The Fitness Industry is full of a lot of conflicting information, and this info is mostly broadcasted in the hope to sell a product or a service to an unsuspecting consumer, e.g. fat burning supplements, muscle building compounds, a special gym device designed to build extra muscle or indeed the info could come from someone who just doesn't know any better. The below myths are just some of the phrases we hear thrown around the gym or fitness community as if they have become just normal principles that are never questioned or proven. We hope to explain briefly why they exist and what value they truly hold with regards to your fitness goals.
1. "Drinking Juiced Fruit and Vegetables Makes You Healthy"
- Why do we love Juicing?
Because it makes food easier to consume in larger quantities, and supposedly gives us high levels of minerals - and in the case of fruit and vegetables, can actually make it taste much better as well. This is because blending releases all the fructose (sugar) from within the cell walls of the food that otherwise wouldn't be so readily available in its whole form, thus creating a huge hit of sweetness upon consumption of the juice.
- Why is it potentially Unhealthy?
Human's cannot really chemically breakdown Cellulose, a component found as part of the structure of plant cell walls. So when eaten whole, any cell walls that haven't been crushed by chewing or by the churning of our stomachs normally just passes straight through our system along with the sugar inside them. However, blending makes everything available, blitzing every cell wall into a million pieces and blowing out all the contents, which is mostly sugar. This causes Insulin spikes, potentially promoting fat gain due to excessive sugar levels in the blood stream.
- When is Juicing ok?
In v. small quantities once per day if you are unable to get enough plant matter into your daily diet. Generally speaking, when consuming a natural whole diet high in protein and fat there is little need for over supplementation of vitamins and minerals through juicing.
2. "Running Will Get You In Shape"
- Why do we love Running?
People run because it works up a sweat, burns some energy, makes them feel athletic and also tires out them out - causing their bodies to release Endorphins in the brain that induce feelings of satisfaction and euphoria after constant discomfort has ceased. This is known as the false perception that enough has been done to either make you fitter or look better.
- Why is it potentially Unnecessary?
Granted, depending on where you start, running could make you a bit fitter and look a bit better, but the problem lies with it continuing to solicit results long term. In fact, if running is your only form of exercise then it could lead to joint injuries and ligament stresses due to the repetitive high impact jolts through the bones. There are much more potent ways to get in shape, like lifting weights (joint strengthening) and eating functionally.
- When is Running Ok?
If your goal is fat loss then it is best used 1-3 times weekly as a supplement to weight training. However, unless you have a good + safe running style, running might never be good for you.
3. "You Must Lift Heavy To Gain Muscle"
- Why Do We Love Lifting Heavy?
It makes us feel super strong, it gives us a clear goal, it can be functional for sports and we can show off our strength to everyone. What is lifting heavy? It normally refers to a strength training rep range any where from 1-5 reps. While some people will gain muscle working in this rep range we now know for sure that for optimal muscle size 8-12 reps is much more suitable + effective for long term muscle growth. Obviously this rep range will require the use of lighter weights with increases in even smaller increments than strength training as well. However there are many elements associated with progressive overload and increasing intensity on muscles for muscle growth other than load. Read more here.
- Why is Lifting Super Heavy Unnecessary?
Unless you are a power athlete of some kind then lifting super heavy is really not required to grow muscle. The heavier the load the more potential there is for serious injury and the less Time Under Tension your muscles receive, something that must actually be increased to induce hypertrophy. Heavy lifting is also very taxing on the nervous system, and can potentially cause the release of stress hormones due to its poor recovery.
- When is Lifting Heavy Ok?
If building muscle is your No.1 Priority then lifting super heavy must be done sparingly, using only one exercise per week with strength/power training protocols - alongside a progressive bodybuilding program.
4. "You Must Focus On The Big Three Lifts To Get Big"
- Why do we love the Big Three Lifts?
The big three lifts are the Dead Lift, Squat and Bench Press - targeting mainly the Back, Legs and Chest. People love them because they are the exercises that one can lift the most weight on. Predominantly used by athletes for power sporting events, these three exercises have become synonymous with displaying ultimate strength by the human body.
- Why Are The Big Three Lifts Unnecessary?
They are unnecessary because there are simply much better exercises to build the Back, Legs and Chest. They are Lat pull down and rowing variations for the back, Linear Leg Press and Hack Squat Variations for Legs, and then Chest press and fly machines of multiple angles for building the chest.
- When Are The Big Three Lifts Ok?
If you are training for functional strength for a sporting event. If you are looking for variation in your training and wish to experiment with different training approaches short term. Or if you simply enjoy them and can perform them in a consistently safe manner.
5. "You Don't Need That Much Protein To Build Muscle"
- What Do We Love About Eating Less Protein?
There is a huge environmental push recently that is comprised of individuals who want to preserve the well being of farm animals and promote the eating of more plant matter in our diets. There is nothing wrong at all with that as a concept... unless you want to build muscle and burn fat. Some of us embrace it and find a way to eat less animal produce, others go all the way and switch to a vegan or vegetarian diet. What matters is what works for you as a person with your morals and your goals. However, it doesn't matter who you are or what your morals consist of, we all need a lot of protein to build muscle and to continue to build muscle long term.
- Why is Eating Less Protein Unproductive?
When we build muscle it doesn't just stay there forever, we have to maintain it. The more muscle we have the more maintenance we need. In fact, over time we get to a point where most of the protein we eat is for maintaining muscle mass rather than adding more. So we need to eat a level of protein capable of both maintaining our muscle mass and also enough to be used for further growth. This is necessary as a principle for our dietary Fat consumption too, which is also vital for growth.
- When Is Eating Less Protein Ok?
Some may eat less on non-training days, but essentially you must keep protein high at all times to ensure a surplus supply of amino acids to your muscles. Click here for more info.
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