When it comes to fitness advice, consider the source

In last week’s column, I featured part one of the list of “bad advice” my friends, clients, and colleagues have encountered throughout their lives and health and fitness journeys. Here is part 2:

1 — A vegan client of mine was repeatedly told, “You have to eat meat to build muscle.” Earlier this year, I presented research from a study that compared groups of athletes who ate omnivore to a vegan group . Both groups supplemented with protein powder and had virtually identical results by the end of the study. The results showed that getting enough protein in any form was more important than getting the protein from animal or plant sources.

2 – A friend who eats a more traditional diet that includes animal products was told, “You must avoid all animal products if you want to be healthy.” While there are many eating styles that can lead to good health, it doesn’t seem to to give the one “healthiest” diet. Additionally, there is overwhelming evidence, both anecdotal and scientific, that animal products can be part of a vibrant, healthy eating plan. Regardless of whether someone eats animal products or not, the larger variable when considering what to eat seems to be the amount of processed, refined, high-sugar, and high-sodium foods one is consuming. Cooking from scratch with fresh, whole ingredients is a bigger driver of healthy eating than being vegan or omnivore.

3 – “The only way to lose weight is to run!” There are just too many success stories of people losing weight through dieting and countless exercise options to imagine that it can only happen by running. I also know many experienced runners who might be classified as “overweight,” as well as many lean, fit adults who have never run as part of their daily routine. It’s a great activity but high risk for some and definitely not for all. In addition, according to experts, nutritional interventions and healthy eating are responsible for up to 80 percent of sustained weight loss. The remaining 20 percent can come from any sport, which could include running.

4 – Seniors should not lift weights and walk. Walking should be a part of everyone’s healthy lifestyle, including the elderly. For older adults, however, there is ample evidence that strength training is even more important in maintaining an independent lifestyle and managing or staving off progressive diseases such as diabetes and high blood pressure. Seniors should walk as much as possible, but they should also lift weights and/or do strength exercises several times a week.

5 — Women should only lift light weights to avoid gaining weight. This is another antiquated “advice” that was hard to die for. In my personal and professional experience, most of the women I work with are stronger than they think when we start. They could often lift heavier weights than they use in their routine training. 2-3lb weights just won’t do much for an adult looking to build functional strength and lean muscle. I believe the reluctance to lift 10-20 pound weights (or even heavier) can be traced back to the misinformed notion that a woman lifting weights will become muscle bound and look “like a man.” The reality is that women must train incredibly hard and frequently while consuming muscle building supplements in order to build significant muscle to the point of becoming “muscle bound.” To maintain lean muscle tissue, bone strength, and function, women should lift weights. And probably more than they “think” they can.

6 – Don’t exercise lest you use up your finite “battery life force”. Maybe the worst fitness advice I’ve ever heard. The idea of ​​a finite store of energy that can be depleted through exercise can be traced back to a number of theories throughout history; especially the “evidence-based” ideas that emerged during the Victorian era aimed at keeping women “fertile” and factory workers profitable. Since then, science has consistently debunked this idea, actually proving that more exercise throughout the life cycle leads to more energy. In recent years, the theory has resurfaced as Donald Trump defended his reluctance to engage in physical activity, citing the idea of ​​finite battery life. While it might be a convenient excuse for those who prefer a sedentary lifestyle, it’s worth remembering Newton’s first law; a body at rest stays at rest, and a body in motion stays in motion.”

When considering advice, consider the source, and if it seems too good to be true, it usually is.

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