June 26, 2017 | John Paul Catanzaro
Albert Einstein once defined insanity as doing the same thing over and over again, but expecting different results. There are many examples of insane traditions in the health and fitness world. Here are some that come to mind…
Insane Nutrition Tradition
We’re told to eat less to lose weight, so people restrict their calories and they do lose weight initially, but their body composition doesn’t change much. Many times, it gets worse because they end up catabolizing too much muscle mass in the process. Then, when they go back to regular eating habits, they end up ballooning past their previous condition due to a lower metabolic setpoint.
And people continue to yo-yo in this manner – doing the same thing over and over again, but the results are no different.
Because they continue to follow a high-carb approach. The calories are not the problem, the carbs are. Sorry, let me rephrase that: Nutrient-dense calories are not the problem, nutrient-poor ones are. And most nutrient-poor calories that people consume are loaded with carbs!
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Take-Home Message: Stop counting calories, it’s nutrients that count!
Insane Training Traditions
We’re told that aerobic work (a.k.a. cardio) is important for many things: it’s important for warming up, it’s important for fat loss, and it’s important for cardiac health.
No, no, and no!
Cardio during a warm-up can make you weaker.
Cardio can promote muscle loss.
Cardio can lead to an adverse cardiac event.
There are better ways to accomplish those tasks. (Hint: you can get more from weights than aerobics.)
Take-Home Message: Stop spinning your wheels in the gym and getting nowhere! Get off the stationary cycle and start lifting weights for better results.
Insane Injury Management Tradition
By now everyone knows exactly what to do the second an injury occurs: rest, ice, compression, and elevation (RICE). Well, the RICE approach may suppress pain, but it doesn’t facilitate healing. In fact, it delays healing and may impair it.
I usually recommend an approach that’s almost the opposite of RICE. It’s called METH, which stands for movement, elevation, traction, and heat. Try it next time you sustain an injury and you’ll see why METH can be quite addictive!
Take-Home Message: It’s time to get out of the ice age. If you want to speed up healing after an injury, stop resting and start moving!
Stop the insanity already! You’re never going to get different results if you do the same thing over and over. Leave tradition behind if necessary and start moving forward.