Debunking Common Fitness & Nutrition Myths
There is a ton of misinformation out there in the health and fitness industry, leaving many people confused as to what's fact and what's fiction. Let's debunk some popular fitness and nutrition myths, shall we?
MYTH: EATING AT NIGHT WILL CAUSE YOUR BODY TO STORE FAT
TRUTH: Eating late at night will not cause weight gain. Weight gain is caused by eating more calories than your body requires on a regular, consistent basis. What we eat can overtime cause weight gain, however when we eat has little (if any) impact on whether or not we gain weight. There is no internal clock that cues our body to start storing fat after 8pm, so whether you consume all of your calories before the evening, or after, so long as you do not eat more calories than your body requires, you will not gain weight. For example, I consume roughly 1800 - 1950 calories per day, whether I consume these meals between 8am and 6pm or 12pm and 10pm makes absolutely no difference to my body. So long as I do not consume more calories than I burn, I will not gain weight. So, instead of stressing about when you eat, focus on what and how you eat.
MYTH: YOU CAN CHOOSE WHERE YOU LOSE BODY FAT FROM
TRUTH: We cannot "spot reduce" fat, meaning that we cannot pick and choose the areas of our bodies from which we would like to lose fat. Your body will lose fat from the areas that it chooses, some areas of your body will shed fat quite quickly, while other areas are far more stubborn and tend to hold on to that extra fat for longer. Much like how we cannot choose where we gain weight, we cannot choose the areas from which we lose weight. In order to reduce fat on our abdomen, hips, thighs, or any other part of our body, we must reduce our body fat overall. Instead of focusing on one body part specifically, focus on lowering your overall body fat percentage.
MYTH: IN ORDER TO GAIN MUSCLE YOU NEED PROTEIN POWDERS, BARS, & BCAA'S
TRUTH: Whether or not you choose to supplement your diet with protein bars, powders, or BCAA's (Branched-Chain Amino Acids) comes down to a matter of personal preference. While protein intake is an essential factor when seeking to gain muscle, your protein intake does not need to come from protein supplements so long as you consume a sufficient amount of protein in your diet. If you're getting enough protein from the foods that you eat, you do not need to include protein supplements. Whether you supplement or not, space your protein intake throughout the day, by consuming protein with each meal.
MYTH: LIFTING WEIGHTS MAKES WOMEN BULKY
TRUTH: "Bulking" is achieved with a combination of heavy weight-training and eating an excess of calories. Lifting weights, in general, will not cause you to become bulky, and in fact can help with fat reduction, calorie burning, and in altering our body composition (aka "toning.") Not only does weight-lifting burn calories during your workout, it can also cause you to burn more calories throughout the day. How? The more lean body mass (aka fat-free mass) that you have, the more calories your body will burn, even when at rest. Have no fear, weight-lifting will not turn you into the Hulk, but can instead help you to feel and look leaner, stronger, and pretty bad*ss.
MYTH: "CARBS MAKE YOU FAT" OR "EATING FAT WILL MAKE YOU FAT"
TRUTH: Carbs nor fat will "make" you fat. Weight gain occurs when we consume more calories than our body requires on a regular, consistent basis. Excess intake of any macronutrient (carbohydrates, fat, or protein) will, overtime, cause weight gain. However, one macronutrient specifically will not cause weight gain. Weight gain is not caused by consuming too much fat, or too many carbohydrates, but by consuming too many overall calories on a regular basis. While some people have success on a high-carb diet, and others have success on a Keto (high-fat/low-carb) diet, weight loss occurs when we create a calorie deficit, not by restricting and/or increasing one specific macronutrient.
MYTH: IT'S BETTER TO USE STRENGTH-TRAINING MACHINES THAN FREE WEIGHTS
TRUTH: While there are pros and cons to both machines and free weights like dumbbells, one is not necessarily superior to the other. Strength-training machines allow you to target or emphasize specific muscle groups, however they do not allow movement in all 3 planes of motion. Free weights, on the other hand allow movement to occur in all 3 planes, however they have the potential to be more dangerous if performed with incorrect form or with a weight that is too heavy for the individual. While there are many benefits to using both machines and free weights, one is not superior to the other, and both can be used as part of a well-balanced training routine.
MYTH: AB WORKOUTS WILL GIVE YOU ABS
TRUTH: Doing 1000 crunches will not give you abs. Visible abs (I say visible because technically speaking we all have abs aka abdominal muscles) are heavily dependent upon both nutrition and body fat percentage. While training your core is important for posture, movement, and spine strength and alignment, training abs alone will not give you abs. If your body percentage is too high, or if you have too much subcutaneous fat (fat directly underneath the skin), the chances are you won't have visible abs. Another major defining factor is nutrition. I'm sure you've heard that "abs are made in the kitchen" and there is truth to that, you can't out-train a bad diet, so it's crucial to focus on nutrition just as diligently (if not more) as you would exercise. And above all remember: Not having abs does not mean you're unhealthy or unfit. Having abs is cool (not that I would know), and not having abs is cool (I'm cool.)
I don't have abs, but I'm still kinda cool,