Written by Zoe Knight
Last week we differentiated between what it means to know a fact, and what it means to understand a fact (if you missed the article, you can read it HERE)
What’s up with the industry?
Because the fitness industry is saturated with trainers and coaches who more often than not only know information without understanding it, it has resulted in an alarming number of harmful methods and advice, incorrect facts, and dangerous training and nutrition plans being created and implemented. Short of educating yourself on biology, biochemistry, exercise science and physiology, how are you to know what’s good, what’s bad, and what will work for you?
Well lucky for you, OBF are here to blow the cover on some ‘healthy habits’ and ‘advice’ that are more than likely getting you further away from your goal of optimal health, than towards it. The reason we can do that? Is because we understand.
The first cliché we want to nip in the bud is the ‘Eat Less and Move More’ mentality according to the Fitness industry publications.
This stems from the well-known equation ‘Calories in vs. Calories out’. The rule being that as long as you burn more calories than you consume, then you will lose weight. In general, it is necessary to find a balance between calorie consumption and calorie expenditure, but there is so much more to this equation than simple mathematics.
Firstly, it is impossible to correctly calculate all calories. Calories are a unit of measurement with 1 calorie being the energy it requires to heat 1 gram of water by 1°C. This was determined by a device called a bomb calorimeter, which would burn food and the amount by which it heated the water, determined it’s amount of energy. The problem with this? Is that we don’t burn food – we metabolize it. And the amount of energy we use to metabolize food is impossible to measure. As is the amount of calories we need, and the amount of calories that we consume. Studies have shown that the amount of calories between the same foods vary drastically, and there can be up to a 20% variance when it comes to the accuracy of the calories stated on the label.
Secondly, even if you could correctly calculate the calories you need, the calories you consume and the calories you burn, not all calories are created equally. Food has so much more of an effect on us than just heat. The types of food we eat determine what nutrients and minerals we obtain, and what nutrients and minerals we obtain determines which biochemical processes are able to optimally take place.
Doing everything right with no positive return?
Now if you have been watching your diet and you have been exercising, and you are not getting the results you expected, or as quickly as you expected, you (or your coach) would be inclined to increase your activity levels and decrease your calories. Because logically, that makes sense to you right? Well it only makes sense if you do not understand how the metabolism works and the effect that training has on you at a level deeper than your appearance. Under-eating and overtraining (especially in the form of excessive cardio) can really cause damage to your metabolism and effect the process of nutrient absorption. However to lose weight, we want these processes running efficiently, optimally and therefore in our favour. We want the foods we eat to be nutrient dense and we want to be able to absorb the nutrients so our bodies get everything they need to function well – and that means to be able to burn fat and increase muscle mass! What you eat matters more than the amount you eat. So focus on nourishing your body with nutrient rich foods, whole foods, and a variety of foods. Eat when you’re hungry, stop when you’re full, stay hydrated, and leave the counting to the mathematicians.
Some of the best tools are often unused in the Fitness industry
Rest, recovery and stress management are also very important aspects when trying to lose fat or tone up. If you are overtraining, you are not allowing your body to do any of these things so you’re already depriving your body of what it needs to work well – regardless of how many more calories you are burning in comparison to the amount that you are consuming. Increasing activity and decreasing your energy source if you are in a stressed state is just a recipe for disaster. When you think about it, you burn more calories throughout the 23 hours of the day that you aren’t working out, as opposed to the 1 hour that you are. So it makes sense to find a way to increase the fat burning pathways when at rest. Use your workouts and food as a catalyst to turn your body into a fat burning machine, and the only way to do that, is to give it everything it needs to work in the Fitness industry optimally.
Ignorance is sometimes bliss. But when it comes to a topic as serious as your health and your body, it’s pretty important to arm yourself with as much applicable and correct knowledge that you can!
Contact OBF Gyms for a complimentary assessment to get started with one of our trainers today!