Sex DOESN'T count as exercise and squats WON'T give you the perfect bum… the six weight loss myths you should stop believing

But sometimes they sound too good to be true, and they probably are.

Ever heard that sex counts as exercise because it burns calories? Or perhaps you're just squatting like it's hot all the time for a perfect bum and STILL not seeing results.

That's because they're both not true.

Obesity rates around the world are climbing and experts predict this generation of children may be the first in 200 years to have a shorter life expectancy than their parents, likely down to expanding waistlines.

An article in the New England Medical Journal (NEMJ) in 2013 found many people believe common myths circulated about weight loss, from what's in the media to scientific literature.

Myth 1: Sex counts as exercise

Sorry guys, no matter how many times a week you get down and dirty, it doesn't count as exercise.

"For an average sexual encounter (lasting 6 minutes), an average man in his 30s burns just 20 calories," family medicine experts Tammy Chang and Angie Wang, both from the University of Michigan, wrote in The Conversation.

"And as the NEJM articles further explains, this is just 14 more calories than just sitting and watching TV.

"So if the thought went through your head that sex may be your exercise for the day, you should think again."

Myth 2: Squats give you the perfect bum

Yes, squatting is good for your bum shape, but it's not the only exercise that can sculpt your posterior.

Emma Frain, a personal trainer and head of fitness at Protein World, revealed a mixture of several leg/bum exercises will get you better results.

"You can mix up your butt/leg day workouts by adding some glute activation exercises that really help to switch your butt on during a workout," she told The Sun Online.

"You can do these at the start to help warm up your glutes specifically before exercising as this will ensure they are fully engaged throughout the workout.

"Alternatively, you can add these to the end of the session to really feel the burn.

"Don't be deceived, they may look like simple body weight exercises but these will set your butt on fire!"

Exercise order for Emma's squat-free bum workout


  • Fire Hydrant (20 reps)
  • Lateral Kick outs (20 reps)
  • Donkey Kicks (20 reps)
  • Single Leg Glute Bridge (20 reps)

Swap Legs no rest


  • Fire Hydrant (20 reps)
  • Lateral Kick outs (20 reps)
  • Donkey Kicks (20 reps)
  • Single Leg Glute bridge (20 reps)

60 seconds rest and repeat five more times

Myth 3: You need to eat leafy greens and cut out sugar and booze

OK, on some level you should definitely be trying to cut back on your refined sugars and upping your intake of leafy green veg – but it's not all of one and none of the other.

Australian performance nutrition coach, Camilla Akerberg, told the Mail Online: "Being too strict with yourself like cutting out all sugar and alcohol and eating almost solely leafy greens is not sustainable, and you will most likely end up binge eating and giving up on your diet.

"Try and fill your plate with non-processed foods as much as possible, so that there is less room for processed foods and added sugar in your diet.

"Processed foods, junk foods and added sugar in your diet can result in high blood sugars spikes which in surplus can lead to conversion into excess body fat."

You also don't have to give up booze (yay!) just don't drink like crazy all the time.

Camilla said it's OK to drink occasionally and in moderation, cutting out booze entirely is just not maintainable for most of us.

Don't forgot the NHS recommends you drink no more than 14 units of alcohol per week – that's 6 pints of beer or 6 medium glasses of wine.

Myth 4: Small changes lead to big results

Unfortunately, this is not true.

"In weight loss, two plus two may only equal three instead of four," Tammy and Angie wrote in The Conversation.

"Small changes simply do not add up since physiologically, your body tries to stay the same weight.

"This doesn’t mean that making small healthy choices don’t matter, because even small things you do to stay healthy matter.

"It just means you are not likely to meet your weight loss goals by just taking one less bite. It’s likely going to take bigger changes in your diet and exercise."

Myth 5: You should only set realistic goals

Setting yourself unrealistic goals might actually see you get better results.

"Patients often come in with ambitious goals for weight loss, and we as family physicians nearly always say- go for it," she said.

"There is no evidence that shooting for the stars leads to frustration.

"If anything, aiming for a larger goal may lead to better weight-loss outcomes."

Myth 6: Losing weight fast means you'll put it all back on again

This is not the same as crash dieting, which can be bad for your waistline in the long run.

"Studies have shown that losing a larger amount of weight fast in the beginning (maybe while you are super motivated) has been associated with lower weight in the long-term," Tammy and Angie said.

"There just isn’t evidence to go “slow and steady” when it comes to weight loss."

Part of this story originally appeared in The Conversation.

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