Go outside and ride your bike.
That's what my mother used to tell me when I was a child and I complained about being fat. I was not completely wrong. If I wanted to lose weight, it would not hurt to ride my bicycle. But I took his words as sacred, and for decades I exercised to lose weight, deceiving myself with the belief that I could eat like a pig while I was active. (For example: I used to make Doritos white bread sandwiches with ketchup as a snack after school, do not make fun of me because they are fantastic!).
I did what my mother had told me and I rode my bike around the neighborhood. I ran on the slopes, and participated in several sports teams in high school. In college he would walk 20 to 30 minutes to class every day, and he enjoyed playing many games and recreational sports. After graduating I went regularly to the gym five times a week. But despite all that effort, it still looked like one of those "before" pictures in a commercial of weight loss pills.
Finally, at 30, I tried P90X, a high-intensity training program, which comes with a recommended diet. Following his guidelines, I have shrunk my portions of food, stopped eating packaged and processed foods, and alcohol. And I lost 35 pounds.
Sure, the training helped, but the intense exercise was nothing new to me. It was the diet that finally allowed me to lose weight.
My point is that we receive bad advice to be more slender all the time, often from well-meaning people: parents, coaches, friends, gymmates. If you're like me, you still think some of those tips are good. But you should not. Here are five of them that you must ignore at all costs.
1. If you want to lose weight, you have to exercise
Not true. This is what people who sell exercise machines and training programs say. If you really want to lose weight, you must have your diet under control. Exercise is good, and the benefits are many, but weight loss is about eating fewer calories.
For those who prefer scientific reasons: When Hunter College researchers recently studied the Hadza tribe of Tanzanian hunters and gatherers, and compared their way of life to the typical western lifestyle, they found no difference in burning energy between the two. So if you hunt birds and pick berries all day, or sit in an office, your body burns the same amount of calories. In other words, obesity is not caused by inactivity. It's a calorie problem.
THE TRUTH: If you want to lose weight, the key is to eat healthy foods and eat fewer calories.To make it easier, find a companion to accompany you in weight loss. According to a study published in the Obesity magazine, people who try to lose weight together can significantly influence the results of each one. This helps explain why husbands and wives who attend programs like WeightWatchers together, regularly, are successful.
2. Without effort, you do not win
"Come on, three more! You can do it! Strength!" We've all heard these words of encouragement in the gym. My high school football buddies used to scream at them while I struggled to do one more replay during the team's training sessions. As an experience of friendship, and a test of willpower, these trainings paid off. But they left a terrible precedent. I compared pain with gain, and discarded any training that did not leave my body in agony.
"No pain you do not win is a bad strategy for lifelong exercise," says Dr. Michael Otto, author of "Exercise for Mood and Anxiety: Proven Strategies for Overcoming Depression and Enhancing Well-Being mood and anxiety: Proven strategies to overcome depression and improve well-being) ". If you are not an elite athlete and you are exercising to benefit your health, including the heart, a better mood, regulate weight, increase energy, or sleep more, you do not need to suffer pain. You can get all these benefits with minimal discomfort. Also, you are less likely to repeat a painful workout.
THE TRUTH: Moderate exercise for 40 minutes, four to five times a week, is all you need to get the benefits of exercise, says Otto. Walking, jogging, dancing, swimming, playing volleyball, touch football, and throwing to the basket all count as "moderate exercise." Even some common tasks meet the requirements. To get a list of moderate exercises and the length of time they should be done, copy and paste this URL into your browser (after finishing this article, of course): // www. nhlbi. nih gov / health / public / heart / obesity / lose_wt / phy_act. htm
3. You can form long, thin muscles
About five years ago, I bought myself a set of adjustable dumbbells. I kept them underweight and did many repetitions. Why? Because I did not want big and bulky arms. What he wanted were long, thin muscles.
Well, I was an idiot.
Shane Doll, a personal trainer in Charleston, South Carolina, says he laughs when companies announce the possibility of selling someone long, thin muscles.
"It's always been a misconception that weightlifting and resistance training will make you big and bulky," Doll said. "What nobody thinks is that, from a purely anatomical point of view, the idea of lengthening your muscles is not possible.The distance between the joints never changes. The physiology behind this is very simple, but everyone thinks, will it be Pilates or this machine that will make my muscles long and elegant?
If the ads were true, people who have done Pilates would look like The Plastic Man.
THE TRUTH: Although it is Pilates or push-ups, the adaptation of muscle tissue does not change. Muscle mass is only enlarged with intense workouts combined with proteins and / or other supplements.
To achieve the toned look of a swimmer (without having to swim, of course), Doll recommends performing a variety of resistance exercises, finished in fast circuits based on high intensity at the end, which are short bursts of effort. Reps should be from 8 to 20 20, or work in sets of 30 seconds with 30 seconds of rest. By varying the number of repetitions, rest periods, exercises, and other variables in your training, you can develop or maintain a thin and toned physique.
4. You should eat a lot of carbohydrates
No, probably not.
When I was doing the P90X, on the nights before the difficult plyometric exercise session, I ate a lot of pasta because that's what I thought you had to do before an intense workout. Once again, I was wrong.
"Unless you're going to exercise physically for more than 90 minutes the next day, you really do not have to think about loading yourself with carbohydrates," says Nancy Clark, RD, author of "Nancy Clark's Sports Nutrition Guidebook."
THE TRUTH: To prepare for a big event, the best strategy is to continue eating your normal sports diet (a plate with two-thirds of cereals, starches, vegetables and fruits, and a third of proteins), while you rest from training, says Clark. "By taking a day off, the muscles have the time to store the carbohydrates you eat instead of burning them in another workout.
This is one reason why high school football teams, College and NFL students have simple practices the day before a game, in addition to allowing pain to subside, they allow athletes' bodies to store carbohydrates for energy.
5. The best time to train is in the morning or at night
I have friends who swear that training in the morning is better because it increases your metabolism throughout the day, it gives you a natural energy that keeps you until the afternoon. It is the best at night, since you can burn all the calories that you consumed that day, in addition to being tired at the end, it is easier to fall asleep.
Who is right?
When it comes to losing fat, there is not much advantage in any way, says Doll. And although the minor details, such as when you exercise, at what time you take your protein shake, etc., they generate a lot of debate on the Internet, in the end they do not make an important difference. What happens during a 24-hour period is what really matters.
"I have seen that many break the" rules ", and get better results, hard work, sufficient rest, recovery, and constant healthy nutrition are 95% of the equation for most," said Doll. "Elite athletes and physic-bodybuilders can argue that the last 5% is very important, but this is not something that average athletes should worry about. The big picture gets lost in the details.
THE TRUTH: The best time to exercise is when you most want to exercise, or you can fit into your schedule, says Dr. Otto. "There is some research that suggests that the time of day when you get the best performance is in which You must compete too, but these are subtle details.
If you want something more specific, follow these simple instructions from Doll, who has been a trainer for 20 years:
Avoid intensive training (high intensity and intervals) late at night, as it produces chemicals in the brain that can make it difficult to fall asleep and alter natural circadian rhythms.
The best time for weight training is when you can give your best effort.
Avoid exercising shortly after eating. If you train in the morning, eat a small protein shake or fruit as a snack before training. Digestion should be kept to a minimum.
If you have been eating and exercising based on old advice that you do not remember where you heard it, think again. When it comes to exercise, conventional knowledge changes as fast as science, which is still discovering how the human body works.