The exercise/nutrition business is full of many myths, lies, and deception. This article destroys a few popular myths when it comes to fat loss and muscle-building.
You need to eat every three hours to build muscle!
For a long time I believed this. In fact there were long periods of times where I would eat every two hours in the quest to gain muscle. It got to the point where as soon I was done eating, I was preparing my next meal. I became a slave to my food.
All the muscle magazines and articles on the internet told me I had to eat every three hours or I would go into a negative nitrogen balance and my body would eat my muscles. I’ll be damned if I am going to lose muscle! I’ll show my body and I will slam protein down all day long!
The truth is you are not going to lose muscle if you don’t eat every few hours. Your body is not going to go into a negative nitrogen balance. There are many lean and muscular humans out there who only eat three times a day. The truth is what you eat matters more than the frequency of eating.
Breakfast is the most important meal of the day!
I am sure your parents, teachers, or any adult has told you this at some point in your life. Never skip breakfast! People who eat breakfast are less likely to be overweight, blah, blah, and blah!
The truth is breakfast is neither good nor bad. If your idea of breakfast is an Egg McMuffin, donut, bagel, sugary cereal, and/or juice then I highly recommend you skip breakfast. However, if your idea of breakfast is eggs, fruit, oatmeal, and/or a protein shake you might be on to something.
You see breakfast is meant to break the fast of you not eating all night when you sleep. So what source of food/fuel you use to break the fast is what matters. If you feel better after eating a good solid breakfast, by all means eat breakfast. However, if your breakfast comes from a drive-thru or in a cardboard box…skip it!
Diet strategies such as Intermittent Fasting (IF) skip breakfast all together. Guess what? People who use Intermittent Fasting usually lose weight and get leaner in the process. Why? Because they use human nature to their advantage. Our ancestors were hunters and gatherers. They were not eating breakfast. They killed things and searched for food during the day and they feasted at night. Obesity and diabetes are relatively new problems of humanity.
Your body can only absorb 30 grams of protein per meal!
I wish I knew where this myth started, so I could go and slap the fool that started it! So, you are telling me the 110 lb female body can absorb the same amount of protein as a 300 lb man? That means it would take 10 meals a day for a 300 lb bodybuilder to get his required amount of protein.
The total grams of protein you take in a day is more important than how much you take in at one sitting. In fact, taking in 50-60 grams a protein at a meal is better for fat loss. Why? Because protein fills you up faster. Two grilled chicken breasts for dinner is more likely to prevent you from overeating than one grilled chicken breast.
You need simple carbohydrates post-workout to recover from a workout!
Well, you need to replace glycogen stores after a hard workout! Right!?!? Not necessarily.
The magazines used to tell me I needed to create an insulin spike post-workout to grow my muscles. As a good little lifter I did just that. I used to down 50-100 grams of Gatorade powder after a lifting session when I was younger to create an insulin spike. One down I was in the locker room packing down the scoops of sugary powder into my protein shaker and my friend was like “easy on the sugar there buddy”. Being naïve, I told him I needed to replenish my glycogen. It took many years to realize he was right. All that sugar did was create a crash and make me fatter. A normal person training once a day does not need Gatorade or some dextrose type powder to recover from a workout.
Now, I take a more balanced approach to my post-workout nutrition and I avoid simple sugars all together. I still recover from my workouts just fine and I am healthier to boot.
Cardio should be done fasted!
The first question you need to ask yourself is “why am I doing cardio”? Fasted cardio first thing in the morning is great if that’s when you have time to do it. However, it might not be the best time if you are training for a sport. I don’t see many sprinters, marathoners, football players, soccer players, etc. competing fasted in the morning.
Cardio is a tool, not the be all end all of fat loss. I do cardio because it allows me to burn some extra calories and more importantly it is good for my heart, lungs, and mental well-being.
A mistake that many people make with fasted cardio is they will go kill themselves for an hour or so and then go pound a recovery shake. Wasn’t the point of fasted cardio to burn fat? Now, you just downed a bunch of carbohydrates and negated all that hard work. In that case you might as well of hit the snooze button and slept another few hours. You would have the same end result in terms of fat loss.
You need at least 200 grams of carbohydrates a day or you will lose energy and become weaker!
One time I actually read an article that said you need 200 carbohydrates a day for proper brain function. Apparently, the author never heard of Ketosis, Atkin’s Diet, or low-carb diets.
Carbs will serve as your primary energy source if you let them. If you are using to a high carb diet your body will run on carbs. However, if you run a very low-carb, high fat diet your body flips the switch (Ketosis) and your body runs on fat. You become less hungry, have less cravings, burn more fat, and enjoy the results.
Anytime fat loss is my goal, I switch to a low-carb, high-fat approach. It is much easier to manage cravings, blood sugar levels, and appetite when you are eating healthy fats.
Fat loss dieting is not a one-size-fits all approach. Different strokes for different folks. If you read something that does not make sense perhaps it is for a reason. Your brain is your most powerful tool in achieving the body of your dreams.
Experimentation is a good thing. I look at all my exercise and nutritional programs as experiments. When I come up with a program I am like a mad scientist that locks himself in his laboratory until he has that eureka moment. However, all that planning means nothing without proper execution.
Come up with a nutritional approach that makes sense with your lifestyle and objectives. If you need help you can always contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org or http://www.overcomefat.com for a personalized 8-week nutritional program.