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Last Updated Friday July 21 2017 10:23 AM IST

Stay healthy, beware of these 7 health myths

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Stay healthy, beware of these 7 health myths

It is important to follow only expert advice when dieting or following a nutrition plan to build muscle. Common advise- no pain, no gain; you never bulk up without supplements; crunches are the key to six-pack abs, etc. There are endless questions, misconceptions and half-truths about health and exercise. Don’t be fooled!

1. MYTH: Don’t eat late at night.

Diet

TRUTH: Believe it or not, calories can’t tell time. Your body processes calories the same, no matter at what time you eat. The myth stems from the choices we usually make for late night snacking—processed foods, or foods high in sugars and extra fat. Avoid binge eating at night and opt for a nice salad or home-cooked food.

2. MYTH: Diet food helps lose weight

Exercise

TRUTH: Words like “low fat” or “low carb”don’t necessarily mean “low calorie” or “low sugar”. Diet food is often loaded with hidden dangers like artificial sweeteners and preservatives. Most processed foods labeled “low-fat” or “fat-free” use other ingredients (like sugar and artificial flavors) to amp up the flavor. The result is an unhealthy chemical concoction that may be lower in fat and/or calories, but made up of ingredients that simply aren’t healthy. It’s preferable to go with a smaller portion of the real thing. Busting some commonly held notions about exercise and dieting.

3. MYTH: Soreness after exercise is caused by lactic acid build up in the muscles.

Exercise

TRUTH: A common belief is that lactic acid build-up in the muscle causes muscle soreness. This is because during an intensive workout like weight training, the muscles make energy for contraction anaerobically (without oxygen), which leads to lactic acid production. This is in contrast to aerobic exercises like walking or jogging that produce energy using oxygen, with little lactic acid build-up. This has been shown to be false as any lactic acid that is produced during exercise is cleared in the short duration after you finish exercising. The soreness you feel is caused by tears in the muscles that occur as you exercise—especially if you’re just starting an exercise regimen. As your body repairs those microscopic tears, you’re building new, healthy and strong muscle tissue. This is also the reason why weight training encourages you to increase the resistance or heaviness of your weights as you get accustomed to one level—it’s only through this process that you actually get stronger and build more muscle.

4. MYTH: Performing abdominal exercises gives you a flat stomach.

Exercise

TRUTH: The only way to get a flat stomach is to strip away the fat around the midsection. This is accomplished by doing cardio/aerobic exercise (to burn calories), strength training (to increase metabolism) and by following a proper diet. Abdominal exercises help to build muscle in the midsection, but you will never see the muscle definition unless the fat in this area is stripped away.

5. MYTH: You need to take supplements to build muscle.

TRUTH: Supplements can help, especially if you’re a bodybuilder or strength trainer. The average person doesn’t need to chug creatine or protein shakes. It is true that you need more protein when you want to build muscle size and strength. But you can easily get that protein from food. The protein in most supplements is derived from milk or soy anyway, so you are paying a supplement manufacturer to extract the protein from food and sell it back to you! Additionally, getting the added protein from food also provides you with energy (calories) and carbohydrates that you need to fuel your workouts. For the average person, the extra supplements added to your food or drinks aren’t likely to do you much good.

6. MYTH:You can take weight off from specific body parts by doing exercises that target those areas.

Exercise

TRUTH: This concept is called spot training and, unfortunately, it doesn’t burn fat. When you lose weight, you are unable to choose the area in which the reduction will occur. Your body predetermines which fat stores it will use. For example, doing sit-ups will strengthen your abs but won’t take the fat off your stomach. Similarly, an activity like running burns fat all over your body, not just your legs. You can, however, compliment a balanced exercise regimen with a selection of weight training exercises to gradually lose weight and tone the body.

7. MYTH: Forty-five minutes in the gym gives a license to do whatever you want for rest of the day.

TRUTH: The gym doesn’t negate a bad diet. If you work out for an hour and follow a bad lifestyle for rest of the day, it isn’t going to work. Emerging research suggests that if you’re sedentary most of the day, it may not matter how hard or often you exercise, you will face problem. People who spend more time sitting during their leisure time have an increased risk of health issues, regardless of daily exercise. Be active the whole day. Don’t sit at a place for more than 30 to 45 minutes. This should be part of your day along with the gym thing.

Don’t let common diet and exercise myths distract you from your goals of getting healthier. Ask questions. If you don’t understand something, ask a qualified fitness
professional, health coach, health professional for advice. Rationalizing the truth of every myth will keep you healthy, injury-free and on track to meet your health and fitness goals.

(In arrangement with THE MAN)

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