by Tony Gjokaj July 08, 2020 6 min read
One of the hardest answers I have to give people in fitness is "it depends". The reality is it all really depends.
Whether is a specific diet, exercise style, and more, it's dependent on the following:
There is more to nutrition than meets the eye. In this post, we are going to debunk 8 nutrition myths that we believe will make your diet easier to manage.
Our goal with this is to make you realize that if you "make a mistake", life goes on. There's always a chance to continue with your diet, and you shouldn't be ashamed of making one small mistake.
So with that, let's debunk these bad boys!
Protein has been demonized from time to time, easily said to cause kidney or liver problems. However, unless you have an underlying problem, protein is not necessarily bad.
Protein is a macronutrient that repairs and rebuilds cells. This is why it is desirable to have a moderate protein intake, especially when going through fat loss. When it comes to fat loss, our body will attempt to breakdown muscle as well. This is why we consume additional protein to retain as much muscle as we can.
Lastly, from personal experience, most people I have trained who diet for fat loss tend to have an incredibly low protein intake. This is probably why their energy levels are low, and they suffer from fatigue.
If you have no underlying issues, get your protein in! For more on protein, read our post here.
Carbohydrates always have a bad reputation, no matter what diet fad exists. This is mainly because carbohydrates are considered the "non-essential macronutrient". Our body typically turns our food into glucose (a carbohydrate).
While this may be true, carbohydrates are a direct source of our body's preferred energy. This is why marathon runners and sprinters use carbohydrates for longer-lasting energy.
With carbohydrates, you should consider the following:
To conclude, carbohydrates shouldn't be considered bad, as they have their place in nutrition. For more on carbohydrates (and even fats), check out this article here.
For years, sodium has received such a bad reputation, mainly because most prepackaged foods are loaded with sodium.
Here's the thing: moderation is key to anything.
Sodium is an electrolyte that helps muscle function and helps balance water in the body. Its bad reputation is primarily the result of overconsumption of sodium (and underconsumption of potassium) in the United States. Our bodies typically find it very difficult to get rid of excess consumption of sodium in the body, leading to high blood pressure.
On the other hand, too low of sodium can lead to various health problems that come with having too low of a blood pressure (heart problems and other consequences).
This study concludes that too much or too little sodium can be bad for you.
Dietary guidelines typically recommend 2,300mg (2.3g) of sodium daily. Athletes or active individuals may require more.
If you typically don't eat prepackaged goods, it is recommended to add a little salt or sauce to spice up your life (and diet). Sometimes, making your food taste better can help BOTH your body and your sanity.
Another one of my favorite myths is the "don't eat egg yolk" myth. While foods with high cholesterol can be bad for certain individuals, egg yolk in moderation isn't necessarily bad for you (if you eat a nutritious diet).
Our recommendation is to limit egg yolk to some extent (2-4 eggs if you're active won't be harmful), but you do not need to completely eliminate them (unless recommended by a doctor for heart and cholesterol health).
A great myth I love is to not eat past 9 pm "because your body will store it as fat". This myth is overexaggerating, as explained in this examine post. Since your body is in constant fasted or fed states, your body stores calories and expends calories no matter what part of the day... it doesn't discriminate.
Here are some things to consider:
From personal experience, I find myself getting sleepy when I eat a lot of carbs. Therefore, I tend to eat two small meals (morning and pre-workout/late afternoon) and two large meals (afternoon and before bed/post-workout).
Once I started eating carbs in the evening, my diet was significantly more enjoyable. In fact, there's an Instagram Hashtag that I follow called #carbsafterdark, and a lot of "flexible dieters" implement this strategy if carbs allow them to sleep well into the night.
This is my all-time favorite myth because this was so therapeutic on me mentally after I found out it was not true.
According to a controlled trial, the number of meals made no difference when calorie intake was the same. With that, you can argue that "stoking the metabolic flame" is a little overexaggerated.
We would recommend the following:
Personally, I eat four meals a day:
All in all, find what works best for you and stick with it consistently. You can also read our article on Flexible Nutrition here.
For some reason, we tend to think training fasted scorches fat. I could see why people think that: empty stomach = no calories to burn, only fat.
This isn't true.
Your body stores and digests food. It's in a constant state of growth and repair, burning, and consuming calories.
I think another reason why people believe this myth is the fact that fasted cardio has been shown to burn "stubborn fat". However, the get these benefits, you would have to be in a significantly lower body fat percentage. Physique competitors tend to utilize fasted cardio for this purpose.
Now while typically nutrients from food are better... sometimes they're not enough.
Supplements (when combined with specific foods) can provide synergistic benefits. Synergistic benefits allow nutrients to enhance the effects of one another. When people consume things like turmeric, it should be combined with black pepper extract to enhance its effects. This is best acquired through supplementation.
Another example is folate, which is found in most foods. The supplement, folic acid provides more bioavailability than regular folate (found in foods).
We like to view supplements as "gap-fillers" - if you don't get enough sunlight, consider Vitamin D. If your diet is lacking in iron or magnesium, make sure you get a multivitamin that covers these.
Sometimes supplementation will help people with deficiencies in their diets and lifestyle. You may not necessarily need to supplement, but it truly makes things easier.
We recommend taking care of your nutrition first before diving into supplement use - unless prescribed by a doctor or physician.
With these myths busted, we wanted to bring three practical points to your view:
Now that we have conquered these eight myths... do you have any questions or would like to add other myths?
Please feel free to comment, or email me at firstname.lastname@example.org. I'm here to help!
Until next time, Reforged Legion!
Tony is the Owner of Reforged Performance Nutrition. He is a PN1 Certified Nutrition Coach and has been in the fitness space for over a decade. His goal is to help bridge the gap between physical & mental health through fitness.
by Tony Gjokaj September 17, 2021 5 min read
When you're depressed, even when you're not expending a lot of energy... you don't feel like you have any energy to spare to begin with.
It can be aggravating to hear that you need to work out to boost your endorphins, (or whatever your friends say to you).
In reality, they aren't wrong... but how can you exercise if you can't even get out of bed?
Is there something wrong with us?
Absolutely not. This happens with depression.
The thing with depression is that your whole body may feel like it is against you... and it's very frustrating.
I've been there.
But I was forced to work out once I committed to it because of an accountability partner I had.
In this post, we are going to go over some ways that may help you get off the couch when your mind & body are against you.
by Tony Gjokaj September 13, 2021 2 min read
Hydration is paramount to your health and wellbeing.
When I worked my previous management job, I ran three rental car branches simultaneously at a time where one of the other managers was gone for over a month.
I would try to get my water in regularly, but the locations were incredibly busy. You would always find me at the front desk with customers swarming in.
This played a large part in my stress and I never knew it did until I found a way to actually get drink more water.
In this short post, we are going to go over why hydration is essential for mental health.
Let's dive in!
by Tony Gjokaj September 08, 2021 3 min read
When I was overweight, I was inactive, depressed, and had insomnia.
I would isolate myself from social interaction, which led me down a dark path where I contemplated suicide.
Eventually, fitness was my salvation, as physical activity led to me sleeping better, eating better, feeling better, and thinking better.
Prior to exercise, I was stuck in what was deemed an Inactivity Trap.
So in this post, we are going to go over an article that was written in 2009 with the same name, called "The Inactivity Trap". This article included studies that supported their claims from a psychological standpoint which intrigued me as well.
So let's dive into what the Inactivity Trap is.
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