BREAKING DOWN TRAINING AND NUTRITION MYTHS

Before you take a dive into the next fad diet or training trend, read below for Toby Richards' breakdown of some of the biggest training and nutrition lies...

CARBS MAKE YOU FAT

Carbohydrates are often seen as the enemy when it comes to fat loss, and protein and fats are often not considered. In my opinion, the reason here is this. Think of a food that you really enjoy or would crave, in most cases (not all) the foods we crave are high in carbs – chocolate, doughnuts, pizza, bread…the list goes on. If you were to look at the macronutrients of a doughnut, you would find that it’s mostly made up of carbohydrates, moderate fats and low protein.

Pretty much, carbs are in almost everything tasty. If things like cake and doughnuts were made up of mostly protein, then I’m sure the myth would be ‘protein makes you fat’. The main reason low carb diets work for the general population is that when you lower your carb intake you’re decreasing 1 of the 3 macronutrients, the macronutrient that’s often highest in the foods that we most commonly eat, therefore a reduction in calories consumed.

Pair a reduction in calories consumed with an increase in calories burned, and so long as the total number burned (including your basal metabolic rate) is greater than the total number of calories consumed, you will achieve weight loss.

**Basal metabolic rate (BMR) is the total number of calories your body needs to perform its basic functions before taking any exercise/movement into consideration.

SPOT REDUCING FAT

“What exercises can I do to lose fat on the back of my arms?” Unfortunately, no matter how many dips or push-ups you perform, it’s not going to have an effect on the fat stored in that area. The only way is through a calorie deficit as mentioned. The saying “abs are made in the kitchen” is true to a certain extent. Although you can burn an extremely high amount of calories to outweigh a high-calorie diet, it’s both exhausting and time-consuming. Finding a maintainable balance between calories in and calories out is always going to improve your chances of reducing fat and staying fit, happy and healthy.

LIFTING WEIGHTS MAKES YOU BULKY

One of the more common myths, many people seem to think that the second they start moving dumbbells around, they’re going to pack on 10lbs of muscle. The truth is, muscle is very hard to build and requires years of consistency and a surplus of calories. Often people will start to lift weights alone or with a trainer. This style of more intense training will break down your muscles and boost your metabolism.

When these two things happen, the body asks for more food and our appetite is often increased – increased appetite in most cases leads to increased calorie intake. Remember if the calories in outweigh the calories out, our bodies will gain weight/size, so this is often where the initial spike in weight or size gain comes from. Lifting weights alongside a tracked and balanced diet will reduce body fat, increase strength, reduce the risk of injury, shape and develop muscles and improve cardiovascular and circulation health.

GET YOUR BEAUTY SLEEP

As much as a lot of calorie burning goes on whilst you’re training, a big factor is also on the quality of sleep and recovery you’re getting. Apart from making you grouchy, poor sleep can affect a number of things such as reduced metabolic rate, insulin sensitivity and a cortisol spike. Higher cortisol (stress hormone) levels make your body want to conserve more energy and less likely to want to drop fat. So, in a nutshell, it’s a good idea to catch up on those Z’s.

Written by Toby Richards, coach and personal trainer. 

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