Sunday, October 18, 2015

11 Myths About Looking & Feeling Your Best

When you get to be my age, you pay attention to titles like the one above.  (I'm not telling you any more than that I won the 1957 Whitman, MA Little League batting championship, and my dad took me to see Rocket Richard's last game and Jacques Plante -- before and after he donned the first goalie mask.)  With that, I've saved the following notes from my friend (shown to the right), Mike Mahony's Fitness Expose website -- for myself, and to someday share with you...
I found it interesting that Mike mentioned right away about "myths infiltrating every area of life and bodybuilding."  Ya, I complain often about battling the same nonsense in hockey.  I mean, coaches who know the sciences can talk 'til they're blue in the face about the right way to do things, and it only takes one egghead to dig up a totally wrong old myth to screw up a whole generation.

That out of the way, at least for now, Mike promised in his blog post to destroy eleven of the myths having to do with us looking and feeling our best.

Oh, and while Mike might be talking to bodybuilders in his post, I'm here to tell you that every one of the following suggestions are relevant to your health and appearance, mine, and even our young athletes...
  1. At the top of his list is the notion that a high weight on the scale means we're fat.  Ha.  Actually, I've been telling family and friends for years that they ought to just ditch the bathroom scale -- or at least put it away for weeks (or months) at a time.  One reason why:  Muscle weighs more than fat, which means that we're likely to gain some weight as we workout and turn fat to muscle.
  2.  I don't know as much about nutrition as I should, but Mike is obviously right in shooting down the notion that one can't build muscle by eating veggies.  As he says, "In order to grow, muscles need three types of stimulus -- consistent weight training, calories and nutrients to support growth and recovery. Veggies have slow-digesting carbs, vitamins and minerals in them. Along with some lean protein, veggies are a major component towards building muscle."
  3. Along the same line of thinking, he dispels the idea that fruit has no place in a bodybuilder's diet.  And he goes on to suggest that, "Fruit, when eaten first thing in the morning, is actually very important to a bodybuilder’s diet. It helps to revive the metabolism after a night of sleep. It gives you the energy needed to complete your workouts (or in our case, to take on the challenges in our work and play).
  4. I actually touched base with Mike before I addressed this one, just to clarify something...  For sure, women do talk a lot about "toning", rather than building bulk.  That's not likely to happen, though, even if women undertake a fairly strenuous weightlifting program.  Women don't have the same chemical quantities as men, so getting as big as them isn't going to happen.  One thing I will add to this is that women who engage in strength training will be glad as they get older (and older and older -- see my ending comments).
  5. Yet another myth is that taking a long break will have muscle turning to fat.  No, what does happen often is that one may keep eating in the same way as when he or she was doing a lot of exercise, which tends to put on weight.  Of course, it would be great if we continued our workouts, but altering our food intake according to the amount of calories we're burning is the true answer to this one.
  6. Oh, boy, I'm all for this one, because I personally -- and long, long ago -- turned my back on the myth about salt being bad for us.  As Mike says, "You need salt to be healthy. When you are low on sodium your body holds on to it. You wind up getting bloated. Instead, give your body enough salt and eventually it will get good at letting it go."
  7. Yet another myth is the idea that you can't keep in great shape throughout the year.  Hmmmm...  Although Mike might have had something else in mind, I'm going to suggest that "thinking long term" is the answer.  In other words, weather and holidays may take their toll on a short term basis, but they're no big deal unless we quit exercising or watching our diet for a very long time.  Personally, I am going to have that slab of birthday cake when the time arises, and I might even have two.  I know I can make that up easily over a few days, if I have a mind to.
  8. All the trendy diets can make ones head spin.  However, forget the notion that carbs are bad for you.  Anything but.  Or, as Mike states, "Carbs fuel the intense workouts we go through" (and I'll suggest they fuel most everything else we do over the course of a day and night).
  9. LOL!!!  And no, lifting weights doesn't turn women into men.  Still, as if he has to go into any detail on this, Mike says, "If women aren’t supposed to have muscles, why do we have them? The definition of 'manly' differs from one individual to another, but we all have a different body structure. Some women have more feminine lines, others more androgynous. Wide hip bones and narrow shoulders are typical female shapes, but that doesn’t mean an athletic woman is less feminine. Our society forms our ideals; you choose what you find attractive."
  10. Mike also dispels the notion that we must avoid fats at all cost.  And he adds, "Fat is necessary to maintain a healthy level of hormones and to aid in our use of vitamins. Leave fat out of your diet and your hopes of being lean and muscular go with it."
  11. I'm not familiar with the phrases used in his last point.  However, Mike suggests that, "A refeed is a strategic meal aimed at replenishing things in your body. A cheat meal is more psychological, but has some physical benefits as well."  And that, as he points out, means that so-called "cheat meals" are not the same as "refeeds".
As a wrap-up here, I have to say that Mike deals with serious bodybuilders, and his piece was written especially for them.  At the same time, we're as in need of good advice as his followers, and we're as vulnerable to most of the above myths as they are. 

Then, ending as I began, let me remind my friends here that I'm likely quite a bit older than you.  And, I can tell you that I am unbelievably thankful for all the workouts I undertook as a younger guy -- as an athlete, and then maybe out of vanity.  I actually thank God every morning for the new day, and I'm amazed that I usually awake feeling the same as I did when I was 30, 40 and so on. 

I might further add that Brenda and I are staying with my aging mom as she endures some severe physical difficulties.  For the time being, then, we live in a retirement community where it's fairly easy to spot the results of folks who did and didn't take care of themselves at younger ages.  Worse yet, while I would never dare say never, many of them would have a hard time bouncing back from where they are now.

So, that's just a friendly warning, as well as a suggestion that you follow my buddy Mike over at Fitness Expose.  You can also read his article in its entirety at: