Think eating at night is bad for you? Not always. And no, there is no one food that will raise your metabolism and work like magic. These and other fitness and diet misconceptions were squashed or upheld by our local experts.
You got a membership to a gym, you bought new workout clothes and you stacked your iPod full of guilty pleasures to keep you going. And that works for approximately a month and then you stop going. Why? No time.
Or at least that’s what we say.
Lack of time is the number one excuse, according to local trainers Melvin Williams of the Central Delaware YMCA, Nancy Hawkins Rigg of Forever Fit Foundation and Benjamin Wynne of Gold’s Gym.
“We always make an excuse that we don’t have time, but when you want to do something bad enough, you will find time to do it,” Williams said.
For a lot of people the real reason they’re skipping the gym is low self-esteem, according to Williams. They’re either trying to get in shape for someone else, or they’re intimidated by a gym full of people who seem to know what they’re doing.
“I tell them, ‘You can do it. Don’t worry about it,’” he said.
After a while, that encouragement sinks in and solves the problem, he said.
A lot of people are confused about what to do in the gym, which can keep them away, said Wynne, personal training manager.
At Forever Fit, Rigg, the founder, encourages clients to schedule workouts into their daily routines.
“Exercise should be like everything else. You schedule in time to go to the dentist, you schedule in time to go to work,” she said. “If you put it into a schedule it becomes more of a habit.”
The benefit of having a trainer is that clients actually do have an appointment, and they know someone’s waiting for them. Rigg said having a workout buddy can work the same way without the financial commitment. Either way, it has to fit the client’s lifestyle.
“You have to make it fit you. When you try to make it fit something else, that’s when people implode,” Rigg said.
True or false
Trainers and nutrition experts are used to the excuses and the faulty information a lot of people believe.
True or False: Once I start working out, I can indulge in my favorite foods freely.
False: Many people who start working out to lose weight are already overeating, Rigg said, and this attitude means they’re overeating even more. A lot of these people also think they’re doing enough in the gym to sustain the food intake. They’re not.
“People mistake activity for achievement when it comes to the body,” Rigg said.
People are frustrated when they come in for 30 minutes twice a week and then don’t see results in three weeks, Rigg said. They need to be mindful of what they’re eating and consider doing something physical every day, and not only for aesthetic reasons. It’s good for lowering blood pressure, cholesterol levels, heart rates and more.
Williams agreed that people need to be more mindful of what they’re eating.
“Your diet has to change. That’s the hardest thing that people have to do, is eat the right food,” he said.
True or False: Certain foods will boost my metabolism and help me lose weight.
True, kind of: “It’s a false comment to think that any one food would do that,” said Robin Hayes, owner of Nutritionally Speaking. “There are foods that are going to be more likely to be stored as fats. There are foods that need to be eaten in combination to get your metabolism going.”
True or False: Eating at night is bad for you.
False: Hayes said it matters more that you define your mealtimes and stick to them. So if you work third shift but eat dinner at 1 a.m., that’s OK. As long as you do it every night. It has to do with your body’s rhythm.
It is true, however, that night owls usually have a harder time losing weight, according to Hayes. Often they have a lower metabolism because they’re defying their natural rhythm, she said. They also act on their desires more often, watching favorite TV shows and snacking while they’re doing it. That gives them more energy, they don’t sleep well and the cycle starts again.
True or False: Morning is the best time to work out.
False: Some people make it to the gym first thing in the morning, some people like to run at night. Any time that fits into your schedule is the best time to work out, according to Rigg.
True or False: Cardiovascular exercise, such as walking or jogging, is what I need to get and stay fit.
False: Rigg, Williams and Wynne agree that people need more than just cardio to keep them healthy. Williams and Wynne advocate setting a personalized cardio and strength-training program. Rigg advises resistance, flexibility and cardio training. And they all agree that eating healthfully pays off.
Wynne said a personal trainer would fix the cardio misconception early on.
“It [having a trainer] takes the guesswork out of everything. They have their own exact plan of attack for their specific needs,” Wynne said.
He added that switching up workouts is key to success.
“It keeps your muscles guessing,” Wynne said. “If you’re doing the same thing over and over, you’re going to plateau, and that’s what a lot of people do.”
Email Sarika Jagtiani at firstname.lastname@example.org