing a breather and, as I lost more weight, I had so much energy that I started Bodyattack and step cardio classes, too.”
MORE ON THE BLOG: Read Kat’s Body Magic diary
Myth: No pain, no gain
The idea that exercise needs to be an ordeal to benefit your health and weight loss is one of the most common myths around. In reality, the government’s recommended health goal is 150 minutes of moderate-intensity activity a week. That’s anything that makes you feel warmer and speeds up your breathing and heart rate. Our Body Magic activity programme helps you to increase your activity levels at your own pace. There’s no pressure to count crunches or run marathons (unless you want to) – a brisk walk for 30 minutes a day, combined with healthy eating, is enough to help you lose an extra stone over a year.
Our Woman of the Year 2020, Wendy Deacon, never imagined she would enjoy exercise before she joined Slimming World. Now, she’s a gym member, has run a 5K and is planning to start boxercise classes. She says: “I’ve definitely caught the Body Magic bug. I feel so fit and healthy, and I want to grab every challenge.”
MORE ON THE BLOG: Read Wendy’s story
Myth: Exercise makes it harder to lose weight
Whether it’s believing that muscle weighs more than fat or thinking exercise makes you more hungry (research shows it can actually lower your appetite), lots of us point the finger at exercise when we stop losing weight. You might be surprised to hear, then, that adding activity into your routine alongside Food Optimising can actually give your weight loss a boost. There’s even research that shows that the more lean muscle you have, the faster your metabolism is – that’s the rate at which you burn calories. This means that fitter people burn more energy, even when they’re just sitting down!
Myth: I need to lose weight before I start to exercise
From feeling self-conscious in the gym to not knowing how to get started, we understand that there are lots of things that can hold slimmers back from becoming more active, especially at the start of their journeys. Our Body Magic programme is for everyone – at all levels of fitness. So even if you’re making your first steps towards a slimmer you and you’ve never exercised before, we’ll help you gradually fit activity into your daily life until it’s a natural part of your routine.
When Steve Tranmer joined Slimming World he also started jogging on a treadmill at his work, and soon discovered he enjoyed weightlifting. He says: “I grew to love exercise so much, I became a personal trainer. Now I’m 7st down, I feel fitter, healthier and more energetic than I ever dreamed possible.”
MORE ON THE BLOG: Read Steve’s Body Magic diary
MORE FOR MEMBERS: You’ll find a lot of ideas to help you get moving more over on our members-only website, including helpful how-tos and inspiring workout videos.
Myth: I can’t exercise because I have limited mobility
While mobility impairment can make it more challenging to exercise, there are plenty of options and lots of support available to help you experience the benefits of Body Magic. Swimming, inclusive gyms and wheelchair-friendly walking routes are all great options for getting active if you have a disability, injury or impairment. You’ll also find some easy-to-follow chair-based workouts on the NHS website.
After developing multiple sclerosis, Kim Hatton didn’t exercise for over 30 years… until her Slimming World Consultant inspired her to try an online wheelchair workout. Now she’s aiming for her silver Body Magic award.
MORE ON THE BLOG: Read Kim’s story
Whether you’re already a fitness fan or you’re taking your first steps towards a more active lifestyle, Slimming World is here to support you through your journey towards a healthier you – and help you keep your weight loss goals on track along the way.
If you have a weight loss related myth that needs busting, let us know on the blog.