Everyday, it seems the media has a new reason why your daily activity is going to kill you or why you need to purchase a new random nutritional product to get that model body you want tomorrow! Well, you won’t have that model body tomorrow, unless you have already been putting in the hard work, the right way,over time. You also don’t have to worry about your 2 cups of coffee in the morning killing you. Here are a few myth busters to help you sort through the media nonsense.
1. You shouldn’t eat after 7pm
FALSE – This is absolutely wrong. Your body does not have an internal clock that tells your metabolism to stop digesting food. This myth evolved with the increase in sedentary activity and rise in obesity, which has been dubbed the “Average American Lifestyle.”
The recommendation to not eat after 7pm, resulted from studies using participants that had already consumed their daily allotment of calories prior to 7pm. Researchers discovered that the average working class people were returning home in the evening, eating dinner, then proceeding to snack as they watched TV late into the night. Researchers concluded that the snacking after dinner, along with the lack of activity in front of the TV was causing the increase in sleep disorders, weight gain and an overall unhealthy lifestyle.
The Truth – You can eat at any time of day, as long as you are consuming the correct number of calories overall. The current recommendation is to eat every 2-3 hours in order to keep your metabolism at its highest rate of digestion and your body anabolic (in a muscle building state). You should however, aim to consume the majority of your calories earlier in the day and favor protein/fats in the later portion of your day. With a decreasing need for immediate energy (carbohydrates), your body prefers proteins/fats, which will digest more slowly and feed your body throughout a good night’s sleep.
2. Any infomercial AB machine will give you a 6-pack
FALSE – Wrong on all kinds of levels! There are always “new and innovative” home machines coming out that promise a flatter stomach and 6-pack abs. Infomercials are typically no more than a bad sales approach. This myth evolved with the overall popularity of fitness and the desired look associated with being fit, most often, a 6-pack. The infomercial machines don’t stack up to their claims for two reasons.
First, there is no such thing as spot reduction. This means that no matter how hard you work your abs, they aren’t going to look like the fitness models on TV unless you have an overall fit body. Exercising your abs does not mean you will lose weight around your stomach specifically, but instead your body will burn calories and lose weight overall. Everyone’s body responds differently to exercise and yours may favor weight loss from one area over another.
Second, abdominal muscles do not become defined because they are strong enough to do 1000’s of sit-ups. Your Abs, like any other muscle in the body, show definition as you decrease your overall body fat. Your overall body fat percentage determines how defined each muscle appears.
The Truth – Your abdominal muscles main job for the body is to keep your spine straight. Your abs act as a support to keep your upper body from falling forward. Therefore, isn’t a machine that causes you to round your back or “crunch forward” a bit counter intuitive anyway?
3. You need protein supplements post-workout
TRUE – Finally some truth! Protein supplementation is the absolute sure-fire way to be sure you are getting the best results from your workouts. Your muscles are made up of proteins. During resistance training, you are actually damaging the fibers that make up your muscles. Your body’s response is to rebuild the damaged areas stronger than they were before. This requires protein.
Whole food proteins, such as chicken or eggs, are made up of several different kinds of protein. They can take several hours to be broken down and several more hours until they are assimilated (absorbed) into the damaged muscles. High quality protein supplements are hydrolyzed (pre-digested). This significantly reduces the timeframe required for your body to utilize the proteins. Post-workout protein supplements are also reduced to a single type of protein, being whey isolate. Whey isolate protein is the fastest assimilating protein.
Now, with a protein supplement that is hydrolyzed and reduced to a whey isolate, your body is able to flood the damaged muscles with the proper nutrients very quickly. The quicker your muscles are able to receive nutrients, the better your body will be able to rebuild the muscles and the less sore you will be later on.
The Truth continued – You should also look to consume proper amounts of carbohydrates
post-workout. Consuming high glycemic (sugary) carbohydrates with your protein will assist in spiking insulin. Insulin is a hormone responsible for delivering protein molecules into the muscles and increasing natural growth hormone production. Although proper post workout carbohydrates are easier to find in whole foods, supplementation post workout will always work more efficiently. Check out a post workout carbohydrate.
4. Muscle will turn into fat
FALSE – This one doesn’t even make sense! Luckily, it is fairly easy to understand why you don’t have to worry about your hard earned muscles magically being turned into fat. Your body doesn’t necessarily enjoy carrying extra muscle. Muscle requires calories to be maintained, which is why the more muscle you carry, the faster your overall metabolism is. This is also why when you go long periods of time (over 3 hours) without eating or skip your post-workout meal, your body turns to breaking down muscles as a source of energy.
Your body is programmed to store fat incase of emergency (i.e. if your caveman and don’t eat for several days). Fat does not require calories to be maintained; rather, it is your body’s storage of extra calories. Muscle on the other hand, increases the need for calorie consumption. Therefore, your body, as an act of self-preservation, will breakdown muscle before breaking down fat when in “starvation.”
As your muscles are broken down, you leave room for the expansion of fat cells. The replacement of muscle by fat cells is what may cause the appearance of muscle “turning into” fat. Also with the decrease in muscle mass will come a decrease in overall metabolism, causing further fat storage.
The Truth – Eating the proper number of calories throughout the day and maintaining a moderately active lifestyle will preserve muscle and allow your body to access fat as an energy source more efficiently.
5. Carbohydrates are bad for you
FALSE – That is a relief because carbohydrates are delicious! This myth evolved with the popularity of the “low carb diet” and the “gluten free diet.” The “low carb” diet (Atkins, Paleo, etc.) is a crash diet. This is a way to loose several pounds of weight very quickly, even though you are guaranteed to put the weight back on when you return to normal eating habits. As the “low carb diet” became more popular, eating carbohydrates became associated with putting on fat. That is not the case! Carbohydrates are your body’s go-to immediate source of energy. Carbohydrates are also the ONLY form of energy your brain cells and red blood cells are capable of using. Yes, if you over eat carbohydrates, they will be stored as fat (just like any other macronutrient) but that does not mean eating appropriate amounts is bad for you!
A long-term “low carb” diet is very unhealthy. When your body is deprived of its main source of energy over time, it is forced to resort to other methods of making energy. The revised method of making energy is called “ketosis.” Ketosis occurs when your body is forced to burn fat and convert protein molecules into glucose as a source of energy source. Ketosis can cause high acidic levels of the blood and will cause fat storage when carbohydrates are reintroduced into the diet.
Consuming carbohydrates regularly is key to a healthy diet. One popularized way of creating natural fat burning is by utilizing “carbohydrate cycling.” This is a widely used dieting technique incorporating varying higher and lower carbohydrate consumption days. This forces the body into ketosis periodically, causing fat burning without the risk of increased blood acidity or fat storage.
The Truth – An average healthy diet is typically comprised of 40% carbohydrates. If you are interested in altering your diet, speak with a professional first! You can email me at firstname.lastname@example.org. Gluten is a protein! Gluten is naturally found in the composite of wheat products. Gluten-free diets are typically given to patients with celiac’s disease and it is very rare for a healthy individual to have a gluten intolerance.