I enjoy reading fitness magazines. Occasionally they provide useful fitness tips but more often than not they rely on pseudo science, anecdotal evidence and old-wives tales. This is the case for a recent Muscle and Fitness Article entitled 10 Fat-Torching Tips for a Shredded Physique. I will breakdown the article and explain why each tip does or does not conform with science and how, overall, these tips will never help you get shredded.
First, let’s define shredded. For the purposes of this article let’s assume shredded means an obscenely low body-fat percentage. In order to accomplish a low body-fat percentage one must, presumably, reduce one’s body fat. So this article is essentially telling you how to lose weight. Well, how not to lose weight.
- Eat a substantial breakfast. Tip one blows this entire thing up. Eating more does not help you, the dog, or anyone else lose weight. Eating a less substantial, or even no breakfast, seems like the more logical approach.
- Lift Before Cardio. Umm, okay. Or lift after cardio. Or Lift. Or do Cardio. The article suggests by doing cardio first you will “deplete your glycogen stores, minimizing muscular strength and power gains.” I think what they are getting at is you will be fatigued so you will have to work harder? Sounds like a good way to blow up form and jack up your back thus reducing your long-term ability to get in the weight-room.
- Do Squats and Deadlifts. Why? Why? The claim is they work the whole body. Well, no. Both of these exercises are considered leg exercises. Both have great potential to jack up your back. Especially if you are fatigued. I am on-board with full body exercises. These just ain’t them.
- Do HIIT Instead of Steady State Cardio. “Research shows that High Intensity Interval Training (HIIT) is a far more effective way to lose body fat than steady state exercise. As an added bonus, you won’t cannibalize muscle tissue and you’ll spend less time bored on the treadmill.” What research? By whom? Actual research show your body almost never significantly cannibalizes muscle until all other resources are depleted as long as you are doing some consistent level of resistance training.
- Lift Heavy. Or… Lift Safely. Lifting is important. But weight-loss is a long-term process. If you “Lift Heavy” for a prolonged period of time you are likely to cause damage to joints and ligaments resulting in “lift nothing.” So lift “heavy-ish.”
- Circuit Train. “Stop wasting time at the Gym.” Now this one I fully support! Walking around and leaning on equipment does not do anything for shredding anything. Get in, get done, and get out.
Don’t Socialize When Training. “Don’t waste time chatting at the gym.” This is really “Tip 6a.” But yes, “In, done, out.”
- Eat Every 3 Hours. Constantly eat and you are sure to lose weight? No. There is anecdotal evidence at best to support this. Eat less. Eat less often.
- Drink Green Tea. Sure. Green tea, coffee, water. Drink all these things. More importantly, stop drinking beer, Starbucks FrapoMachiChoco 1/2 Latte whipped desert beverage, two bottles of wine and Cola products like they emanate from the Holy Grail.
- Wear a Heart Rate Monitor. Or… eat less, drink less beer and lift a challenging amount of weight 2 to 3 times a week and do 20+ minutes of activity which causes you to breath a little heavier.
The bottom line, if you were to follow all of these tips as is, you would be more likely to gain weight than lose weight. You would likely become frustrated and likely move on to a different fitness tip in about 4 weeks, about the time a new copy of Muscle and Fitness is published. Please share this article with someone you think might enjoy it and benefit from it, and subscribe so you do not miss a single edition of the blog.