Midday Fix: Fitness myths

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Evan Shy

ShyTown Fitness
www.shytownfitness.com

Evan's Information:

All fat is “bad fat”
Pick the bacon over toast at breakfast, for a delicious meal while stimulating your metabolism to utilize fat for energy throughout the day.  It's critical to preface the encouragement of fat consumption with the importance of a low/no carbohydrate diet accompanying it.   If both macro nutrients are consumed in significant quantities, as most American diets often are, will result in an environment ripe for fat storage and the means to do it.   That said, adequate carbohydrate restriction and sufficient fat consumption will encourage optimal hormone balance in the body, improve metabolic efficiency and manage blood sugar levels.  This shift in calories from carbohydrates to fat and protein will dramatically improve one's capacity for weight management and overall health in the long term.

Lifting light weights for high reps is best for toning
When you place sufficient stress on your body through exercise the body's response is to develop muscle.  Although varying the type of stress (angles, weight load, intensity, circuit training, etc.) is ideal to optimize the rate of progress, it does not determine the development of "toned muscle" vs. "bulky muscle", you simply develop muscle.   The aesthetic or visual display of that muscle will rely largely on body composition, driven by proper nutrition and the aerobic intensity of your program.  The latter can be accomplished simply by increasing the pace of your current workout, utilizing a circuit training style with minimal rest if fat loss is your goal.   To be clear, this type of training is aimed at improving body composition or reducing body fat, not necessarily to develop "toned" muscle.   If your goal is to achieve more "definition" then you should emphasize a nutrition regiment that is appropriate for the degree of fat-loss you seek.   Additionally, lifting as heavy as possible to achieve the desired rep count in your program, this can range from 4 - 25 reps, using a combination of rep ranges within one 4 week program to capture maximum results, regardless of your fitness goals.  Never should you be using light enough weight that allows you to achieve the prescribed rep count with ease.  Everything we do in the gym is about forcing adaptation, placing your body under stress it cannot currently perform under, thus forcing it to change.

Crunches alone will give you 6-pack abs
Regardless of all the marketing slogans suggesting otherwise, developing a 6-pack requires more work outside the gym than in it.  Implementing a combination of abdominal exercises into your current program is smart for almost anybody and although it will impact core strength and the development your abdominal muscles it will do little to display the shredded 6-packs and flat stomachs we see in these cliché infomercials.   The placement of our abs on the body (behind large fat stores) make them particularly hard to see unless a sufficiently lean body composition is achieved.  As such, a six pack is truly uncovered in the kitchen.

Lifting heavy weights will bulk women up
Because of the hormonal make up of women it makes it nearly impossible for most women to develop significant muscle naturally, regardless of the type of lifting they engage in.  That being the case, many women see even more benefit from lifting heavy and intense because it's the most effective way to elicit physiologic response, eventually achieving the defined physiques we see on fitness covers.  Many of our bikini competitors and fitness models lift weights in the same manner I do, in conjunction with a lean diet results in the impressive physiques you see in fitness magazines.

Eating “whole wheat” pasta and/or bread is healthy
Too often the "whole wheat" products marketed to us will trick you into thinking you're consuming a healthier alternative to it's white/starchy counterpart.  When a quick flip to the ingredients listed on back you'll find that you're still consuming essentially just starch.  Starchy carbohydrates will effect blood sugar in the same way that table sugar does, in fact more.  When our bodies consume carbohydrates in this form we experience a dramatic rise in blood sugar/glucose, in response to this signal our pancreas begins releasing insulin in an effort to reduce or stabilize blood glucose levels by pulling nutrients out of the blood stream and into various energy stores throughout the body.   Anything left over will be converted to triglycerides in adipose tissue (FAT).  Chronically high insulin levels will result in excessive weight gain in addition to numerous metabolic deficiencies.   By dramatically reducing carbohydrate consumption it allows us to minimize the pervasive energy storage environment created by insulin.  Equally important is the physiologic response to these low blood glucose levels, in much the same way our bodies signal to the pancreas to release insulin to lower blood sugar, our body begins releasing Glucagon in order to raise blood sugar.   The release of glucagon actually promotes the breakdown of energy stores (FAT) for the production of energy.   Long story short, when you've been consistent on your low carbohydrate diet for several days, you've sufficiently depleted the energy stores in liver and muscle, consequently utilizing adipose tissue or FAT as the primary source.