5 Fitness and Nutrition Tips That Really Work

Every now and then we see or hear about something that just seems like a no-brainer, advice that just seems to “go against the grain.” In other words, ideas that are difficult to accept because they seem to represent the opposite of what we believe to be true. There’s no shortage of such happenings in the world of health, nutrition, and fitness, and I thought it would be fun and informative to come up with a list of 10 things that don’t make sense right away, but are actually true. In no particular order, here are the top five. Tune in next week for the rest.

1. Eat more to lose weight and get lean. One of the things the human body is really good at is survival. During prolonged periods of scarcity or extreme exertion, it reduces the rate at which it burns calories (this is called metabolism) to simply keep stored energy as fat. One way to effectively influence metabolism in a positive way is to eat more and exercise a little less to allow better recovery and maintenance of muscle tissue. In this case, more muscle equals a faster metabolism.

2. When your joints are stiff and sore, you need to move them more, not less. If you have joint pain, the last thing you may want to do is move. In fact, less movement causes stiffness and a lack of stability as the muscles around the joints become weaker, putting more stress on the joint itself. In addition, in addition to bringing lubricating synovial fluid into the joint space, the exercise itself has an analgesic (pain-relieving) effect that reduces general and specific pain in the body.

3. If you know you’re going to splurge on a big holiday meal, you should eat an extra breakfast during the day to avoid overindulging later. “Saving” calories for a holiday may seem like a good idea. In reality, though, it just means you’ll show up to dinner with no willpower, as hunger drives you to eat anything and everything that looks tasty. By eating the day before the event, there’s a better chance you’ll exercise restraint and truly enjoy only the foods you love in reasonable portions.

4. Zoom out to go faster. The health and fitness industry is known for “quick and easy”, “like magic” solutions to complex problems. The promise of losing weight (or building muscle) FAST with little effort can seem too good to be true and irresistible to many. The problem is that almost without exception, scam programs don’t produce the desired results, and when they do, the results are unsustainable for someone hoping to live a normal life. All this means is that users end up back where they started looking for the next miracle plan, wasting time and effort. For long-lasting, sustainable results, slow and steady actually turns out to be the fastest way.

5. Eat before bed to burn fat. A study from the Journal of Medicine and Science in Sports and Exercise reported that athletes who were given a serving of casein protein in the form of cottage cheese as a breakfast before bed increased muscle synthesis during sleep compared to a placebo, helping them build muscles, speeding up metabolism and burning fat more efficiently.

Health and fitness programming and products are part of a multi-billion dollar industry that sells things that sound too good to be true, and are usually too good to be true. Sensible, common-sense advice, on the other hand, is often seen as too boring to be marketable, especially when confronted with public opinion. However, if you look at the fittest, strongest, fittest and most complete people, it is certain that they follow the long, slow, “boring” path that sometimes goes against what we imagine to be true. In next week’s column, I’ll present five more things that don’t make sense at first glance.

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