stick man liftingSo many people fall victim to fitness myths. Sometimes it is by ignorance, but most times it is dictated by stubbornness. Ignorance I can accept. What I cannot accept is someone who repeatedly does the same thing even when a professional tells them that their ideas are flawed. Avoid stubbornness and educate yourself. To help you, here are the most annoyingly persistent fitness myths I hear on a daily basis.

It is Bad to Eat After 6 PM

There are so many times that I am asked, “Justin, if my workout ends at 6:30 what do I do?” My answer is always, “Eat whatever you would normally eat post workout.” I then get this dumbfounded look followed by, “But if it’s after 6 PM won’t I get fat?” I then respond by giving them the same dumbfounded look they just gave me.

You have to realize your body doesn’t know what time it is, but your body does know stress (workout) and recovery. So fuel yourself if it is needed.

The time of day should never dictate what, and when you eat. you should only eat out of nutritional need. If you didn’t get enough calories throughout the day it is fine to eat as late as you would like.

Also, as you sleep your body is in a fasting state, so during this time you are not taking in any calories. This situation really isn’t optimal to begin with, and to exacerbate the situation by not eating for 6+ hours before bed is just making this issue worse.

Carbs Make You Fat

When people say this it tells me they have no idea how the body works. Carbohydrates are the body’s immediate fuel source. This includes activities like weight lifting, sprinting, or any other short duration activity. Carbohydrates are also the number one fuel for brain function.

The body stores carbohydrates as glycogen in both the muscle and the liver. It is proven that when someone doesn’t eat carbohydrates, the body converts both muscle and fat into energy. This allows the body to function without carbohydrates, but it diminishes the efficiency of the body. The body becomes less efficient because it needs to go through the process of converting fat and protein into energy. This process is far from ideal as the body tries to compensate for a lack of readily available, immediate energy. This kind of diet can also cause muscle atrophy, especially for people who do not weight train. This will decrease a person’s metabolism over time.

No carb diets also hinder your ability to make progress. Productivity will inevitably drop off when following a no carb diet. This means workouts with less intensity, less stress, and a lack of gains.

This isn’t to say that there aren’t benefits to manipulating carbohydrate intake. Someone who has a bit more experience can manipulate his or her carbohydrate intake, but to do this you have to know your body and this only comes with experience. But for most people, following a no carb diet for any length of time is a recipe for desaster.

Plus carbs don’t make you fat. In activity and eating too many calories do.

Lifting Light Weights Makes You”Cut”

“I don’t want to get too big, so I just lift light weights to get cut.” Ugggggghhhhhhh. That’s the noise I make when I hear someone say this.

I feel many people use this as an excuse to avoid lifting heavy weights. You need to lift relatively heavy to maximize your results. That isn’t to say that you should sacrifice form for weight, but you need to use a weight that forces you to work.

Also, muscles grow to adapt to stress. If you are using a light weight and are not stressing the muscle it simply won’t grow. Because of this, using light weights that you can throw around for more than 15 reps is a complete waste of time.

Lastly, lifting weights doesn’t make you cut. Controlling your diet and losing body fat makes you cut. People become “cut” by reducing the fat that lays over top of the muscle.

You can’t work a muscle to make it grow “cut”. The shape of your muscles is almost entirely genetic, but the size of those muscles is in your control… What will you do with that control?