Cross-posted from sharonkuntz.wordpress.com
With so much conflicting information on the internet and circulating around at work and between friends and family, it’s hard to know what you SHOULD or SHOULD NOT do as far as health goes. Why is this? Its 2015; we should know by now what is healthy and what isn’t, right? Are people just throwing random statements out there and calling them facts? Well, maybe, but there is a different reason for the conflicting information out there. What is best for one person isn’t necessarily best for another.
You have to keep the goal in mind when planning a training routine or new diet. Here’s an example. A 120 pound female who is 5’2” wants to get healthy by starting an exercise routine and eating better. The best exercise routine for her wouldn’t be to lift heavy weights for two hours a day six days a week. It also wouldn’t be recommended that she start running five miles a day seven days a week. She doesn’t wish to lose weight particularly, nor does she want to gain muscle mass. Her goal is simply to be healthy. An exercise routine of moderate strength training and some moderate cardio about three days a week with some leisure walking would probably be recommended. She also wouldn’t be put on a very low carb diet, or a high protein diet. She would probably benefit most from a diet with only whole, unprocessed foods with some protein, some healthy fat, and some carbohydrates in every meal. (Standard intake for protein is about 30% of your diet, carbohydrates are 40% of your diet, and fat is 30% of your diet.) Depending on her activity level for each individual day these numbers could vary.
Uninformed people will often hear advice from a friend about eating healthy and exercising. They will try the same thing and perhaps gain weight when they want to lose it, lose weight when they want to gain it, or any other variation of not getting the results they wanted. You can’t ask your 300 pound body building friend what he does in the gym and then go try to do the same things and expect to lose 10 pounds by next month. If you want results, you have to do some research.
Obviously, junk food is bad for you. We all should know this by now. A bag of potato chips, chocolate cake, or a McDonalds Big Mac are unhealthy foods. But, why? There are many reasons these foods are unhealthy. I’m no nutritionist, but I can tell you that humans were not made to eat fried foods. We were not made to eat processed foods. Our bodies weren’t equipped for processing this junk we put into our bodies. Just because someone created it and called it food doesn’t mean it is really supposed to be eaten. When humans were created, it was not known that we would one day be eating this stuff. This is why we have a hard time digesting these foods. Some of us are so used to it that we don’t even notice or pay attention to our problems, but they are there. When you eat something that isn’t real food, you may get bloated. This is from inflammation in your cells. To better understand inflammation, think about when you hurt yourself. More blood goes to the injury to help heal it, causing it to swell and turn red. The same thing happens inside your body when you eat something that your body wasn’t made to digest. It gets inflamed. Also, you may notice gas or diarrhea (I know, we don’t like to talk about these things) after eating certain things like White Castle or Taco Bell. A little gas every once in a while is normal, however, excessive gas and any diarrhea is a sign that something is wrong inside your body. The reason diarrhea occurs is to flush your body of toxins, so why would you choose to purposely eat something that will give you diarrhea? This being said, EVERYONE should stay away from these types of foods. Other aspects of diet can vary for each individual and goal, however. Some people are intolerant to dairy. Some are intolerant to wheat. As long as you’re eating real, whole food, you don’t have to worry about too much besides eating right for your goal.
Okay enough with the nutrition lesson, that isn’t what this is about. Basically, eat whole foods and you’re on the right track. You can do your own research on what food does to your body, or consult a nutritionist, but be aware that every person is different. Just because your body building friend eats 130 grams of protein per day doesn’t mean you should.
The same goes with exercise. To burn fat, high intensity exercise is recommended. High metabolic work burns more calories in a shorter period of time. If you want to maintain strength or get stronger but not gain a large amount of muscle mass, do full body lifts for about 8-10 repetitions in three sets. If your goal is to build a lot of strength and muscle mass, do fewer repetitions (between 4 and 6) for three to four sets. Again, don’t just do four repetitions of heavy bicep curls for four sets if you aren’t looking to really gain some bicep strength. Full body workouts are typically the best way to go for efficiency purposes. You can work more in a shorter period of time while gaining strength and burning fat. This can include exercises like squats, deadlifts, pull-ups, chin-ups, push-ups, etc.
I’m not going to list all of the different ways you can best exercise and eat for each separate goal here. I have given many examples, so from this I hope you can understand that every person is different. People have different goals. Just because someone tells you something, or you read something online, doesn’t mean it is the best thing for you to do. I encourage you to do your research and find out what is best for your individual goals and body type.