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Publication: Diet Buddy
Fitness Myths!

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         Diet Buddy - Monday, September 11, 2006


Hello there Buddies:

I hope everyone had an enjoyable weekend.  It's always 
entertaining to get together with family and friends and  
enjoy the last of the outdoors.  We had a great BBQ this 
past weekend along with beautiful weather, which is
 something I always miss as the weather starts turning 
cooler.....but then again I've been known to BBQ in the 
winter.  Of course outdoor activities can still be done to 
the end of October, if not into November, providing Mother 
Nature is being kind.

When it comes to exercise, I'm sure we all have a certain 
mindset regarding how different types of physcial activities 
effect us.  Walking will burn extra calories and is more 
aerobic, while weight lifting will build muscle and is more 
for strength training.  

But do we really know and understand the kind of information 
we're receiving from different sources like the media, 
magazines, or the fitness industry?  Do we have certain 
information already embedded in our brain from days gone by 
we automatically think is correct, because we've heard it 
for so long?

Sometimes it's hard to judge what is truth and what is 
actually a myth, and many of us don't even question some 
things anymore, myself included, only to discover that some 
information we've been led to believe over the years may 
actually just be here say, and untrue.

Today we'll explore some outdated beliefs that have even 
myself, (a diet and fitness counselor) questioning what is 
truth or fiction?  Let's take a look at some fitness myths 
that we've all thought to be the gospel truth, and set the 
record straight once and for all. (from 35 fitness experts 
and industry leaders that were polled):

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MYTH - "Before I work out, I should stretch to help prevent 
A 2004 literature review by the Centers of Disease Control 
and Prevention confirmed what many studies had shown.  
Stretching will not prevent injuries.  Moreover, stretching 
is not a warm-up.  You're better off performing the exercise 
you're about to do at a much slower intensity for about 10 
minutes - walking or jogging slowly before you run; gently 
swinging the club before a game of golf.
"There's actually not much data on the benefits of 
stretching, although it's like God, mother and apple pie - 
everyone is for it," says Dr Carl Foster, President of the 
American College of Sports Medicine.

MYTH - "I don't want to bulk up, so I'm going to use really 
light weights."
This is probably one of the few myths prevalant in 1986 that 
persists today.  "More people are realizing they need weight 
work, but they still hesitate to challenge themselves," says 
Nancy Kouris, manager of World Gym in Hampton Bays, New 
York.  "They just count to 10 reps and stop, not causing a 
stimulus, not causing an adaption, so...no or minimul gain."
A 2004 study at Grand Valley State University in Allendale 
Michigan, confirmed this as well; it showed that beginners 
tend to choose weights that are too light to achieve any 

MYTH - "In order to get in shape, I need to join a gym."
Today's gyms offer a greater menu of activities and more 
varied forms of exercise equipment than they did 20 years 
ago, but you don't need to join one to get in shape.  "Your
muscles do not know whether or not they are walking on a 
treadmill, walking in a mall, walking on the street or 
playing with your grandchildren in the park," says Steve 
Blair, director of the Cooper Institute for Aerobics 
Research in Dallas.  "Going to the gym is great for those 
who like to go and fit it into their schedule, but it is not 
a requirement.  Take your activity where you can get it!"

MYTH - "I don't want to get big, I just want to tone."
As with the previous myth, embedded within are two 
falsehoods: First, that most women are capable of extreme 
muscle hypertrophy or growth (they're not); second, that 
muscles can be "toned" (they can't).  "A muscle can only 
increase or decrease in size and strength," says personal 
trainer Bob Phillips of "It can't tone.  When people say I 
want to get "toned" they usually mean 'I want to see more 
muscular definition,' and that's more of a byproduct of 
their body fat percentage than of the size of their muscles."
So to really "tone up," you need to lose body fat; and for 
most people that's more efficiently achieved by aerobic 
exercise and dietary modification, as well as resistance 

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MYTH - "I'm a guy...I can't do yoga!"
Men for the most part, quake in their cross-trainers at the 
very prospect of entering the yoga studio.  "One thing I 
hear a lot is, 'I'm not flexible enough; I can't do it,' 
says John Capouya, author of Real Men Do Yoga.  "That's like
saying. 'I can't lift weights...I'm not strong enough.' "You
start at whatever level of capability you're at, and you get
better by doing it...that's the point."  Capouya, a serious 
recreational basketball player, says that his own yoga 
practice was a net gain.  "Yoga gives you greater awareness 
of your body in motion and better body control, which also 
gives you another kind of edge in all kinds of sports."

MYTH - "Weight lifting will keep me burning calories all 
The so-called "hot body" theory holds that lifting weights 
will enable you to, as one fitness website puts it, "rev up 
your metabolism and burn calories even when you're sitting."
Enticing, but not really true: "Generally, within two hours 
of exercise, your caloric expenditure is back to normal, 
says Dr Bob Otto, director of Adelphi University's human 
performance lab in Garden City, New York.  Besides, he 
notes, "You're talking about 50-60 calories per hour, at 
best."  That's far less efficient than simply going for a 
brisk walk, which burns about 300 calories per hour.
"That's no reaon to put away the bar-bells however."  
Sedentary people tend to lose at least one third of their 
muscle from age 30 to 70," says Liz Neporent, co-author 
(with Suzanne Schlosberg) of the Fat Free Truth.  
"Consistent weight training can offset much of that 

MYTH - "Running?  That ruins your knees!"
While running experienced a new growth spurt in the past 
decade, many, including some physicians, recommend against 
it, citing the alleged strain on your knees.  "There's 
absolutely no evidence that running causes knee 
osteoarthritis, and there's some evidence that it doesn't", 
says Amy Burfooot, the executive editor of Runner's World, 
who studied the scientific research on the relationship of 
knee injuries to running for a recent article in the 
magazine.  Provided that you don't run excessive mileage (a 
number of studies have shown 40 or more miles per week as a 
sort of injury 'threshold') and wear proper shoes, you 
shouldn't have a problem pursuing what recent evolutionary 
research suggests is the activity humans have been 
programmed to do for millenia.

MYTH - "Train, don't strain."
Developed as a rejoinder to the "No pain, no gain" mantra of 
the 1980s, there is truth to this statement: Beginners 
should not push beyond the point of pain; and severe pain is 
a good reason for anyone to stop.  However, this "easy does 
it" philosophy can be, well, overdone.  As a casual glance 
around the gym will tell you, there are many people who put 
little more effort into their workouts then they do into the 
lifting of their pre-dinner martini glasses.  "The term 
'strain' is misleading," says personal trainer Larry 
Indiviglia of Island Fitness in San Diego.  "There has to be 
a certain  level of discomfort...a controlled push, if you 
will...that one must tolerate in order to improve."
In other words, you still have to put in some effort.  
That's why they call it "exercise" - and that's no myth.

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So, are we smarter about exercise than we were 10 or 20 
years ago?  Dr Michael Yessis says "read any magazine or 
newspaper that deals with exercise and fitness, and you can 
find errors and unsubstantial statements."

Hopefully the above information will help clear up some 
confusion that has been around for years.  Many times we 
tend to automatically believe what people tell us or what we 
read, even though it may have no truth to it at all.  
Everyone seems to have their own viewpoint as to what works 
for them and what doesn't, so you be the judge!  I don't 
believe anything is written in stone, so whatever works, or 
you think works for you, do it!

Question of the week:

Can I burn more calories by exercising on an empty stomach?

No!  Exercising hugry won't spur weight loss or help you 
burn more calories, says Tracey Olgeaty Gensler, M.S. R.D., 
co-author of the Anti-Aging Fitness Prescription.  Even 
worse, says Gensler, by not fueling up first, you risk 
getting tired during your workout, and the fatigue may 
prevent you from exercising as long or as intensely as you 
normally would, meaning that you'll burn fewer calories.

The best solution:

Try eating something like yogurt or an energy bar before 
exercising.  Preferably food that contains both 
carbohydrates and protein.

Tips To Refresh Your Routine:

-  Think of seven fun activities you want to try - hiking, 
   in-line skating, etc.  Write them on strips of paper,  
   then put them in a "workout jar".  Once a week, draw one 
   out of the jar and schedule a day to try your new 

-  Use the 10-minute rule.  Short bouts of exercise can add 
   up and get you motivated.  Try jumping jacks in the a.m. 
   or lifing weights while you watch TV.

-  Reward yourself.  If you've been eyeing a new exercise 
   top or a new iPod nano, give yourself one credit for 
   each workout.  When you get to 10, hit the store!

Did You Know ???

That you can "jumpstart your workout with honey?  A recent 
study of competitive bicyclists showed that honey gives you 
as big an energy jolt as glucose, the sugar used in sports 
gels and energy bars.  Both honey and glucose boosted the 
bike riders leg power and cut the time it took them to 
finish their race.  Honey though, has the added advantage 
of being much cheaper.  A post-workout spoonful appears to 
also help your muscles recuperate.  That's because honey is 
a great source of carbohydrates, and your body needs them 
to replace the ones you burned."

Have a great week everyone !!!

Check out our new Diet Buddy Forum, and share your diet ups 
and downs with fellow Diet Buddies at: 

Disclaimer:  Since I am not a medical professional, any 
statements in this column are strictly based on research I 
have done and should not be misconstrued as medical advice.

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