Debunking Bodybuilding Myths

Discussion in 'Off Topic - news, sports, etc' started by zillagraybear, Jul 9, 2018.

  1. zillagraybear

    zillagraybear BRP REP

    Jan 8, 2018
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    Nutrition – it’s a complex topic.
    Do you need carbs or do you avoid them altogether?

    You can’t eat bread, ice cream and pizza, but you can and should eat celery, chicken and spinach, right?

    What’s the deal with sugar?

    Are 8 meals per day better than 6?

    Depending on what you read and whom you listen to, getting your eating right for fat loss can become a real pain as you struggle and stress over what to eat, when to eat it, and how much you need. To answer all of the above and more, we need to look at the underlying principle of nutrition.

    So let’s get a bit of background knowledge out of the way.

    Calories are King
    A calorie is a unit of energy and your body needs them to survive. They are ultimately what determine whether you lose, maintain or gain weight. Weight management, in reality, is a very simple equation.

    • Eat fewer calories than you burn and you lose weight.
    • Eat more calories than you burn and you gain weight.
    • Eat as many calories as you burn and your weight will remain stable.
    That’s it. The very crux of weight loss and weight gain comes down to the amount of energy you’re putting in versus the amount of energy you’re putting out. Ultimately, the rest of your diet doesn’t really matter until your caloric intake has been addressed.

    A General Guide
    As a very (very) general guide, the more calories you eat, the faster you’ll gain weight and build muscle provided you’re training accordingly, however the faster you’ll likely also gain excess body fat too. The fewer calories you eat, the faster you’ll lose weight but the greater chance you have of burning through muscle too.

    As you can see, it’s something of a numbers game and a bit of a balancing act, in ensuring you’re gaining or losing slowly to reap the rewards without necessarily experiencing the potential consequences in excess.

    Optimizing your approach with Flexible Dieting
    If you really want to split hairs and optimize your approach, you’re going to need to consider calculating your daily macronutrient requirements. The three macronutrients are protein, carbohydrates and fats. This is going to help you build and maintain muscle mass when bulking or cutting in the best way possible, whilst allowing freedom within your calorie intake – known as flexible dieting or ‘If It Fits Your Macros’ (IIFYM). Flexible dieting involves restriction free eating and focuses on the nutritional content of food, rather than specific foods being ‘good’ or ‘bad’. You monitor your intake by tracking calories and/or macronutrients and place a focus on nutrient-dense, healthy foods.

    However, if you fancy a little “junk food” you can have it, provided it’s in moderation, and still fits the parameters of your daily calorie/macronutrient requirements.


    The power of IIFYM
    Flexible dieting is so successful, because it completely eradicates the need for cheat meals, greatly reduces your risk of binge eating and ensures you’re far more likely to stick to your diet and, ultimately, get results. It’s all about forging a healthy relationship with food and promotes consistency and sustainability in your approach to eating and gym progress.

    “You could consider it the scientific approach to eating – a way of tracking and quantifying what you’re eating in a bid to control and manipulate your body composition.”

    Science Factor
    Now, despite the fact that we have more scientific knowledge and more access to research and literature than ever before regarding the importance of calories, the energy balance and how to structure our diets for optimal muscle building and fat loss through the use of flexible dieting, much of the training and dieting community is still stuck in the dark ages. There are so many myths and misconceptions floating around out there it’s scary. Guys and girls and self-acclaimed fitness models alike are still promoting outdated practices that just don’t make sense and aren’t even close to necessary.

    Let’s take a look at some of the more common myths that the big jacked dude at your gym is likely going to share with you, despite the fact you’re now clued in to the science behind why/how you gain/lose weight:

    Eat Small, Frequent Meals to Speed Up Your Metabolism
    The theory that your body would find it easier to handle and digest multiple smaller meals per day in comparison to larger, more infrequent feedings makes sense to a certain degree, right? It’s reasonably similar to the notion that dumping an enormous pile of wood onto a fire might not be as advantageous as gradually adding in one log at a time – but your metabolism isn’t a fire.

    Every time you eat, you burn calories digesting the meal you’ve just consumed. This is referred to as the thermic effect of food (TEF). Whilst different macronutrients contain a different increase in TEF, whether you look at the percentage increase from a meal perspective or a day’s worth of eating, that percentage is going to remain the same.

    Different macronutrients have a slightly different thermic effect, but at the end of the day, 10 x 250 calorie meals is ultimately going to burn the same amount of calories through digestion as 1 x 2500 calorie meal, provided the macronutrient breakdown is the same of course. So quit with the stop-watch – there’s no need to time your meals to the minute just to lose fat, so long as you aren’t consuming too many total calories.

    Your diet should work for you and so long as you’re meeting daily requirements from a calorie/macronutrient perspective, the amount of meals you eat is largely irrelevant to body composition outside of affecting things such as mood, energy levels, training intensity etc.

    Low Carb Diets are the Only Way to Lose Fat
    For a long time now, carbs have been made out to be the enemy – they’re evil, dirty, body fat increasing monsters. One of the main reasons behind this belief is due to the apparent success of eating approaches such as the Atkins and South Beach diets that focus on severely restricting carbohydrate intake in favor of proteins and fats.

    People tend to get pretty excited during the initial stages of a low-carb diet as you tend to lose a lot of weight almost immediately. Trouble is, this is mostly water and glycogen – not necessarily body fat.

    Over the long term, any differences between low carb diets and other diets balance out and show that it isn’t beneficial to opt for one over another. Plus, when people tend to opt for a low-carb diet, they consume an increased amount of protein that tends to have a higher thermic effect and provides more satiety, further contributing to the illusion of lower-carb diets being more effective. Outside of personal preference, certain medical conditions and very few other scenarios, there’s just no need to remove the most readily available source of energy from your diet.

    So long as you’re burning more calories than you’re consuming, you’re going to be losing weight, whether you’re consuming no carbs or a diet that is filled with calories from Twinkies.

    Eating Carbs at Night Makes You Fat
    You aren’t planning on training after a certain hour in the day, so you won’t likely require any more carbs right? They are the number one fuel source for the body, so it seems like it might have some truth to it yes? No.

    Just no. Burning fat requires eating fewer calories than what you’re burning. It really doesn’t matter whether you choose to eat the calories before you burn them, so long as the net result at the end of the day is the same.

    It is best to implement periodic cheat days after you stick rigidly to your “clean” diet
    The ironic thing about people who criticize “flexible dieting/IIFYM” followers” is that they rigidly cling to their “clean” eating regimen only to give in after a short period of time and go on absolute binge-a-thons (colloquially called “cheat” days). Don’t be fooled; those intermittent binge episodes will wreak havoc on your body composition quickly.

    Many gym-goers assert that “clean eating” is the key to success when trying to build muscle and burn fat. In their mind, “clean eating” entails a day full of nothing but tuna, broccoli, and brown rice. Reality check…eating plain, bland, fresh-from-the-can tuna chunks all day won’t make you healthier, or better looking than the next guy. What it will make you is someone who dreads their diet and can’t wait for the next cheat day to roll around.

    The solution is quite simple—be creative in the kitchen! Have some variety in your diet, and quit looking at certain foods as being either “good” or “bad.” There is little reason to believe that a little “junk” food here and there will make or break your health and physique as long as you’re hitting your nutrient goals. There are millions of ways to eat a healthful diet rife with nutrient-dense foods and make it taste good. Get over the idea that dieting to have a lean body has to be some sort of sacrifice or process of suffering.

    There is no reason you can’t achieve your physique and performance goals while also enjoying the foods you like, just exercise moderation; a sliver of cake won’t break you, but a whole cake probably will.
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