In Nutrition

Is Mis-Information Keeping You Stuck?

It’s a regular thing, unfortunately. I’ll overhear a conversation between a trainer and client or see something written, even in prestigious insurance company content, that illuminates part of the problem in making progress. Once learned information sometimes gets wedged so deep that even though current science has proven it wrong, we continue to keep our beliefs and don’t adapt new information.

To be fair, the opposite can also be true. Coming in with only the influence of information from now on, a fitness professional or exercise enthusiast has a smaller collection of data to base opinions on. It’s that way with all industry. We each need to be conscious of these errors on both sides of “good” information. There is a responsibility by professionals to do due diligence and homework. Recently, these commonly relayed messages have been overheard or read. See anything you’ve wondered about too?

1. You need to drink a gallon of water a day: False (Too much of a blanket statement and risky for many)

Hyponutremia – throws off your electrolytes, leaves you with too little sodium in your body. It can happen from too much hydration or from retaining your water.

2. You need to eat 5-6 meals a day: False (Too blanket: many hormone imbalances do much better with less snacking and intermittent fasting)

For some hormone and gut issues, leaving snacking out completely is best. It’s a very individual think unique to you and to what’s true of you right now. Body builders are infamous for passing out this kind of information. Indeed it does work for those who metabolize food rapidly and need to eat that often to gain muscle. It can work for older adults who can’t eat much at one sitting. They’re better able to digest what they do eat in smaller amounts. If you’re stuggling with feeling full, bloated, lack appetite or on the flip side, have cravings, you may do best however with three meals and no snacking. We want to turn your appetite and satiety hormones back on.

3. You should exercise in the morning on an empty stomach: False (too blanket statement and not fully interpreting research)

This is another lingering myth from body builders. It’s backed up by a study done in Belgium in 2013. It’s important to note that the study showed exercise first thing in a fasted state –if the exercise was of sufficient intensity – did result in greater fat burning the rest of the day and prevented weight gain. Now, for many reporting on this study, that’s where the news stopped.

The details are important.  Subjects in the study were fed high calorie diets with at least 50% fat. They were purposefully over eating for the study.

So if you’re watching your intake and eating  a healthy diet with moderate portions the same is not likely to be true of you.

In fact many studies of the past show that eating something prior to exercise helps you work harder, longer, and “feel” the intensity is no higher than usual. If you’re more comfortable for having eaten you will be burning more energy and enjoy it more.

4. You should cut carbs out: False (A blanket statement: not a fit for everyone, not entirely and cycling them is often best)

While we do know that carbs are not nearly as important to us as once thought and we can teach our bodies to convert fat to energy with time and proper training, each of us is different. You need to both be physiologically fed and psychologically fed. That is, yes, your brain needs carbohydrates to function but also we derive a certain amount of pleasure from food.

You will indeed have greater health cutting out simply carbs and those turned easily into sugars during digestion. There are plenty of low glycemic load, and slow-releasing energy (low-slow) carbohydrate options.

5. Women should lift lighter weights and do more reps: False (completely 100% false)

This formula is one that does one of two things. It either doesn’t do enough of anything but make you tired. Or it increases bulk. The typical 3 sets of 10 repetitions done with too little weight to reach fatigue is a bulking protocol. For years it’s what was taught. On the other hand you may be doing small weights with upwards of 20 or more repetitions. Unless your arms are bony and you’re extremely thin (like the Hollywood starlets that supposedly are toned and lean from this method) that’s not enough to make you stronger, leaner, or feel better.

Women in fact respond quite well to heavy weight. They also can get in and out of the gym or home workout in minutes with two sets of 8 repetitions. I’m in!

There is strength, hypertrophy, and then endurance.

It’s the strength focused workout that whittles away inches and shapes and creates proportion most.

6. Whatever you eat before bed will turn to fat: False (your body actually might need protein to avoid starvation mode at night and prevent muscle losses – very individual)

The body is actually in a starvation mode during sleep. If you truly get hunger, eating a small snack –so it won’t interfere with sleep – with protein in it can help you stave off muscle losses that occur if you go to bed hungry.

Ditch the old theory that if you’re hungry you’re losing weight. Replace that with the knowledge that if you’re hunger – physiologically in need of food – and you’re over 50 – you’re very well losing muscle.

Have some thoughts? Have you been told these or any others that made you scratch your head?


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