For the next couple of weeks I am sharing information from top experts in nutrition, exercise, weight loss and athletic performance to rank each concept and set the record straight. You will not only know if the idea is true - you'll also know why.
You need to load up on carbs before a race - FALSE - eat a balanced meal before a race.
It's true that aerobic activities like running are fueled by a combination of carbohydrates (in the form of a readily usable energy source called glycogen) and fat. There's a limit to how much glycogen we can store, though. And even a long race doesn't burn nearly as many calories as you might think. Eating a normal-sized meal, balanced in protein and fats, and high in easily digested carbs is sufficient.
Exercise makes you smarter - TRUE - working out has many positive effects on the brain.
Science has proven it: what's good for the body is good for the brain. Regular aerobic exercise boosts the size of the hippocampus. Exercise stimulates the release of growth factors that promote the formation of new neural pathways, brain cells and blood vessels. Exercise initiates changes in body chemistry, such as reduced inflammation, improved circulation and improved sleep, that support healthy brain function.
Fasting before exercise burns more fat - FALSE - exercising after a small meal may burn more fat than a fasted workout.
A 2014 study found that women who exercised after an overnight fast lost no more fat than a second group who had a meal before their cardio sessions. Another study suggests that eating a small meal pre-workout may lead to greater excess postexercise oxygen consumption or EPOC (the bump in metabolism in the hours after a workout) than eating nothing at all. Aim for a light, easily-digestible meal before your sweat session. That said, if you're not hungry and your energy doesn't suffer, don't force yourself to eat. Your body's intuition may be more useful than studies.
Check in next week for three more gym myths exposed!
Stay Active, Keep Moving and
Enjoy Your Food