Take Charge of Your Health-Diet and Exercise Myths

We are still in the New Years Resolution time frame and lots of people are busy working on their “new” health plan.  Unfortunately, many are going the wrong way because they believe these myths that both CNN and Yahoo Shine have compiled and can be found at Mercola.com.

Myth #1  Long Cardio Workouts are the Key to Weight Loss.  If you walk into a gym, you will see most people crowding the aerobics equipment and using the treadmill or elliptical machine for an hour or so, thinking they are getting an execellent workout.  However, there are far better forms of exercises, espcecially for those older than 40.  There is a growing body of scientific research showing that you can perform a significantly SHORTER workout, at a greater intensity, and get BETTER results than the usual, time consuming cardio routines.  The reason for this is that high intensity interval training programs engage a certain group of muscle fibers that you cannot engage through aerobic cardio, and engaging these muscle fibers cause a cascade of positive health benefits, including fat burning.  They will also boost your body’s natural production of HGH, which is a vital hormone that is key for physical strength,  health and longevity.  During these high intensity exercises you raise your heart rate up to your anaerobic threshold for 30 seconds, followed by a 90 second recovery period.  The cycle is then repeated 7 to 8 times.  With a three minute warm up, and a two minute cool down, you need only spend about 20 minutes on a treadmill, elliptical or recumbant bike.  This can also work on an outside track or trail.

Myth #2  Diet and Exercise are equal When It Comes To Losing Weight    Exercise is crucial for weight loss, but the foods you chose to eat are more important, and it is very easy to sabotage your exercise benefits with sugary foods and beverages, especially those that contain fructose.  This includes so-called “healthy” beverages like “vitamin water”, energy drinks, and similar types of sports and recovery drinks.  Fructose, which is hidden in virtually every processed food, tricks your body into gaining weight by fooling your metabolism, as it turns off your body’s appetite-control system.  Fructose does not appropriately stimulate insulin, which in turn does not surpress the “hunger” hormone called ghrelin and doesn’t stimulate leptin, the “satiety” hormone which together result in your eating more and developing insulin resistance.  Fructose also rapidly leads to weight gain and abdominal obesity, decreased HDL, increased LDL, elevated triglycerides, elevated blood sugar, and high blood pressure… classic metabolic syndrome.

Myth #3  It Doesn’t Matter What Time of Day You Exercise.  While any time exercising is better than no exercise at all, there are reasons to believe that exercising first thing in the morning may give you added benefits.  There are additional health benefits  to exercising before consuming your first meal of the day.  One recent study found that exercising before breakfast counteracts poor diet and helps with weight loss.  Your sympathetic nervous system (SNS) is activated by exercise and lack of food.  The combination of fasting and exercising maximizes the impact of cellular factors and catalysts, which force the breakdown of fat and glycogen for energy.  Training on an empty stomach will effectively force your body to burn fat.  I personally use this “intermittant fast” technique to maintain weight control.  I “fast” from early evening to mid day or later, trying for 16 hours before my first meal.  I do get my cell nutrition though a liquid supplement that supplies me with the equivalent antioxidants of 10 servings of fruits and vegetables first thing in the morning, but no solid food until noon or later.  I believe we can train our bodies (ghrelin) to wait until we are “body” hungry, not brain hungry.

Myth #4  Diet Foods Will Help You Lose Weight.  Eating lots of “diet” foods or “low fat” foods will not help you lose weight.  Diet foods typically have artificial sweetners, like Aspartame, which may have zero calories, but your body isn’t fooled.  When it gets a “sweet” taste, it expects calories to follow, and when this doesn’t occur it leads to distortions in your biochemistry that may actually lead to weight gain.  Your brain can tell the difference between a real sugar and an artificial one, even if your conscious mind cannot.  So when you consume artificial sweeteners, your body craves more of it and real sugar, because your brain is not satsfied at a cellular level by the sugar imposter.

Myth #5  You are Destined To Gain Weight as You Get Older.    Weight gain is not a rite of passage into your middle age years, but the problem for many is that weight gain is insidious.  It creeps up gradually as you become less active than you were in your 20s and 30s, and suddenly that  pound a year has added up to 10, 20 or more extra pounds as you head into your 40s, 50s, 60s or beyond.  Also, if you do not stay active you will lose muscle mass as you age, starting around age 40.  This loss of muscle means that you will burn fewer calories both when you are active and at rest, plus our body composition will shift to less muscle and more fat.   All you need to do to stay lean and fit well into our older years is to eat healthy and get moving.

I hope these myths can help you change your beliefs, or at least do your own research on how best to take charge of your health.  Since I own a Power Plate fitness studio, I am a huge fan of exercise.  The whole body vibration technology of Power Plate is helping my clients “experience the gain without the pain” of exercise.  However, we cannot make up for poor eating habits.  The good  news is that it is really not that difficult to get the proper nutrition your body needs every day, so if you exercise on a consistant basis you can have great health, no matter what age.

I hope you are having a happy and healthy 2012.  Paul

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