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Wednesday, 27 July 2011

Mythbusters - Fitness edition

After being posed with some of the most absurd fitness questions, I thought it would be apt to put some of these to rest - once and for all? …Probably not. (if you're after a 6 pack, you definitely want to read the last one!)

Myth #9 - Holding weights while doing cardio increases calorie burn
Ok well this one is partially true. Yeah you will burn a few extra calories but this amount is almost negligible.  Also, you may develop shoulder injuries from excessive movement of these weights.
Besides, it looks ridiculous! You aren’t an extra in an 80’s Madonna music video.
Just don’t’ do it man. 
So if I ever see one of you men holding weights while on a treadmill I will walk over and trip you while you’re on it.

Do this instead:
Man up and give the farmers walk a try. It burns alotta calories! (This is no substitute for cardio exercise)
Grab a pair of heavy dumbbells and let them hang naturally, at arm's length, next to your sides. Walk forward for as long as you can while holding the dumbbells. If you can walk for longer than 60 seconds, use a heavier weight.

Myth #8 – Protein shakes are bad for you.
No they aren’t. Do you eat meat? Or vegetables? Are they bad for you?
They are all forms of protein.
With that said, it can be potentially dangerous for someone that bases the main portion of their diet on these protein shakes. Don’t do stupid things like that, instead, refer to the next myth.

Myth #7 - You need supplements to get in good shape
Supplements should be used for what their name implies, to “supplement” and outstanding eating regimen. I understand that as young professionals it’s hard to find time to prepare 5 million quality meals a day, in which case a protein shake provides a quick alternative. However, this should only be used on those “lazy” days or when you simply cannot fit in a meal between work, weekend sports and taking your lady out on a date.

It is WAY more beneficial to EAT your daily calories rather than drink it. The food you eat has many more essential nutrients that aren’t included in the liquid forms. With that said, it may also be hard to achieve the allotted amount of daily protein intake without a protein shake…. But please... try?
Do this instead: Prepare a meal plan in advance so you know what you’re going to be eating for the week.

Myth #6 - More hours spent in the gym leads to better results
A few weeks ago a colleague of mine asked me some fitness advice. He began explaining his training schedule which was seven days a week! So I asked him, “When’s your rest day?” He said he didn’t want to rest. I expressed my disagreement with this scheduling and told him the dangers of his endeavours.
About 2 months down the line he’s in the hospital seeing a doctor cos he’s constantly fatigued and can barely get out the bed.
This is called ‘overtraining’. It occurs when your exercise exceeds your recovery capacity. This also has a direct effect on the immune system and can lead to its prolonged suppression.
If you’re trying to build muscle you want to avoid overtraining at all costs. When you overtrain you start to break down muscle tissue instead of building it!

Do this instead : Have a healthy balance between exercise and recovery. If you feel that you aren’t performing like normal, take a break. A week off from vigorous training is good for the body and mind!
Unless you’re training for endurance type activities or have a sound professional training program for sport specific purposes you should limit your gym sessions to an hour. Remember, you don’t grow when you’re lifting weights, you grow when you’re recovering.

Myth #5 - If someone looks fit, they know what they're talking about

Who would you rather take advice from?

The guy on the left, Professor Tim Noakes is one of the leading Professors in the world on exercise science.
Unfortunately, more often than not people would listen to the genetically “perfect” human being rather than the one who knows more about Adonis’ body than Adonis himself. (Sorry to the dude who's picture i used, I'm sure you're a clever lad!)

Familiarize yourself with the term “Broscience”: Word of mouth knowledge passed off as fact, primarily among bodybuilders + weightlifters where the anecdotal reports of ripped dudes are considered more credible than scientific research.
Some of the evidence also stem from lifestyle magazines and supplement manufacturers.
I’ve only had ONE client who’s asked me, “What qualification do you have?” That was his very 1st question.
Some people are blessed with good genes and look good despite their training and eating habits. We have these 2 guys at our gym who are ripped and well proportioned despite their pathetic form and choice of exercise. They’ve been training for mere months and have achieved more than what most people would in a year or two.
That’s the Law of individual Difference. What works for one person will not necessarily work for another. For MOST people, you need to find out what works best for YOUR body.
A perfect example: There are these other 2 guys in our gym that embarked on a training and diet program together while starting an anabolic steroid cycle (I do not condone the use of anabolic steroids. That’s another topic on it’s own, so don’t ask me about it!). ‘Guy A’ gained 8kgs in a few weeks and ‘Guy B’ gained a mere 2 kgs. Everybody’s body responds differently to different stimuli. Steroids have severe side affects and should not be used, other than for their intended purposes.
Don’t get frustrated and lose hope after reading about people who go from flab to superhuman in 8-12 weeks when you’ve been at it for 6 months with little results.
-You dont know what they did to get that way.
-You dont know about their previous fitness history.

They could have been track & field stars in their day and merely let themselves go, only to rediscover their genetic potential after hitting the gym again.
With that said, some trainers may not have the relevant qualification but have many years of experience in their field. So while listening to what they have to say make sure you are critical of it and adapt it to your unique situation.

Myth #4 - Eating 5- 6 meals a day will speed up my metabolism.
Says who? The millions of supplement companies that fund these studies? They want to promote the sales of their meal replacement shakes and protein powders. They interpret the results of these studies in a way that suits them best. Out of these studies, which may be poorly conducted, arises half- truths and faulty conclusions. When reviewing these studies, one needs to be critical of all facets. Fitness magazines reach a lot more people and have a lot more influence than scientific studies, which require some sort of academic background to decipher and thus, mainstream media have the advantage of the reaching the masses. Those who have experience with research methodology will be able to provide you with a critical analysis of these studies.

Back to my point.

When you eat, your metabolic rate increases. It takes energy to breakdown this food and utilize it AS energy. This creates a paradox within itself. If you eat a 1500 calorie meal in one serving or if you have it in 5 small servings, it will still take the same amount of calories to metabolize it. Thus, meal frequency has no effect on the rate of metabolism. Personally I eat 5- 6 meals for the sake of convenience, as this method of eating allows me to consume the large number of calories required for muscle building. I prefer this method rather than having to put down large quantities in each seating.

If you want to lose weight you need to consume less calories than you burn. If you want to gain size, you need to consume MORE, quality, calories than you burn. TOTAL CALORIE INTAKE is whats important.

For those interested I have included some reading material on this topic:

Myth #3 - "I don't want to get muscles that are too big"
 This one REALLY grates me.
Guy walks into the gym and when you ask him his goals he says, “I want to get bigger, get more muscles but I don’t want to be TOO big”
Dudes. Seriously. Stop this behaviour!
You aren’t gonna become Arnold overnight. You aren’t even gonna be like that 2 years from now. I can assure you, after a few weeks of going to the gym, you wont wake up one morning and find yourself with 10kgs of extra muscle. From the millions of people that I’ve heard quote the above mentioned statement, guess how many have gotten “big”?
I blame the media for this one. Fitness seems to be all about aesthetics. People disregard the physiological health benefits associated with exercise and tend to give up when they don’t see their abs after a few weeks of crunches.
Developing a decent physique takes time and devotion and to be honest, MOST people are never gonna have either of those. Don’t walk into the gym and expect to look like a cover model in 3 months. It ain’t gonna happen!!!!
Most people I see going in and out the gym get results that go hand in hand with their efforts. Some have almost no change at all, despite going to the gym for months (external factors like diet and exercise prescription may be at fault here).
Have realistic expectations. That’s all I’m saying. Everybody can have the body of their dreams but achieving that body comes with varying difficulty.

Myth #2 – This one is for your girlfriends who say, “I don’t want to do weight training cos it will make me muscular like those female bodybuilders”.
Let me say this. It’s virtually impossible. The female body doesn’t produce enough testosterone to achieve that kind of muscle mass.
Ladies SHOULD include weight training into their exercise regimen if they want to burn more calories and lean up. Full-body weight training burns a lot of calories!!

Myth #1 -  Doing crunches and ab workouts will get rid of belly fat
You can do a 50 000 000 crunches a day and you wont even see a dull shade of an abdominal muscle.
That’s cos achieving a 6-pack has everything to do with your body fat percentage. Guess what your abs are covered with? No, its not a protective layer for your muscles, its fat.

You CANNOT target fat loss on a specific body part!
You simply can’t pick and choose where you would like to burn fat. So please don’t go buy those ab machines they advertise on tv.
Do this instead:  Combination of cardio and strength training with a balanced healthy diet. This will reduce your fat percentage so you can start seeing those bad boys again!

Ok, listen up boys & girls, 
I will be back in South Africa for the month of September where I will be conducting personal training sessions with another up and coming fitness brand. Details to follow soon….

If you would like to know more about this or if you have any questions regarding your own fitness goals, feel free to message me via facebook, twitter, or leave a comment on this post.

P.S. Shout out to my superstar client Dr. Anup Mathai for achieving insane results before jetting off to India for his wedding. Your dedication and hard work has paid off! All the best to you and Jeena in your future endeavours!

1 comment:

  1. Thank you Duvane..hope to get back to the routine will be missed sorely..but hey I guess that's life..a man's gotta go when a man's gotta go..

    Probably catch you in SA sometime..

    Anup & Jeena