Studies say this and studies say that. Every day it seems as though we’re bombarded with a new philosophy on eating healthy, training more effectively and achieving the dream body. To stop everyone from wasting their time, we’ve consulted with celebrity personal trainer Jay Cardiello for his top five picks of fitness myths you shouldn’t pay any attention to.
Carbs are the enemy
"Forget, Atkins, carbs are all about timing," says Cardiello. Carbohydrates are the body's first source of energy, especially for a hardworking and active body. Completely neglecting carbs will leave you tired, sluggish and hinder your performance. Cardiello recommends being conscious of your carb consumption rather than ignoring them altogether. "The best time to ingest carbs is at breakfast and after a workout," he says. Whole wheat toast, two eggs and salsa is his zesty go-to breakfast. After the gym, strawberries and fruit make a great addition to a post-workout shake.
Only morning workouts are effective
"The American Council on Exercise recommends working out between 4-6 PM when your body temperature is highest making your workouts more productive. But that's not an ironclad rule," Cardiello says. Successful workout routines are built around consistency, focus and intensity. "Some people can't get motivated in the morning and others are too burned out after work. So pick a time that's right for you," he recommends.
Protect your back with a weight belt
Weight belts are more than a fad, they’ve become a staple and in many gyms as well as for Home Depot employees worldwide. "I recommend that you don't train with a weight belt, or wear one while performing manual labor. Over time, regular training in a weight belt actually weakens your abdominal and lower-back muscles," Cardiello says. However, he does believe there is a place for weight belts. "Wear it only when attempting maximal lifts in such exercises as squats, deadlifts and overhead presses," he says.
Water sucks, sports drinks are better
Sports drink companies challenge the importance of water to market “enhanced” performance drinks at your expense. "Studies have shown water is one of the best tools for weight loss, acting as a great appetite suppressant. When we think we’re hungry, we’re actually just thirsty," Cardiello says. He also notes, “Drinking a good amount of water could lower your risk of a heart attack. What sports drink can say that?” If you’re tired and sluggish, lack of water could be the culprit. "Being dehydrated can sap your energy levels, even mild dehydration of as little as one to two percent of your body weight."
Extra protein builds more muscle
"Protein does have important roles in bodybuilding and maintaining muscles. However, excess amounts of it can be stored as fat," Cardiello says. A good general rule to go by is that any calorie-containing nutrient can be stored as fat if too much is eaten. Consuming the amount of protein the body needs will be as effective as it gets. "If you want to know how much protein you need for your specific weight, just multiply your weight in pounds by 0.36, or your weight in kilograms by 0.8," he says.