All the horse manure myths out there in the diet and nutrition world remind me of the saying “A fool and his money are soon parted”. There are a great many myths out there which may appear to be legit to those who have not studied certain subjects intensely, but in reality they are little more than either “Old wives tales” or marketing ploys to get you to fork over your money. For instance, in the world of strength training and fitness in general, there are new machines constantly being introduced to the public. This is especially true in gyms. These shiny machines are designed to hit your muscles from different angles or with varying degrees of intensity in order to cause “Muscle Confusion” in order to make them grow bigger and stronger. Let me break this down to you, the term “muscle confusion” is total bunk and the marketing of machines which are going to get you all swole and strong because of muscle confusion is nothing more than smart marketing by people who want and or need to sell you a product or gym membership. Not that there is not a use for machines in strength training, my point is, the ploy is to get you to use the different machines in order to keep you from getting bored so that you will continue coming back to the gym or buying the newest and latest in equipment.
Here is a truth, strength training can get boring and damn well frustrating when it gets heavy. It takes a mental toughness to stick it out long enough to see good results. The human body gets all the confusion it needs in order to grow muscle by first eating enough protein and then by linear progression in a strength training program which can be acheived by doing compound lifts that work multiple muscle groups and by consistently adding more weight to the barbell and or adding more reps and sets to your routine. Along with good nutrition and a solid weight training program, you need to be equally mindful of your rest and recovery in order to get stronger and more “Swole” if desired. It is truly as simple as that and does not require deep thought in order to get great results. Keep it simple stupid.
Revving Up Your Metabolism?
With nutrition, we are bombarded every day with information regarding the latest fad diets which are promised to cause us to lose our body fat with little to no effort. All you have to do is to buy prepackaged meals from any of a number of companies advertising on the television and we wil be ready to rock a bathing suit for the summer.
Or maybe all you have to do is to eat nothing but pineapple a few days per week and a hamburger and a banana the other days or some stupid crap like that. Another one I have seen is the cabbage soup diet heart surgeons recommend to cause rapid weight loss. The problem is, these fads are not healthy and despite the fact you may or may not lose weight, the loss is not sustainable and likely not healthy in the long term. Fads also do not address the mental or emotional reasons behind over eating and weight gain, nor do they teach you how to prepare and consume well rounded meals where you get all the nutrients you need for a healthy body and mind.
The catalyst which gave me the muse to write about this is a piece I saw on Weight Watchers social media which was written by a nice enough individual who I believe is very well intentioned, yet not as informed as he or she may believe themselves to be. This well meaning soul wrote to “Eat More Crap” as the philosophy is that at times the body can get bored with too many low or zero point foods that are easier to process and your metabolism gets so good at processing them it slows down. This individual writes that the occasional order of fries or pizza gives your body something else to metabolize and it has to work harder to metabolize it so it gets your metabolism revved up. This is total bunk with no basis in science in regards to nutrition and or metabolism. The body does not work this way.
The point he or she was driving home is to eat according to Weight Watchers plan and get your “Blue Dots” most days and then have three days where you eat crap and exceed your points in order to revv your metabolism. If you truly understand the Free Style program on Weight Watchers, you will know that by getting your “Blue Dot” you are eating at a caloric deficit by a wide to narrow margin depending on what you consume each day.
A caloric deficit will slow your metabolism and it will speed up some when you add more calories back in, but at the end of the day, even if you do lose some weight, there is no science behind his plan. The bottom line is weight loss/management is all about calories in verses calories consumed. It is also about long term trends not day to day fluctuations. For instance, if your basal metabolic rate has you consuming 2000 calories a day, or 14,000 calories per week in order to maintain your weight, it will take a deficit of 500 calories per day or 10,500 calories that week to lose one pound of fat. It matters little if you have a day or two where maybe you ate 2500 instead of 1500 calories a day during the week, as long as your weekly total does not exceed 10,500 calories you will lose one pound of fat. This does not indicate you revved up your metabolism, it just means you still had a weekly trend in that you did not exceed your weekly caloric total.
This individual has a good heart in writing their piece, my concern is in folks believing myths with no basis in biology or science.
Tips That Will Help Rev Your Metablism
1. Besides consuming a well rounded diet of whole foods which will provide all the nutrients you need on a daily basis, get yourself involved in a strength training program of some sort. Whether it is with a barbell, dumbbells or your own body weight. There is a lot you can do for little to no cost. The more lean muscle you have, the better your metabolism will be at burning body fat. In a study at Soutehern Illinois University, exercisers who did a fifteen minute strength routine burned one hundred extra calories a day for three days afterwards. Strength training causes micor trauma to your muscles which your body must repair. It does this by torching additional protein and carbs in the process.
2. Lift weights and do your cardio last. Exercisers who pump iron before their cardio routine are shown to burn more fat than those who do not lift.
3. Include Inteval Training to your routine and you can burn an additional 200 calories over what you would burn in a steady run or bicycle ride. Changing the intensity forces your muscles to work harder.
4.Drink plenty of water. If you are not crazy about drinking water, cut up fruit and add them to a pitcher of water in your refrigerator for a tasty and satisfying drink.
5.Eat a good mix of protein and carbs within 30 minutes after a workout. I like a good protein shake after working out, but you might prefer a banana with peanut butter. The point is, get about 26 grams of protein and about 35 grams of complex carbs after your workout to renourish your body.
There are many ways to lose weight, just ensure that the route you take is based on sound science and that you know the ins and outs behind what you are going to do in order to get the body that you want. Stay away from fad diets and exeercise routines. Do eat whole foods and avoid sugar and processed foods while also engaging in a physical fitness regimen at least three days per week. By educating yourself and not following fad trends, you are more likely to achieve the body you want and deserve, and more imprtantly, you are going to live a much healthier and happier life.