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Tuesday, 20 March 2012

Promising the earth?

 They promised you'd be stunned by the results!

Today I'm going to talk about people making promises.  To be more precise I'm going to talk about coaches, trainers & nutritional advisers making you promises.  Here's a few of the sort of claims I see:

Lose 25 pounds in 10 days
Add 2 inches to your arms in 28 days
Eat this food & get the strength of a superman
You will make PRs (personal records) every time you are in the gym
This training will suit everyone
This diet will suit everyone
One simple trick that will give you the body of a bodybuilder
This product gives you "steroid like" results
The 'secret' is finally revealed here

I haven't covered them all of them by any means, but you get the idea.  I see it all the time in the magazines, on the internet.  I even get emails about it.  It might be a supplement that it supposed to work like a steroid, a diet that is supposed to be a guaranteed method to loss 'x' amount of bodyweight (often it's not fat, but bodyweight that goes when a person diets).  I can tell you now, before you even email me.  I can say with 99% certainty that if you have just read a claim & it seems amazing, say 2 inches on your arms in 10 days, then it is a lie!  That's right, I am not saying they are mistaken, nor are they just uninformed (although it is possible they could be both), but whether knowingly or not these people are lying to you!  That fantastic diet that loses you 50 pounds of fat in a month - no it doesn't!  You may get 50 pounds lighter in a month if you are very large...but if you crash diet like that the chances are that you lose a load of water weight & more muscle than fat, you could well also develop hanging folds of loose skin if you shrink quickly enough.  In truth you will not look how you wanted to - it is a lie!
There are a couple of things that work 'like steroids', one is steroids, two is related products like growth hormone, SARMS & other drugs & lastly pro-hormones which are designer steroids really.  If you hear about an amino acid that works like a steroid it's a lie.
Diet pills are pointless.  Some pills that had 'speed' in them did make you lose your appetite & there are a few related pills that do the same, but all of these are very addictive & you end up like Lemme (who when he was in the band hawkwind got the name motorhead due to the amount of speed he ingested!) , all fat burners are useless except for maybe the competitive bodybuilder to help with the very last % of their diet.  Again, for the average person this is again a lie.

 PR every session - not that likely really is it?

No human can set a PR every session for very long.  If you could why do you think there isn't a 2,000 pound deadlift yet?  All you'd need to do is lift often enough, setting a PR each time & 2,000 pounds is only a few years of training away, right?....Think about it, a persons strength varies day by day.  Have you noticed that some times you can do a lot & others you can't do much at all.  Of course you have, stress, hormones, life & illness all play a part in the amount of strength you can display on the day.  Also the mental aspect & the focus you can develop also affect the lift, so forget a PR everyday.  I'd say that after you pass the beginner stage 60-80% of you workouts are actually 'punching the clock', simply going in & getting it done, you then have 10% or so of exceptional workouts (the PR-type days) & 10% or so of rubbish workouts (just grind it out as best you can).  Unless they explain points like that then they really don't know what they are talking about & should be avoided.  Also think about the following statement in terms of strength "Beside every peak there are 2 valleys".  This means that you start off below your maximum, you work up to a maximum lift for that cycle, then you back off again (if you don't your body will soon make you!), so build this in to your training, if PRs are your goal start well below your maximum, take anything up to 12-16 weeks to hit a peak & then back off to a much lower weight (maybe do a week or 2 of 'pumping'), if you want to repeat simply start at a slightly higher amount that you started last time & then repeat using a small % higher than the last cycle.  You could also do undulating cycles that go for 3 or 4 weeks & ease their way up to a peak.  This works pretty well for intermediate lifters as they are still some way off their genetic peak.  For beginners a linear 'just add weight every week & change stuff if you get bored' works pretty well.
Next there is the claims that one particular form of diet will allow you to achieve almost magical results.  Again, this is a lie.  There are general rules.  Eat a lot of fresh fruit & vegetables, vary the foods you eat as much as possible.  Eat enough calories for your goals.  These are all general rules you can apply, but claiming that a particular diet will work for every situation is a lie.  These diets are usually touted by a guru of some kind - they are most often spotted by having the name of a person, but not always.  Often if you say "But what about the marathon runner & the powerlifter?" they answer something like "It's just the amounts they eat, not the foods they choose" & this is the lie.  A powerlifter will actually very often make different food choices to a marathon runner.   Not only that, but a dieting bodybuilder can have a different diet to another dieting bodybuilder (as you get people who are what I call fat-sensitive & others that are more carb-sensitive), so even trying to do the same thing often means a different diet.  Also some people are sensitive to certain foods & so need to avoid them (thereby changing the diet again), people have different metabolisms - we don't hear 'gurus' talking about this much, but metabolism isn't just 'how many calories you burn', but everyone uses different amounts of carbs, proteins & fats.  Think about that for a second, if you & me both need 2,000 cal everyday I may need more protein than you & you may need more fat.  Also training & the type of training can change things up even more!  One diet won't even work for a single person throughout their lives, as they age, train differently, develop different goals etc.  So, the diet for all people, sadly does not exist.  If lower fat works for you, then great, if it's lower carbs great, if it's very high amounts of raw vegetables then wonderful, if it's plenty of whole foods then marvellous.  I don't usually think that junk food has any place in a diet.  Sure you can add in cheat meals if there is something you enjoy, but this is not vital.  For dieters you do need to have 'strategic refeeds', but this can be healthy foods with high calories if you prefer, but having the odd bit of junk won't hurt you too much unless you are contest dieting for a bodybuilding show or similar event where tight control has to be kept on your diet.  So, do not become a slave to any narrow dietary view.  Note here, that I am NOT saying do not use them if they work for you!  If they work feel free to use them, but do not become a disciple.  Be aware of other options & if the method you are using stops working, feel free to try another one for a while & see how that works.  You should feel ok about slipping from one eating style to another if it fits your goals better.  There are dozens, possibly hundreds of different styles of eating that will fit your life as a vegan, but can vary the amounts, types & methods of preparation.  You can even mix & match a few versions & see if that works for you?  Basically if you stick to mainly whole foods, have fruits & veggies everyday, then you really won't go too far wrong.  For example I am a fan of beans.  They may not suit everybody as some people lack the enzyme to digest them without excessive gas, you could use digestive enzymes they might help, or you might find something like a tofu works better than a less processed beans, or you might focus more on seeds & grains for example.  I like kale, you might not care to even sniff it as you hate it so much.  We all need to find the diets we enjoy most that will also get us to our goals.  There are so many variations in possible diet even within the context of a vegan lifestyle that I suspect that nearly every person could find a diet they enjoyed & got them to their goals if they just looked around enough.
3 months to get this body...I don't think so!
So, use common sense when you read adverts, or see claims that seen too good to be true...they are!  Even if something appears to work for you, that does not make it universally the correct thing to do, so many gurus fall into this trap, yes, it may work for you, but it may not work for me.  When you work with anyone whether it is training or diet they are all individuals & what someone can do, someone else cannot, what works for one, will not work for another.  This is true in all facets of training & diet.  That is one reason I prefer to explain why I do things to people, so they can become their own trainers.  Yes, you can hire trainers, I think sometimes that is a good idea, but the 'final' trainer has to be you.  If you are working out & something hurts, stop & tell them, if they say push on through he pain find another trainer (I'm not talking lactate build up or anything like that, I mean pain of injury), if you start a diet & food x causes you issues, then drop food x.  So, what if it's a super food that will guarantee your results, if it makes you sick to your stomach then dump it (& if the nutritional adviser says otherwise find another one of those as well).

Don't become a slave to one dietary idea, however healthy it appears

Hopefully reading this some of you will rethink some of your fixed ideas about diet & training.  Again, I'm not saying you have to change anything, just accept that if you meet a person who swears the avocado diet works for them, then it just might work for them, even if you follow a low fat diet & have been getting good results.  The same with training.  If you are a HIT jedi (does anyone still call themselves that or am I painfully behind the times?), this does not mean that someone doing the German volume system & getting the results they want are wrong, it just means you may be different.
 Some basic ideas can be used as a start for most 
people to plan their diet & training, don't become a disciple

So, do not believe the hype, keep your mind firmly open to other options, even if you don't use them.  If it sounds too good to be true then it is too good to be true.  The best way is the way you will actually stick to.  If you look hard enough & don't expect miracle-like results you will find exactly what you need 99% of the time (occasionally you may need to compromise a little).  Final point is the tougher the goal, usually the tougher the choices - so if you just want to look fab naked that will be easier than if you plan to hit the bodybuilding stage at 4% body fat, anyone says different, you know what your answer to that should be!

1 comment:

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