MYTH #1:- Sleep isn’t that important
Many people work long hours and cut down on their sleep to make extra time for themselves at night. While I totally understand this and have done it many times myself, it’s not a good habit to get into (and don’t think that you can just “make up” the lost sleep by sleeping in on the weekends—it takes more additional sleep than you might think to handle your “sleep debts”).
Not getting enough sleep has been scientifically linked to many health and performance problems, such as obesity, depression, memory loss, fatigue, and an inability to concentrate. You see, when your body is asleep, it’s very busy repairing tissue and producing hormones (the majority of growth hormone is created during sleep). These functions are especially important to an athlete who is subjecting his or her body to increased levels of stress every day through exercise. Scientific studies have shown that adults should sleep 6 –12 hours per night. Oh and don’t worry about the whole “before or after midnight” thing. There is no scientific evidence that sleep hours after midnight are less beneficial than those before midnight, or that you should get to bed before midnight for proper sleep.
MYTH #2:- Protein bars are a
I’ll admit that most protein bars are better snacks than Snickers bars, but that’s not saying much. The problem with most protein bars is they contain a large number of junk carbs, such as sugar and high fructose corn syrup, and not much protein. Also, you never quite know what you’re getting in terms of nutritional content. Over the years, many supplement companies have been busted for lying about the actual amount of protein in their powders and other products (some were even “cutting” their powders with flour!). If you simply can’t get to some whole food, or at least a shake and piece of fruit, then do a protein bar—it’s better than missing a meal. And try to pick one that is made from actual foods such as oats and nuts, and that has whey protein. But don’t rely on protein bars regularly
MYTH #3:- Creatine is hard on the
There’s no science behind this claim. As long as you’re generally healthy and are willing to stay well-hydrated throughout the day, there’s no reason why you shouldn’t supplement with creatine. It’s a naturally occurring substance that is found in red meat, and it increases the amount of energy that is available to the cells. This has resulted in a 5 – 10% increase in strength in studies of athletes. This improved strength leads to heavier lifting, which, in turn, leads to more muscle growth (nutrition and recovery permitting). Creatine also helps with muscle recovery, enabling you to train harder and more often. Its safety and effectiveness have been confirmed by hundreds of medical studies, so it’s one of the few valuable supplements that you can buy at your local GNC. If you have a pre-existing kidney condition, however, consult your physician before taking creatine.
MYTH #4:- Fat burners get you
Most fat burners are more or less the same. The common ingredients are caffeine, green tea, B-vitamins, yohimbine, taurine, and guarana. While they do speed up your metabolism, it’s not by much—you can expect a 3 – 5% increase in your metabolic rate from an effective fat burner. To put this into perspective, a 200 lb male body burns about 2,100 calories in a day with no physical activity whatsoever (known as your Basal Metabolic Rate, or BMR). A good fat burner would bump this up a mere 100 calories or so—very negligible when you consider the fact that a pound of fat has about 3,500 calories. A bigger benefit of fat burners is the appetite suppression effect and the energy kick. These effects are very welcome when you’re on an extremely strict diet and you need to get in a daily workout. Remember that weight loss requires a daily calorie deficit—there’s just no getting around it. Fat burners can help a little, but they will never burn the fat away.
MYTH #5:- Meal timing doesn’t
Many people think that when they eat isn’t important. They believe that as long as they eat the right number of calories and the proper amounts of protein, carbs, and fats by the end of the day, they’ll be able to build muscle or lose fat. While it’s true that if you eat too much you’ll be unable to lose fat and if you eat too little you’ll be unable to build muscle, meal timing is very important. That is when you eat what matters a great deal. Probably the worst thing you can do, whether you’re trying to lose fat or build muscle, is to miss meals and go for 5 – 7 hours without food. By making your body go for many hours without food, you cause it to break down muscle for energy. Here are the basics of proper meal timing:
1. You should eat 4 – 6 meals per day, starting with a meal directly after you wake up in the morning. You should be eating every 3 – 4 hours, as studies have shown that the body’s anabolic response to protein lasts for about five hours.
2. You should eat protein with every meal to ensure there are always adequate amino acids in the bloodstream available for tissue repair.
3. You should eat 10 – 15% of your daily carbs before training, and 30 – 40% after, because these are the times when your body can best utilize them.
4. Never miss meals. Plan ahead each day so you can eat every 3 – 4 hours. Remember that a “meal” can be nothing more than a scoop of protein powder in water and an apple. By following these four simple steps, you can prime your body for optimal muscle growth and fat loss.