Tuesday, October 19, 2010

The baap of all Myths!

Weight loss, still a hot topic of discussion and bonding between friends, strangers, cannot be complete without discussing this myth!! Also a favourite for the ad commercials dealing with exercise related products, this has been exploited to the hilt!
And thanks to our natural, god-gifted tendency to accumulate fat around the central region, this myth is one of the most popular, ever since man existed, if I may exaggerate a little!!!!
Doing Crunches or using the "Ab machine" will get rid of fat around the belly.
The truth is that, firstly – spot reduction is not naturally possible. The body always loses fat, globally, not locally! Can you imagine a person, who has a six-pack abs, but excessively fat on the chest or the hips!! Any claims to spot reduce are also a farce, and may be temporarily effective, but will fail over a long term!
And secondly – crunches are a strengthening exercise, whereby they will tone and strengthen the muscles of the abdomen – the rectus and transverses abdominus and the obliques – and since fat cannot be toned, its really of not much use, to tone the underlying muscles, if the fat covering them is not taken care of first!
And thirdly, excessive belly fat, puts excessive pressure on the lower back muscles to maintain the posture. Thus, if the technique and body form, used while doing the abs exercises are not correct, then the already shortened lower back muscles may strain/pull, thereby causing lower-back problems, where none existed earlier!
Belly fat can be burned only by a combination of diet and cardio exercise, since only cardio exercises target the fat reserves in the body, as has been discussed before. For optimum and faster results, it is wise to combine strength training of the whole body, since that will boost the intrinsic metabolism, thereby aiding the process of fat and weight loss. Interval training is also a good option, with alternate bouts of cardio and strength training, of varying intensities.

Discussing some of our favourite myths, including those about spot reductions and doing infinite rounds of abs exercises to lose central fat, here is one of the latest trends, almost becoming a myth – upping your protein intake (only) helps you lose weight, thanks to the high-protein diets and the very-high protein diets and more!

While, the role of upping protein intake in weight loss is definitely worth considering, and for some, debatable, merely upping your protein intake, without complementing it with the right exercises is again asking for trouble!

Proteins are the building blocks of our body, and make up muscles, hormones and most other chemicals in the body. The rationale, behind these diets being that they boost your metabolism and help in the natural repair mechanism and some more, a high protein intake could actually impact negatively, since the body cannot store protein, as itself. The body may store all the extra protein calories by converting them into fat stores. Ideally the body needs 1g to 1.3g of protein intake, per kg body weight.

Though it is usually advised when a person is into moderate to heavy weight training, since the requirement and the wear-and-tear is higher, it is of not much use, if you do cardio exercises mostly, and then opt for protein supplements or high protein diets, especially in the case of females!
And consuming additional protein, when not into any physical activity is absolutely a bad option, unless the protein intake is for other health related issues, like PCOD etc.

A high protein diet may actually make you gain weight (if not supported by weight training), for reasons mentioned above. It may cause dehydration, unless accompanied with additional water intake, and can also affect the digestive system leading to issues like flatulence, kidney problems etc.

What also matters is the quality of protein consumed – measured traditionally in terms of the biological value – where egg has the highest biological value. Most of the animal sources have high biological values. Soy – which is a plant source, has a lower biological value, and moreover does not suit everyone.

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