Torres column: Debunking some myths about exercise and food
Myths are popular in our society. There are myths about money, ghosts, cars, science … and, of course, exercise and food. Myths are beliefs that are not true. Obviously, if myths are not true, but people believe them, they can become a barrier. Anyone can believe a myth, from your neighbor to a professional with a high-level degree. This could be one of the reasons myths are so popular and can make people powerless.
Since I hear many myths about exercise and food, I’m going to uncover some of them in this article:
1) Weight lifting makes women big: No, eating the wrong foods make women big. The reality is that women have 95 percent less testosterone than men. Testosterone is a muscle-building booster, and it is unique to men. I have at least 80 female clients, and many of them lift heavy weights. Many of them started lifting weights being afraid to “grow big.” The more they lift the smaller they become, and their muscle tone improves. I have not come across any women yet who grow big muscles (maybe they don’t take any testosterone).
2) High repetitions will tone muscles: High repetitions will waste your time. After 20 repetitions, your muscles are not challenging themselves. They have no resistance to work against anymore. The only thing that they are doing is building lactic acid. Therefore, if you want to see results, lower repetitions and more weight will help tone your muscles.
3) Lactic acid makes the body sore: Lactic acid is a sign that your body has no more fuel and needs to remove waste. Soreness comes from a microscopic tear of the muscle. When you have these tears, it means that you have challenged your muscles, and your body needs to rebuild them, making more live tissue. You spend energy making this process happen, hence burning more calories. Anyway, the microscopic tear makes you sore, not lactic acid.
4) Cardiovascular training is all I need to tone my body: Cardiovascular training will help you lose weight and in fact is a great contributor to that. However, it may burn some muscle as it’s burning fat along the way. Cardiovascular training works the heart, lungs and blood vessels. Muscles must be built to be toned, and any strength training will do that, such as weight lifting and rock climbing.
5) Sugars will make me fat: Refined sugars — those removed from their natural state — will make you fat. However, sugars that are in a natural state, such as those in fruits and vegetables, will contribute to your weight loss. Fruits and vegetables are low in sugar and high in water. Plus, their sugars are naturally made, and the body breaks them down differently compared to the processed or refined ones. Also, processed sugars and refined sugars are very high in calories, while fruit and vegetable calories are low. In addition, fruits and vegetables have all kinds of vitamins and minerals with benefits, while refined and processed sugars have only calories.
6) I should not eat late at night: Not eating late at night will make you overeat when you give up. What makes people gain weight is not the time of ingestion, it is the type of foods people snack on. And usually they snack on junk food during the night in front of the TV. The body burns calories 24/7/365 days. This does not mean that you must eat at night, but you set up a healthy schedule that allows you to eat at night if you need to.
7) Carbohydrates make me gain weight: If you don’t eat carbohydrates, you will be a zombie all day. This myth is the same as the sugar myth. It is very important to understand that carbohydrates are good for the body. However, there are so many processed carbohydrates that people eat that make them gain weight that they tend to blame all carbohydrates for the cause. If you get bitten by one dog that does not mean that all dogs are aggressive. Not all people from the same nation have the same habits. Choose the right carbohydrates to have energy during the day.
8) I’m not drinking mixed alcoholic drinks. Instead, I’ll drink plain drinks: Drinking one drink will make it easy for you to drink two, three and so on. There are 9 calories in one gram of fat, 4 in one gram of protein or carbohydrates, and 7 calories in one gram of alcohol. Alcohol has empty calories. What does that mean? It means that when you eat protein obviously you are getting protein and some minerals, such as iron. Carbohydrates have all kinds of minerals and vitamins that are too many to list. In contrast, in alcohol there is nothing other than calories with no benefit to your body.
I recommend that you research the topic that you are most interested in and find out more about myths. My goals is to help you take some obstacles down, so you get to your goals more quickly and easily.
Sandro Torres is owner of Custom Body Fitness in Carbondale and Glenwood Springs and author of the book “Lose Weight Permanently.” His column appears on the second and fourth Tuesdays of the month in Body & More.