Myths: 7 Fitness Myths You Still May Be Doing
by: Alan Miller
Ok! There are myths out there that we all know about. The obvious ones that are crystal clear and even the guy who knows nothing about fitness recognizes. Then there are these 7 that will have you googling until midnight for endless days to see if they are true. Heck, you may even reach out to your "swole" friend who might say that's "BULL*&%$". Don't worry though research was done so you can go back to your "swole" friend and say, "Nope! It is a myth."
#1. You Must Eat 5-6 Times A Day To Increase Your Metabolism
Completely false! There have been numerous amounts of studies done on this topic. One study done by Dutch researchers compared the metabolism and weight loss differences of people on a 3-meal regimen compared to that of a 17-meal regimen. Yes, that is not a typo. The Dutch researchers had participants eat 17 times a day. All studies have shown that it doesn’t matter whether you decide to eat 3 meals or 17 meals. Eating 17 times a day does not have an impact on your metabolism. In fact, research has shown that eating smaller frequent meals can decrease metabolic rate and that it can also increase insulin secretion, which causes an increase in hunger. So, when these people eat, for example, 17 times a day saying, "I am hungry nonstop" or "My metabolism is on fire", they are incorrect. That is from having increased insulin which makes you crave more glucose.
#2. Fasted Cardio Burns More Fat Than Fed State Cardio
Another fitness topic that is completely false. The idea is that if there is no food in the system performing cardio will burn strictly fat. Research has proven that doing cardio in a fasted state does not yield better results. A study done for the Journal of the international society of sports medicine proved this theory. The research group took twenty healthy females and divided them into two groups. Both were prescribed the same caloric deficit. Only thing that separated the two groups was that one group did cardio in a fasted state, while the other group had a shake before they did their cardio. Both groups had lost weight. It was not the fact that they were in a fasted or fed state that made them lose weight. It was that both groups were in a caloric deficit that made them lose weight. So the choice is yours! The bottom line is that in order to lose weight you need to expend more energy and burn more calories than you take in.
#3. I Am A Girl And Don’t Want To Lift Heavy; I Am Scared Of Getting Too Big
Completely false! If I had a dollar for every time I heard this, I would be a very rich man. Women have about a tenth of the amount of testosterone than males have. Lifting weights and heavy ones at that have shown to have many positive effects on the body including increasing metabolic rate and strengthen bones and joints. Yes, there are some of those bodybuilding women out there who are full of muscle and have deeper voices; chances are they are on some kind of performance enhancing drugs. So, ladies step off of the stair climber and step into the weight room and learn how to lift weights.
#4. Lift Lighter Weights With More Reps Will Tone The Muscle
Wrong! Lighter weight and more reps do not tone the muscle. We have all seen things like the squat challenge or the pushups challenge that have you doing thousands of reps because it is supposed to “tone” the muscle. The truth is that the toned look is nothing more than having low body fat to reveal the muscle that you already have on your body. Along with proper diet, this toned look is achieved from lifting weights in many different rep ranges low to high. It is good to mix up your rep ranges after a couple weeks to change things up. Doing anywhere between 1-6 reps tends to focus more on strength. Doing 8-12 reps tends to be more of a hypertrophy (muscle growth) range. Doing any rep range higher than 15 is more of an endurance and another form of lifting/cardio. So, get your diet right, drop your body fat down, and you will have achieved this “toned” look you are looking for.
#5. Your Body Can Only Absorb "X" Amount Of Protein Per Hour And The Rest You Excrete
False! The truth is that your body can actually absorb all the protein you have in a single sitting whether it is 20 grams or 100 grams, it will just take longer to absorb larger amounts due to the quantity and is not the most optimal way to maximize protein synthesis. Protein is essential to your transformation. Whether you want to build more muscle or lose body fat, protein is essential. Just like anything, too many calories of any macronutrient will create a surplus above maintenance. So yes, eating too much protein will still be making you gain weight if you do not expend more than what you consume.
#6. Post Workout Shake/Meal Timing in 1 Hour; OMG HURRY!!
Again, completely false! We have all seen it or done it at least one time. There is always that one guy that as soon as he gets done with his last set says “Be right back bro, I need to hurry up and get my protein shake in or else I am going to lose my muscle.” Research has shown that even 48 hours post workout with no shake, protein synthesis is still elevated and you are not losing muscle. In contrast, research also showed that consuming a shake right after your last rep of your last set actually produced a lower protein synthesis rate than those who waited. Just when you thought you were doing your body a favor you were actually working against yourself. So yes, get your post workout shake in but if it is not within an hour of your workout don’t worry about it.
#7. To Get Big You Have To Lift Big Without Caring About Form
Wrong! First thing is first. In order to grow, you need to be in a caloric surplus. There are way to many people out there who are trying to gain size, yet they are in a major deficit of calories. On top of a caloric surplus, the goal in the gym should always be to lift the heaviest weight in the specific rep range you're aiming for with perfect form. If your goal is 10 reps then you should be able to control all 10 reps. Your muscles have no idea how much weight you are lifting; all they know is the amount of tension that you are putting on them. Take for example that big power lifter looking guy in the gym who sits under the bench press and bounces 315 off his chest for 10 reps yet complains why he doesn’t have a well built chest. Heavy weights do not always mean big muscles. Slinging around weight with sloppy form is not going to yield those big biceps or that goliath chest you have always wanted. Take your ego out of the equation and lift with a weight that you can control and aim for constant tension and that is the most optimal way to build your muscles.
There are your 7 myths that will have you in a debate for days. Nothing like having a nice "gym rat" debate about these myths. Remember, knowledge is power. Many may not agree with these myths especially if what they have been doing has been working for them. Just keep these in mind the next time you are trying to slam back food or afraid to go workout with your boyfriend.
Norton LE, Layman DK. Leucine regulates translation initiation of protein synthesis in skeletal muscle after exercise. J Nutr. 2006
Schoenfeld B. Fasted Cardio. J Strength & Conditioning
Norton LE. Protein: How much and how often? 2009
Baechle, Thomas R and Earle, Roger W. Essentials of Strength Training and Conditioning/ National Strength and Conditioning Association. USA: 2008 by the National Strength and Conditioning Association