Friday, 22 April 2011 11:49
Being healthy never goes out of style, but the runway to get there is often fraught with some “what was I thinking?” moments—and we don’t mean big bangs or flashy sweat suits. Here are some greatest hits from our list of fitness “don’ts.”
By Jason Anthony
MYTH: Women who lift weights will get bulky.
Women do not have enough testosterone to develop bulky muscles. Women produce 15 to 20 times less testosterone than men, so even if a woman did want to “bulk up,” it would be difficult without taking a performance-enhancing drug. Since testosterone is not present in sufficient amounts, the woman’s muscle will develop in response to training, but rather than dramatically increasing in size, they will looked “toned.” The toned look comes from removing the fat that is covering a well-developed muscle. Other benefits of weight training include better posture and appearance, a decreased risk for osteoporosis and increased metabolism.
FAD: The Detox Diet
“Detox” diets—like the Master Cleanse, Soup Diet, 21 pounds in 21 days—deplete your body of nutrients and can lead to dehydration, cardiac problems, disordered eating and weight gain. During a detox, dieters do lose water weight, but due to the lack of nutrients, there can also be a loss of muscle mass. This decreases your metabolism and eventually can increase fat storage. Will a detox diet give you results on the scale? Yes, but it will be water and lean body tissue, not fat. As far as “cleansing” goes, your body’s liver and kidneys naturally accomplish the job of cleansing your body.
MYTH: Longer low-intensity exercise burns more fat than high intensity.
Weight-loss is a mathematical equation: calories in versus calories out. When it comes to losing fat, the ratio of energy generated from fat or carbohydrates during exercise is immaterial. Total calories burned during an activity should be given primary attention. The more intense the exercise, the more calories utilized each minute. You may be burning fewer fat calories, but you will burn more total calories, which has a direct correlation to weight loss.
MYTH: Abdominal exercises lead to a flat stomach.
We have all seen people performing countless crunches in search of that perfectly toned midsection. But despite the late-night infomercial propaganda, a flat stomach is not achieved from abdominal exercises. Although a lot of money is made with wild claims of reducing fat in one area alone, numerous studies have shown that when enough calories are being burned to lose weight, fat is reduced from the entire body, not just in the area being exercised. To obtain the coveted “6-pack,” one needs to have a low enough body fat percentage. It’s not about the sit-ups.
FAD: More protein = big muscles.
Increased protein does not correlate to extra strength. In fact, excess protein can be stored as fat—just like carbohydrates. Exercise, rather than excessive protein intake, is the key ingredient to increasing muscle mass. While our bodies do require protein to repair and build lean body tissue, the quantity required is much lower than what the supplement industry tells us. The standard method used to determine minimum daily protein requirements is to multiply body weight (in pounds) by .37. For example, a 160-pound male should consume no less than 59 grams of protein per day.
MYTH: Late-night eating causes weight-gain.
Consuming more calories than you burn is the basis of weight-gain. Studies have shown that there is no correlation between weight-gain and the time of day that we eat. However, there is a correlation with high-calorie diets and weight-gain. If your daily intake of food results in a calorie surplus, you will gain fat. Whether you eat your final meal at 5pm or midnight, it all goes back to a simple equation: calories in versus calories out. Instead of focusing on the time, focus on the quality and quantity.
Jason Anthony is an NSCA Certified Personal Trainer with Zen Fitness who attended the University of Florida’s School of Business. Get updated food and fitness tips by subscribing to Jason’s blog: trainerjasonanthony.wordpress.com.