This entire article will be dedicated to revealing the common mistakes, misinformation, myths and in some cases flat out lies and bullshit touted by most in the fitness/nutrition/supplementation industries. As I mentioned in The TRUTH, this is a major reason as to why our industries are in such a bad state. I have taken the liberty of splitting this article into sections dependent on which industry the lie most belongs to.
Higher rep ranges for toning
This is one for the females, usually scared of getting “bulky” or muscly they convince themselves if they do a lighter weight and increase the amount of reps they perform it will lead to muscle toning. Toning or definition is simply results of body fat levels decreasing which has more to do with nutritional intake than training protocols. Furthermore the shape of your muscles are pre-determined by genetics and the insertion point on your body, so no amount of training will change the shape of a muscle. I suppose the theory behind this one was increasing reps meant burning more energy, this however isn’t true, increasing intensity via lowering reps and increasing load will burn more energy. Click the highlighted text for more information on training programs and dietary programs.
Doing weights will make me gain to much muscle
If only it were that easy….yet another common mistake made usually by females. The fact of the matter is whether you are male or female, muscle building is a slow, tedious bitch of a process. It takes dedication, proper nutrition, progressive overload and time among many other things to gain even the smallest amount of muscle. You will not suddenly wake up one day after a few session, weeks, months or even years of training to find you have gained a ridiculous amount of unwanted muscle. Furthermore ladies, as females you have only a minuscule amounts of endogenous testosterone available, meaning you have to work much harder than males to gain muscle.
This is an old old myth that refuses to die, the theory was by working a specific muscle you could target that area, burning fat straight from the source. A prime example of this is sit-up/crunches, they are often performed in the thought that it will lead to gaining abs. This is not the case, once again this has more to do with the your dietary intake and reducing fat stores. Doing an exercise using a specific muscle group does not mean you will be burning fat from that area.
Fasted cardio for fat-loss
Another old myth that dies hard. This is a common piece of misinformation often giving out by bodybuilders and personal trainers . Basically the thought is by waking up in a fasted state and performing low intensity cardio you will use fat as the primary energy source. Unfortunately the research says otherwise, fasted or not there is little difference in the energy substrate used.
This is an extremely contentious issue in all industries, mainly due to the fact that it involves supplements, nutrition and training in some way. It is well known and true that protein post training begins the repair process by increasing muscle protein synthesis, however some personal trainers, bodybuilders and nutritionist claim that there is a set period of time(usually 2-3 hours post-training) in which your muscle cells are most sensitive to up-taking nutrients due to the effect of resistance training, and missing this “window” will yield inferior results. However research suggests that resistance training effects muscle cell sensitivity for 24 hours, meaning the urgency of ingesting protein is not as important as it is often emphasized. However it should be noted the faster you consume protein post training the quicker the repair process begins, yet it would be more advantageous to consume a whole food meal…so really you make that decision.
CHO with protein post training
Often the same people pushing the anabolic window and post-workout shakes are also recommending a large dose of fast acting(High GI) carbohydrates to be consumed with the post workout shake. The idea is that it spikes insulin which will shuttle the protein to the muscle faster, decrease digestion time and replenishes glycogen. Hmmm where to begin, research shows that adding fast acting carbohydrates to a post workout shake does not increase then insulin response any more than protein alone, nor does is aid in increasing muscle protein synthesis(muscle building) or inhibit muscle protein breakdown (muscle breakdown). As for glycogen replenishment, a typical resistance training session will come nowhere near exhausting stored glycogen, in fact a study designed to attempt to exhaust glycogen via high intensity resistance training incorporating extremely high volume still didn’t come close, not to mention research suggests normal daily eating habits will ensure glycogen replenishment when your next session is 24+ hours away. The only time you need to worry about consuming carbohydrates post training is if you have another high intensity session planned in under 24 hours or cannot consume adequate amounts of food .
Low GI vs High GI foods
For those unaware, the GI of foods stands for glycemic index and indicates the time taken to metabolize food and convert it to it’s simplest form, glucose, and the effect it has on blood glucose levels. Now the theory once was and for some “professionals”( I use that term sarcastically) still is, foods with a lower GI response are better for you as they provide sustained energy and don’t raise blood glucose level as rapidly, leading to increased satiety and decrease fat storage. Research shows this is not the case, in fact blood glucose levels have little effect on weight loss in the overall scheme of things. Also mixing a high GI food with a low GI food alters the GI of both foods, as it is extremely rare to be eating only one type of food at a time, GI is somewhat null and void for most people.
Clean vs Dirty food
Labeling food in a negative or positive manner is idiotic, not only does it create a bad relationship with food, in which you are scared and therefore avoid food deemed unworthy, when you do eventually consume these foods you feel guilty, ashamed and upset. NEWSFLASH it’s food, you are supposed to enjoy it!!!!!!!! I can’t stress that enough. The idea is to eat less calorie dense, micro-nutrient poor foods less often and micro-nutrient dense calorie poor foods more often. However this doesn’t mean you can’t enjoy your food, just do so in moderation. On a final note research shows that your body can’t differentiate the calories between so called clean and dirty foods when the macro-nutrients contents are the same. For a more in depth discussion on this read Flexible dieting.
Don’t consume CHO at night
Yet another piece of idiotic advice mainly given out by personal trainers. The mere idea of this is mind boggling, the thought that somehow consuming carbohydrates after a certain time in the afternoon leads to increased fat storage. This suggest that somehow at a certain point in the afternoon your physiology changes and you begin converting carbohydrate to fat and storing it….how do people believe this shit? I assure you this is not the case, if you are trying to lose weight the defining rule of weight loss is being at a calorie deficit as discussed in Flexible dieting and Fueling the body. Just to put this one to bed once and for all, your body will only convert carbohydrates to fat, a process called de novo lipogenesis, on extremely rare occasions where a extremely low fat diet is adhered too, we are talking less then 10% of overall calories, or carbohydrate intake is exceedingly high for extensive periods, and by exceedingly high I mean 700-900 grams per day, which is just insane.
Smaller, frequent meals/ 6 meals per day
Another favorite of the personal trainer, bodybuilder and unfortunately some nutritionists. The concept is by eating smaller meals more frequently during the day you are forcing your body to spend more energy via constantly metabolizing food, this is known as the thermal effect of food. It astounds me this is still lingering in the industry when there have been a plethora of studies over the last decade indicating otherwise. Apparently peer reviewed research and carefully designed study protocols just don’t cut it for the majority of morons in this industry. The truth is the thermal effect of food is directly related to the size of the meal, therefore the bigger the meal the more energy burned metabolizing it. So consuming the same daily amount of macro-nutrients split over 2,4,6,8,10 or 12 meals during the day will have NO effect on the thermal effect of food. I think I have made my point on this one.
The body can only absorb 30g protein per meal
This myth makes no sense from a evolutionary standpoint, we as in the human race would have died out long ago if this was the case. I can’t even begin to imagine how this was dreamed up. Different types of proteins are digested and absorbed at different rates, I am sure you have all heard of fast digesting proteins(whey protein isolate) and slow digesting protein(casein). The digestion and absorption rates are dose dependent, therefore while your body metabolizes protein at a rate of 3-6 grams per hour on average, it will continue to do so until it has metabolized the entire amount. It should be noted several other factors influence digestion and absorption rates eg. fasted state, consuming other macro-nutrients with protein.
Different types of creatine
Creatine monohydrate is the most researched sport supplement available on the market and it’s benefits are numerous as we discussed in Supplements of Use. Keying onto the fact that creatine it is advantageous to almost everyone and in it’s monohydrate form is fairly cheap, supplement companies decided to try and improve the forms available to make them more potent, bio-available, effective and expensive. It should be noted no form of creatine has ever outperformed creatine monohydrate to date, and therefore it is the gold standard of creatine.
Flaxseed for omega 3’s
While I always encourage people to increase their dietary intake of omega 3 fatty acids(within reason) it should be known that relying on primitive forms of omega 3’s like flaxseed oil to reach your EPA and DHA quota is not sufficient. Your body simply cannot break these oils down into the needed constituents, therefore it is always a good idea to supplement with fish oil/krill oil as discussed in Supplements of Use.
Keep an eye on this page as I will be adding more of these as research becomes available.
I must apologize for some of the language I used during this article, I admit I long ago gave up trying to convince moronic trainers, nutritionists and so forth that research does not lie. However when typing some of these flat out stupid claims I could not help but become somewhat annoyed, angered and disgruntled at how stupid these people are. The most pathetic aspect is that they strongly outweigh the educated and caring people in these industries. I hope I have helped you in some way, and beg you, if your trainer/nutritionist tells you any of these things as facts, find a new one.