Mythbusting: Cardio, Carbs, and Creatine
The health and fitness industry has exploded over the past few years. Everywhere you look, from Instagram to magazines, you will see fitness tips, truths and tales. It can be hard to sift through all the information to find what is actually accurate, helpful, and individualized for you. So we are here to break it down for you and bust some myths. What myths will we be busting? We will cover cardio, carbs, and creatine.
First, carbs, the dreaded food group, avoided by many, feared by others. We’ve all heard when beginning a fitness routine that the best way to lose weight is to cut out carbs. This is false. Let’s learn why.
Carbohydrates are an energy-wielding nutrient and the largest single component (except for water) of most diets. Carbohydrates are composed of carbon, hydrogen and oxygen and broken down into monosaccharides (ex. Glucose), disaccharides (ex. Sucrose) and polysaccharides (ex. Fibre). Carbs are necessary to support bodily functions and physical activity because they provide the body with glucose which is converted into energy.
When it comes to carbs, it is more important to pay attention to quality, rather than quantity. Instead of lowering your carb intake, try to focus on consuming healthier, complex carbs high in fibre to help you feel full. The healthiest carbohydrates are usually unprocessed or minimally processed whole grains, fruits, and vegetables.
In addition, carbs can help to prevent protein from being used for energy, saving your protein consumption to be used to support muscle growth.
So there you have it. Carbs are actually good for you AND can help with improved endurance. You just have to make sure to be consuming the right kind of carbs.
Cardio, either you hate it or you love it, either you over-perform or avoid at all costs. Those looking to build muscle tend to be afraid of cardio, thinking that it will make them lose their gains. Those looking to lose weight tend to overdo it with cardio because they assume it is the best way to lose fat. Neither of these are entirely accurate. Cardio has an important role to play in all training programs, regardless of your fitness goals. But it should be performed in conjunction with a proper strength training routine in order to see optimal performance and/or weight loss.
Cardiovascular exercise is any movement that gets your heart rate up and increases blood circulation. One of the most well-known benefits of cardio is weight-loss, but that’s not all its good for. Cardio can also help support heart health. Getting your heart pumping at a faster rate on a regular basis will help keep it in tip top shape.
For those looking to build muscle, performing short periods of high-intensity cardio, such as a 10-minute HIIT routine or 16-minute Tabata routine, may be the answer to preventing muscle breakdown, while still promoting fat loss. The benefit of fat loss in this case, is muscle definition.
As great as cardio is, it is not the end all be all of weight-loss. The key to losing weight is burning more calories than you consume and maintaining this calorie-deficit over an extended period of time. Cardio can play a role in this as it will increase your calorie burn. However, strength training can lead to an increase in muscle mass and the more muscle mass you have, the more calories you will burn at resting pace.
If your goal is fat loss, your method should involve cardio, strength training, and proper diet.
With that being said, the key to maintaining a fitness routine is finding ways to exercise that you actually enjoy, so if cardio is your thing, but you’re not into lifting weights, that’s alright!
After protein, creatine is one of the most popular supplements on the market and is the undisputed champ for improving performance in the gym, but many women are afraid to use creatine for fear of becoming “bulky” and some men worry that creatine simply fills your muscles with water without actually allowing for increased strength and size gains. Let’s bust this myth.
Creatine is a substance found in your muscle cells. About 95% of all creatine in your body is found in your muscles. Supplementing with creatine increases your stores of phosphocreatine, which is a form of stored energy. In turn, your body will then produce more of the high-energy molecule adenosine triphosphate (ATP) which is required for muscle contraction.
What creatine will do for you, is improve muscle strength and power. By taking it as directed, you can expect to see your strength levels rise, particularly with regard to your “one-rep-max”. Over time, your ability to lift heavier weights should lead to an increase in lean body mass and will cause your muscle to grow fuller and larger.
Look for clean, natural brands of creatine, like Kaizen Naturals® Micronized Creatine that keep it simple and pure and provide no added fillers, preservatives or sweeteners.
So there you have it. Three myths broken down and busted. You can now continue on your fitness journey more informed and fully prepared to crush it.