Dispelling popular myths on diet and exercise

Published 9:32am Friday, April 13, 2012

Today, I’d like to dispel some rather popular myths with regard to diet and exercise. Following some of these will not only hinder progress, but tend to confuse you as well.
Myth 1) Don’t eat after seven o’clock at night, because you’re usually just sitting around and the food you eat turns into fat. Remember, your gastrointestinal tract has to have ample blood flow for thorough digestion. Now there’s another so-called myth you probably heard at some time in you life, “Don’t swim within an hour of eating, or you could catch a cramp.” I used to certify lifeguards, and  can tell you that’s true, because if you eat, then swim, blood pulls away from your GI tract to fuel your arms and legs, then digestion stops and you could cramp.
Now, what’s all that got to do with eating late at night? Well, suppose you ate right before bedtime, and you had no gastrointestinal problems like reflux or ulcers (with these you could possibly choke in your sleep). Once you go to bed, all you’re going to do is lay there, so your GI tract could get all the blood it needs for thorough digestion.
There’s another benefit. During stage four, and REM (rapid eye movement) sleep your body is in a state of repair. Since you just ate, now you have all your body’s building blocks like vitamins, minerals, protein, carbohydrates and water available for organ, bone and muscle repair.
Myth 2) I can work my abdominal muscles every day. Remember, your abs tone and tighten just like any other skeletal muscle. Muscles don’t tone while you’re working them. Oh, they may feel tight when exercising, but that’s because they are full of blood. Muscles actually tone 30 to 35 hours later, while you’re sleeping. Two more things about working abs. Always work them last in your routine, and never work them to failure, because these muscles don’t attach to any joint, so you could produce a hernia.