Archive for the tag - myth

5 Nutriton Mistakes “Healthy” People Make.

a-shirtless-friday-5A healthy diet can improve the quality of your life. And it can help you achieve your fitness goals. But with so much marketing hype and misinformation, making smarter decisions isn’t always easy – even for people who consider themselves healthy.

In fact, here are a few nutrition mistakes that “healthy” people commonly make.

  1. You salads are covered in shit. There’s no doubt that a salad full of lettuce and vegetables is a great start. Unfortunately, many of us cover all the goodness in things like cheese, creamy dressings and bacon bits. Make a salad that tastes like salad – and not a 1,500 calorie gut bomb.
  2. You’re juicing. Fruit juices have become increasingly popular; in Los Angeles, there’s a cold pressed juice stand on almost every corner. And while eating fruits is a smart decision, most fruit juicing processes remove the fiber that helps give fruit its nutritional punch. You’re left with a sugary beverage that is marginally healthier than soda. If you want a healthier and cheaper choice, opt for water, water and more water.
  3. You fall for misleading labels. Marketers are geniuses when it comes to misleading consumers. Words like detox, low-fat, fat-free, reduced-fat, low calorie, low carb, all natural, organic and gluten free all seem to convey a nutritional benefit. Unfortunately, they don’t. These are misleading buzz words; instead, determine whether or not a food is healthy by reading the nutrition label and ingredients.
  4. You eat energy bars and consume sports drinks. Except for grueling physical activity like an intense workout or hike, there’s really no place for energy bars or sports drinks. The former is often a glorified candy bar with just as much sugar and the later is a mixture of water and sugar. Only consume these products to power through intense physical activity.
  5. You avoid all carbs. Obviously, simple carbohydrates like those found in candy, energy bars, sugary drinks and refined grain products like white bread aren’t a smart choice in most situations. But, carbohydrates aren’t entirely bad. In fact, complex carbohydrates like those found in quinoa, whole grains and beans are absolutely part of a healthy diet – and something that your body needs to function properly and power through a workout. Workouts are powered by carbohydrates, not by protein; don’t get it twisted.

What are some other nutrition mistakes that healthy people make? Share them in the comments below!

P.S. If you want a clear, simple and science-based approach to eating smarter, download Davey Wavey’s Insanely Easy Guide to Eating Smarter and get started TODAY!

7 Treadmill Myths You Probably Believe!

o-SMILE-TREADMILL-570The treadmill can be an incredibly useful and effective tool in any workout. But it’s no surprise that there are many myths and misconceptions surrounding this piece of equipment.

Here are a few of the most common:

  1. Calories burned is accurate: MYTH! Our bodies are very, very unique. It’s completely ridiculous to believe that by typing in your age and weight, a treadmill can accurately calculate your caloric burn. This is a gross oversimplification. Instead, use calories burned as a very general guide.
  2. You’ll run the same speed outside as on a treadmill: MYTH! Just because you can run a six minute mile on the treadmill doesn’t mean that you’ll be able to run one outside. The outside world is a very different beast with lots of added variables including weather, headwinds, uneven surfaces, hills, traffic and much more. Moreover, the spinning treadmill belt actually enables you to run a bit faster. This is especially important to consider if training for a 5k or competition race.
  3. You should always do cardio before strength training: MYTH! If your goal is cardiovascular endurance or weight loss, it may make sense to do cardio first – when you have a fresh set of legs. But if your goal is muscle size or strength, hit the weights first while your energy is still high. In actuality, the order of cardio versus strength training doesn’t make a huge difference; it’s more important to do what works for you.
  4. If someone is on the treadmill next to you, you’re not racing: MYTH! I’m only half joking with this one. Runners can be very competitive, and sometimes it’s nice to have an extra challenge.
  5. If you run at a 1% incline, it simulates outdoors running: MYTH! This is a very common tool and something that I’ve previously recommended. Because treadmill running is easier, adding an incline can help increase energy output and better simulate outdoors running. But the 1% incline is very general, and represents an over simplification. It’s only been found to accurate at running speeds of 7MPH or faster.
  6. Holding the treadmill handles while running is smart: MYTH, MYTH, MYTH! This myth needs to die today. Holding onto the treadmill handles is dangerous, especially at faster speeds. It also fundamentally changes the way your body moves and can make you less stable when walking or running without a treadmill. Moreover, holding onto a treadmill while moving at an incline actually negates the incline. All around, it’s a terrible idea.
  7. Sweating more will help you lose weight: MYTH! Well, it’s technically true that sweating results in weight loss – but the weight being lost is water, not fat. As soon as the body is re-hydrated, all that water weight comes back on. Nonetheless, you’ll see people running in sweatsuits to increase perspiration. It’s a silly idea that’s not backed by science.

Treadmills are a great tool. I use one almost every day and absolutely love it. But it’s important to separate fact from fiction and to have a safe, smart and effective workout.

P.S. If you’re looking to increase muscle definition, download Davey Wavey’s Bootcamp Workout and get started today with this exclusive workout series.

Myth: Low Fat Foods Are Healthy.

SAMSUNG DIGITAL CAMERASkittles are a low-fat food. But if you eat a lot of skittles, I promise that you’ll still get fat.

Just because something is labeled “low fat” doesn’t mean it’s healthy. And conversely, not all foods containing fat are unhealthy.

Limiting trans and saturated fats is important. In fact, current dietary guidelines recommend that less than 7% of your total calories should come from saturated fat. But fat is just part of the equation.

When we talk about weight management, the formula is pretty simple. To maintain weight, you need to eat the same amount of calories that your body burns. To lose weight, you need to eat fewer calories than your body burns. With this in mind, it’s important to recognize that there are many unhealthy, calorie-dense foods with little or no fat. Like skittles.

Beyond saturated and trans fat, pay attention to carbohydrates. While complex carbohydrates are essential, many low fat foods are packed with simple carbohydrates including table sugar, corn syrup, fruit juice, white flour, etc.

Moreover, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and American Heart Association recommend no more than 2,300 mg of sodium each day, and no more than 1,500 mg for high risk groups. To add flavor, manufacturers often pump low fat or reduced fat foods with sodium – so read the nutrition label carefully.

Last but not least, remember that fat isn’t always a bad thing. Unsaturated fats – like those found in olive oils, nuts, avocados, etc. – are essential for proper bodily function.

Popular Fitness Myths Exposed! [Video]

I love busting fitness, exercise and nutrition myths with real science, studies and data. Just because you’ve heard something – even if you’ve heard it A LOT – doesn’t mean that it’s necessarily true.

Today’s video features some of the most popular and most pervasive fitness myths that I’ve posted about over the years. I bet you believed at least two of these myths. If I’m right, let me know in the comments below!

Check out the video via my Davey Wavey Fitness YouTube channel.

Study: Naturally-Occuring Testosterone Levels Don’t Influence Muscle Growth.

Conventional wisdom holds that higher levels of naturally occurring testosterone increase a person’s ability to build muscle. For this reason, many bodybuilders and weightlifters go to great lengths to maximize testosterone levels by abstaining from alcohol, eating certain foods and – in some instances – even avoiding ejaculation. (By the way, avoiding ejaculation doesn’t lead to increased testosterone.)

We certainly know that unnaturally high levels of testosterone (i.e., those obtained through steroid abuse) do result in muscle growth. And, from other research, we also know that higher levels of testosterone have been shown to limit muscle loss due to aging.

But a two new studies by scientists at McMaster University have revealed that exercise-related testosterone and growth hormone aren’t influencing factor in building muscle after lifting weights. These findings fly in the face of long-held conventional wisdom – and speak to the complicated role that hormones play in our dynamic human bodies.

The scientists came to this conclusion through two separate studies.

In the first study, men and women performed an intense leg exercise. Despite a 45-fold difference in testosterone levels, men and women were able to make new muscle protein at the same rate.

In the second study, researchers followed 56 young men through 12 weeks of exercise. The men trained 5 times a week and experienced muscle gains of nothing up to a maximum of 12 pounds. Researchers found no relationship between muscle or strength gains and levels of testosterone or growth hormone.

According to the lead author of the two studies:

While testosterone is definitely anabolic and promotes muscle growth in men and women at high doses, such as those used during steroid abuse, our findings show that naturally occurring levels of testosterone do not influence the rate of muscle protein synthesis.

Much research is still needed – and there’s a lot that’s not understood about the complex role hormones play. But for everyday strength trainers and non-senior populations, the takeaway is that pretty clear: When putting together a workout program, maximizing testosterone or growth hormone levels need not be a priority.

And feel free to ejaculate as often as your heart desires.

Top 6 Myths About Body Fat

While many of us target leaner builds like that of the twunk (part twink, part hunk) above, how much do you really know about body fat?

When it comes to exercise and nutrition, they’re tons of myths out there. Like that the shake weight actually does anything. Since we hear many of these fallacies so often, we don’t always question their legitimacy.

Today, let’s bust the top 6 myths about body fat:

  1. Muscle turns to fat. Because many people gain weight when they stop exercising, there’s a misconception that muscle turns into fat. In reality, muscle fibers and fat cells are two very different things; one cannot become the other. The truth: Many people gain weight after they stop exercising because their body is burning fewer calories – but they continue to eat the same amount of food.
  2. Fat on the body come from fat in foods. This belief has led to a slew of fat-free and reduced fat foods. The truth: Body fat comes from calories, not necessarily fat. If you eat more calories than your body burns – whether it comes from lettuce or a double-cheeseburger – your body will store the extra calories as fat.
  3. The lower the body fat percentage, the better. To lean down and increase muscle definition, many dieters aim for the lowest body fat percentages possible. The truth: Your body needs some levels of essential body fat to protect organs and facilitate functions. For women, a body fat percentage of 10% – 13% is essential; for men, 2% to 5% is essential. Aim for body fat percentages above these ranges.
  4. You can target where you want to lose body fat. When we build our muscles, we exercise the muscles we want to grow. For example, doing bicep curls will give you larger biceps. It only seems logical to assume that body fat works the same way. The truth: You can’t spot-reduce body fat. It comes off various body parts according to its own agenda. This may include your face, neck, chest, arms and anywhere else. For men, the pesky beer belly is usually the last to shrink.
  5. Fat weighs less than muscle. You’ve heard it a million times before. The truth: A pound is a pound; a pound of feathers weighs the same as a pound of bricks. In the same way, a pound of fat weighs the same as a pound of muscle. It’s truer to say that muscle is more dense than fat. And this explains why exercisers may lose inches but not pounds – as they are shedding body fat but also building muscle.
  6. Starving yourself reduces body fat. Since our body fat comes from calories, it seems to make sense that if we starve ourselves, we’ll lose our extra body fat. The truth: While you will initially lose body fat if you stop eating, your body will go into starvation mood – and your metabolism will come to a grinding halt. Eventually, you’ll need to eat again. And when you do, you’ll gain all the weight back – and then some.

Did these 6 myths change the way you think about body fat? Let me know in the comments below!

Question: Does Muscle Turn to Fat When You Stop Exercising?

Answer: Muscle turns to fat in the same way that lead turns into gold. It just doesn’t happen.

Fat and muscle are two very different and distinct tissues. There is no biological pathway for one to become the other.

But like many myths, this one does contain a kernel of truth. If someone is injured and can’t workout – or just makes the decision to eliminate exercise – then there is a good chance that they’ll gain body fat. This might create the illusion that muscle is turning into fat.

The reality is quite different. Fueling an active and muscular body requires an increase in caloric intake. Obviously, it takes calories to sustain a gym workout – but it also takes calories to maintain each and every pound of muscle that the body adds. When people stop exercising, the extra muscle begins to deteriorate in a process known as atrophy. Exercise is eliminated, the metabolism slows and atrophy occurs; the body’s need for calories has now been greatly reduced.

But when people stop exercising, they usually continue to eat what they ate while working out. Since the diet isn’t modified accordingly, the extra calories are stored as body fat.

So don’t let this pervasive myth prevent you from hitting the gym – or from taking off necessary gym time to help heal an injury. Muscle will never turn into fat.

Cardio or Strength Training to Lose Weight?

Hi Davey,

I have a lot of body fat and know that cardio is the only way to lose it. I spend 45 minutes 5 days a week doing interval training on the elliptical. I also want to appear toned and know that I need to add weights to my routine. I only have an hour a day to spend at the gym, so if I add weights, then it will be cutting down on my cardio time big time. What should I do to get ready to hit the beach this June? Stick with cardio and just do pushups and such, or cut back on the cardio and start with free weights?

Thanks,
Anonymous

Dear Anonymous,

You’ve just touched upon one of the biggest fitness misconceptions that the world has ever known. In fact, in some ways, I feel like it’s my personal mission to set things straight. Just doing cardio isn’t – I repeat, is not – the best way to lose weight.

Weight loss is most effectively achieved through a combination of BOTH cardiovascular exercise (i.e., treadmill, biking, swimming) and strength training. While the cardio will get your heart rate up and burn calories, strength training brings great weight loss benefits, too. Strength training adds muscle mass to your body, and increased muscle mass means a dramatically increased metabolism. Adding even a few pounds of muscle will increase the number of calories your body burns each and every day.

Focusing only on cardio and skipping strength training could actually make it harder for you to lose weight. In fact, you may even gain weight – especially if your cardio workouts exceed 45 minutes. If you do cardio too long, your body consumes muscle for energy. For most people, that “too long” mark is at about 45 minutes. Done over and over again, day after day, this excess cardio could have a substantial impact on your body – and the muscle loss could decrease your metabolism and result in weight gain.

If you have 60 minutes of gym time, here’s what I’d recommend for a client looking to lose weight:

  • 25 minutes of cardio (5 minutes of warming up, 15 minutes of intervals, 5 minutes of cooling down)
  • 30 minutes of strength training
  • 5 minutes of post-workout stretching

I hope this helps, and let’s forever put to rest that cardio-only workouts are a good idea for people looking to lose weight.

Love,
Davey

Debunking the 20-Minute Exercise Myth!

Dear Davey,

I remember a “myth” from a few years back when I started exercising: When doing cardio exercise, you have to work for at least 20-30 minutes to get into the fat burning zone. In other words, it takes at least 20 minutes to start losing weight.

It sounds like a myth that is not true, but I just wanted to confirm.

From,
Damian

Damian,

Good nose! You were able to sniff out a very pervasive myth. And yes, it’s totally untrue.

The myth probably started based on a misinterpretation of actual science. During the early stages of cardio, your body does rely more on carbohydrates than fat. The longer you exercise, the more your body shifts from carbohydrates to fat. But really, you’re getting a tremendous benefit from each stage of exercise.

Moreover, the 20-minute myth ignores the bigger boost that your metabolism gets from exercise. Much of the exercise-induced calorie-burning happens when you get off the treadmill – especially if you maximize your cardio with interval training.

Need some solid proof to finally put this myth to rest? Researchers from the University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine looked at two groups of exercisers. Group 1 performed a single session of exercise for 20 – 40 minutes. Group 2 performed the same amount of exercise, but broken up into 10 minute sessions over the course of the day. According to the 20-minute exercise myth, group 2 shouldn’t see any weight loss. But, just the opposite held true; participants in group 2 lost an average of 20 pounds, compared to 14 pounds in group 1.

And for what it’s worth, my current cardio routine usually lasts 15 minutes.

The bottom line: The 20-minute myth is entirely untrue.