Fitness Myth No. 4
“MACHINES SUCK FOR BUILDING MUSCLE.”
Just as lifting lighter weights can help you avoid injury, machines are a wise option when you’re injured. By forcing you to move the weight along a preset path of motion, machines stabilize the load for you, which can make training easier on your joints. This isn’t ideal for a beginner, who needs to activate his stabilizers to build strength, but intermediate lifters or those who need substitutions for certain exercises shouldn’t write off machines.
Meadows points out that machines allow you to use techniques that take your muscles to failure, such as dropsets (where you perform a set, reduce the load quickly, and continue pumping out reps), with little risk of getting hurt.
Furthermore, “machines can be more effective than free weights, depending on your body type,” says Meadows. If you’re tall, squatting may not build your legs as well as leg presses.
Fitness Myth No. 5
“BREAKFAST IS THE MOST IMPORTANT MEAL OF THE DAY.”
“It’s a common argument that eating breakfast stabilizes your blood sugar for the rest of the day,” says Alvino. “But the reality is that when you get up in the morning, your blood sugar is already stable from the fast you had overnight. That’s why if you’re getting blood work done, [your doctor asks] you to come in fasted, first thing in the morning. Ingesting food will only raise blood sugar.”
But doesn’t breakfast help us lose weight? Well, a 2011 study in the journal Obesity indicates dinner might be more beneficial. Subjects who ate most of their carbs at dinner for six months lost more weight, abdominal circumference, and body fat than a control group following a more conventional diet. The big-dinner eaters also controlled hunger better throughout the day.
However, if you enjoy breakfast, or feel starved in the morning, Alvino says you can feel free to keep eating it—again, it’s the number of calories you consume over time that determines weight loss or gain, not the exact timing of them. “Another reason people eat breakfast is their mom told them it’s the most important meal of the day,” says Alvino. “But when I look around, most mothers I see are obese. So if you want to get lean, why would you take advice from someone like that?”
Food for thought.