Health, Fitness and Fake News!!!
I'll be honest this type of blog post has been done before,
There are plenty of versions of it online already.
And I'm sure it will be done again......many times.
But, over the years I have had countless conversations with clients based on statements like this
Eating Carbs make you fat
Eating Fat makes you fat
Fat turns into muscle (or vice versa)
Lifting weights make women bulky
Eating carbs after 6pm makes you fat
It is possible to target specific areas for fat loss
All these statements have their origins in outdated science, fad diets or just misinformation, but unfortunately a lot of people still think they are true.
Hopefully you don't fall into the category of believing any of those statements.
Fitness fake news like this will continue to hang around and there are more stories being added to the list all the time.
Here, in no particular order are my (current) Top Health and Fitness Fake News Stories
You need to do cardio for fat loss.
As long as you are in a calorie deficit you will reduce your body fat,
Adding ANY type of exercise and activity to the mix will help speed up the process.
I personally prefer a mixture of cardio and resistance training, but with the primary focus on resistance training. This helps to maintain muscle mass, which can be lost whilst dieting.
Over the 20+ years I've been working out I have tried more types of supplement than I can remember and spent even more money. Very few, if any have had any noticeable results. Most do nothing, the only supplements I recommend to clients are a good quality protein powder and multi vitamin, and even these are not essential if your diet is on point.
For a workout to be successful it must leave you in a broken heap on the floor.
We all know the phrase no pain no gain and that is how a lot of people think workouts must be.
Don't get me wrong, it can be fun to push yourself to the point you collapse on the floor at the end of your session, I've done it to myself on plenty of occasions, but to train like this on almost daily basis is not the way to go.
You risk injury and constantly overdoing things can be hard to recover from.
You get stronger and fitter as you recover from the metabolic and cellular damage that training causes.
Training to the point of exhaustion every session, places very high demands on your body and slows the recovery process down.
I'm all for working hard and progressing as much as possible. But whenever you step in the gym, each workout should provide a training stimulus on your muscles that makes them adapt and grow but doesn't take you a week to recover from.
Squats and deadlifts are bad for your knees/back.
When performed correctly, squats and deadlifts are some of the best exercises going to help strengthen your back and knees.
If your joints are healthy and you have no degenerative conditions, then I believe that doing some form of these exercises is a must.
They are based on how our bodies are designed to move, so even if you do have some back or knee issue, it is often possible to still find a version that will be suitable and beneficial.
It is when they are performed incorrectly that you are risking injury. Poor TECHNIQUE is bad for your back and knees
However, the same can be said for ALL exercises.
Fat loss is easy
Magazines tell us how to lose 2 stone in 7 days.
Websites give you the secret to getting ripped in 6 weeks.
But how many people manage it?
If it was that easy, we'd all be walking around shredded.
The concept and principles of fat loss ARE easy.
Eat less, move more, create a calorie deficit, job done.
Unfortunately, we are surrounded by cheap, low quality, high calorie foods.
Snacks, takeaways and junk foods are more readily available than ever,
Combine that with a lack of basic nutrition knowledge and cooking skills and it becomes easy to see where the difficulties lie.
Changing a lifetime of poor dietary habits is a big challenge.
Changing your lifestyle is difficult,
But it is not impossible.
You must lift heavy all the time
This is like my earlier point about leaving yourself in a heap on the floor to have had a good workout. I used to think that I every rep in the gym needed to be heavy a possible, that you need to be bursting a blood vessel to get the most out of your workouts.
I do believe that new trainees should develop a reasonable level of strength but progress does not have to measured in how high your 1 or even 5 rep max is.
There are plenty of other methods to challenge yourself and your muscles.
There is nothing wrong with dropping the weight back and adding an extra set or a few more reps.
Try lifting with a slower tempo, take 4-5 seconds to perform the eccentric part (lowering) of your lifts and you will soon find that those light weights suddenly don't feel so light anymore.
How about increasing the difficulty of the exercise? Single limb exercises or offset weight positions can provide a surprising increase in how difficult an exercise feels.
We should all look like fitness models all the time
Fitness model images sell and who wouldn't want to look as awesome as these models do?
The fitness industry (myself included) makes money from people that want to get in shape.
That is not a problem, there are plenty of people out there that need guidance with making positive changes with their lives, the problem is we now that we have unrealistic expectations and think that this is how we should all look.
For these guys, it is their jobs to look this way.
The gym is their office, every day for hours on end,
Their next job relies on them being almost photo shoot ready at the drop of a hat.
It is INCREDIBLY hard to look this way all year round.
But if your mortgage depended on it, you'd have to maintain it.
There is nothing wrong with being fit and healthy, I believe it is our responsibility to take care of our bodies, to workout, eat a balanced diet, maintain a healthy body weight but what that means is something different for every individual.
Weight on scale doesn't matter
Not Strictly True!!
I think the answer to whether this statement is true or not is....... IT DEPENDS,
It depends on the individual and their situation.
If you are already fairly lean and are looking to get even more ripped, then the weight on the scales doesn't actually matter all that much.
The best measure of progress is to track your body fat % levels.
However, if you are in the overweight/obese category, you are at risk of diseases such as diabetes and cardiovascular disease, so you NEED to get the weight on the scales coming down.
This is a case of using the right method of tracking progress for the individual.
Sugar is poisonous
This is a current favourite topic online and in newspapers.
Sugar is poison.
Sugar is killing us
No, it isn't.
If it was poisonous, wouldn't we all be dead?
The government has even started putting a tax on products with a high added sugar content to dissuade us from buying them. (Which might not be a bad thing, I'm all for people reducing their intake. Anything to help with our growing levels of obesity).
Sugar is a carbohydrate and like all carbohydrates such as grains, fruit or vegetables, it is broken down in our bodies and ends up as glucose.
This is the primary fuel source for our brains and nervous systems.
Sugar is energy.
The reason why sugar is such a great form of energy is because it contains a high amount of easily accessible calories.
However, consuming excess calories causes us to gain weight.
So, it is the HIGH quantities of HIDDEN sugar in cheap, processed and packaged food and drinks, (which is used to enhance their flavour) that is the problem,
Not sugar itself.
There may not be anything of nutritional value in unrefined sugar, no vitamins or minerals but it is an amazing source of energy. Used in the right way and in suitable quantities, especially after a hard workout, it can be very useful. Our muscles soak it up to help refuel, ready for the next session.
Just be careful, because it is possible to have too much of a good thing.