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We are well into the new year and everyone is (hopefully) still committed to their fitness and healthy eating resolutions. Everyone offers tips and tricks to lose fat and gain muscle, but who and what should you believe?

Let us help guide you in the right direction… below are 5 health myths debunked!

Myth 1: More protein means more muscles.

Fact: Protein is important to help build muscle. What needs clarification is the amount of protein needed to help build muscle, more is not always better. Age, physique, training program, and goals should all be taken into consideration when it comes to determining one’s protein intake. Recreational athletes should aim to consume approximately 1 gram of protein per kilogram of body weight (~68g/day for a 150lb athlete). Research has shown that consuming 20-30 grams of protein 1-2 hours after exercising helps facilitate muscle protein synthesis. Consuming more than 40 grams of protein at a time does not increase muscle protein synthesis.

Bottom Line: If you’re trying to build muscle, think quality, quantity, and timing.

Myth 2: Fat can be targeted and reduced in specific areas of the body.

Fact: Known as spot reduction, the ability to choose where fat will be “burned” is false. Remember- there is a large genetic predisposition to where an individual will carry fat. Diet and exercise play a large role in determining one’s body fat percentage.

Bottom Line: Performing 1000 crunches in hopes for six-pack abs won’t happen without a change in diet and the incorporation of a cardiovascular or resistance training program.

Myth 3: Whole egg vs. egg white, raw egg vs. cooked egg – it’s all the same.

Fact: Eggs are a great source of high-quality protein. The claims that surround pop culture trends are not backed by science.

  • Where is protein found in the egg? One large egg has 6 grams of protein, 57% is found in the white and 43% is found in the yolk. So don’t toss the yolk if you want all 6 grams.
  • Whole egg= better for muscle growth. A recent study showed young men had greater muscular growth from consuming 18 grams of protein from whole eggs in comparison to 18 grams of protein from egg whites.
  • Cooking eggs improves protein digestion. Protein availability is at 91% for a cooked egg in comparison to 50% for a raw egg. If you eat a whole egg raw, you’re only consuming 3 grams of protein in comparison to a cooked egg that provides 6 grams.

Bottom Line: To maximize the protein in cooked eggs, eat them whole and cooked!

Myth 4: Machines are safer than free weights

Fact: Machines are not designed for all body types, nor are they the most functional when it comes to daily physical activities. However, machines can help guide a novice through a series of targeted exercises. Free weights are more easily adaptable for most body types and are more functional for daily activities.

Bottom Line: There are benefits and risks to using both machines and free weights.

Myth 5: High intensity training is the best way to burn calories.

Fact: All exercise requires calories. Fats, carbs, and proteins are used as fuels as we exercise during both low and high intensity training. Typically, the harder you work the more calories you will burn during the workout. During interval training the body can adapt to increased demands over a period of time which leads to an increase in calorie burn since the exerciser can withstand longer and harder bouts of exercise.

Bottom Line: A combination of both low and high intensity exercise is ideal for effective fat loss.