There are so many myths about food, supplements and Training that I thought I would take the time to bust some of these common mis conceptions and explain where they came from and why they have stuck around.
Myth number 1 – Squatting below 90 degrees is bad for the knees
The study that has been dis-proved over and over and over again still gets spouted by many trainers, doctors and health professionals all over the world is one of the most ridiculous urban myths in the health and fitness arena.
Back in the early 1980s a study came out that squatting below 90 degrees puts huge strain on the AC Ligament inside the knee joint which makes squatting below 90 degrees bad for you. First lets look at the study itself, Studies are graded and have different parameters for a study to be effective it must meet certain criteria. When doing a study you must have a control group and the variables must be known and minimised. If you plan on doing a study on squatting you would need to take people with no previous injuries that effect the squatting pattern, the participants would need to have similar training ages. The participants would need the be competent in the movement and they would need to be of similar strengths so that all the variables are accounted for and then you can compare the control to the experimental participant and that is how you would get data. How that data is interpreted is a different story but that is a very simple explanation of what steps need to be taken. This study that has found its way into training folklore did none of those steps, making it totally useless. The data did show an increase in strain when squatting below 90 degrees but it has since been shown that that strain is just the ligament working and doing its job of stabilising the knee. If it was unhealthy to squat how would cave men have gone to the toilet or
Myth number 2 – Locking out your joints is bad for them
I have no idea why this myth came to be. It does not make much sense to me, if we are not meant to lock out our joints then why can we do it? The best way to work a muscle is to use the full range of motion.
The joint is safest and most stable at full flexion and full extension, in other words at the two extremes of movement. This is when the ligaments, tendons and other associated tissues are stabilising the joint best. In a squat the safest parts are at the very top and at the very bottom, so it is safer to go all the way down then it is to stop half way, 90 degrees. At 90 degrees the joint is at its most vulnerable so trying to change direction then is infinitely more dangerous then the arse to grass alternative.
Myth number 3 -Red Meat and Fat are bad for your heart, the cholesterol myth
(Deep breath and control the anger) Well this is a great myth that filtered itself into the psyche of modern society. This myth came about from a study conducted by Ancel Keys,This is a funny look at the study, http://rawfoodsos.com/2011/12/22/the-truth-about-ancel-keys-weve-all-got-it-wrong . The study found that a diet high in dietary fat and cholesterol increased the risk of heart disease and cholesterol.
To get this over quick we can cut to the very same man 30 years later when he said,There’s no connection whatsoever between the cholesterol in food and cholesterol in the blood. And we’ve known that all along. Cholesterol in the diet doesn’t matter at all unless you happen to be a chicken or a rabbit. He was commissioned by wheat companies to conduct this study, He was coerced into throwing out the data that didn’t coincide and fudge the study to come up with the conclusion that dietary fat and cholesterol are evil. If you want to learn about the whole story read, Good calories, Bad calories by Gary Taubes.
Suffice to say there is literally no decent science that links dietary cholesterol and the consumption of natural fats from meats, dairy and nuts to increased risk of heart disease, yet the common answer to high cholesterol is eat grains and avoid fat. There are many things wrong with that statement, so many in fact that it would take 10 blogs to finish. Here is a link to a couple of FaceBook posts I made on the subject and a link to Chris Kresser that can answer all your questions.( http://highcholesterolplan.chriskresser.com )
Myth number 4 – Cardio is better for fat loss than weight training
This one is a quick one. What happens when you run for extended periods of time? You burn fat and muscle. If you want to look athletic and have the ability to stay lean then you need to maintain a decent level of muscle mass. Therefore doing anything that urns muscle is going to be counter productive in the long term.
This is the reason for the 6 week rule. People that do nothing but cardio loose weight in the first 6 weeks then plateau and usually quite and rebound very fast due to lack of muscle mass. People that do weights usually don’t loose any weight on the scale for the first 6 weeks, but they do loose body fat although it is hard to see changes unless you measure regularly. So that person quits after 6 weeks bc they aren’t loosing weight on the scale. The scales don’t tell the whole story! It is very hard to see yourself get lean, so when you start a weight program get your body-fat done and take photos that way when you think about quitting look and compare before you crack it and dive into a pool of chocolate.
Myth number 5 – Weight training will make you bulky and slow
This is a myth that is made worse by body builders and people that train purely to get absolutely massive. This form of training is not indicative of normal resistance training and realistically requires so much time and discipline that unless it is you job or passion you will never achieve those kind of results.
One of the most amusing things i hear is that people don’t want to get too big. The amount of effort it takes to get too big is hard to realise unless you have done or sen people do it. When weight training is done properly and with purpose it is the best way to become leaner, faster and quicker. The best ways to become a better sprinter is to increase range of motion, perfect form and make the hamstrings stronger. When the knee can flex harder it can flex faster which equates to more speed.
It has been shown that it takes about 8 hours of constant tension to lengthen a muscle. What that means is that stretching, yoga etc do not actually make your muscles longer, they can help with facial release which adds flexibility. Weight training uses your muscles through your full range of motion and allows you to have functional use of those muscles.
Part 2 will cover
Myth number 6 – You cant absorb supplements
Myth number 7 – Weight training is unsafe and causes injury
Myth number 8 – If you don’t eat carbs you wont have no energy
Myth number 9 – A high protein diet is bad for your kidneys
Myth number 10 – The food pyramid is the healthiest way to eat