Dont blame beer for that belly
IT’S THE news every man has been waiting for - drinking beer doesn’t give you a beer belly. A new book is aiming to dispel some of the most common myths on diet and fitness - such as whether endless sit-ups will actually result in a six-pack. Among the other misconceptions addressed include if muscle turns to fat once you stop exercising and whether weightlifting can shrink men’s testicles.
Best of all, author Graeme Hilditch insists beer cannot be held solely responsible for a “beer belly”. The culprits are excessive calories, lack of exercise and man’s predisposition to deposit fat on his abdominal region.
Hilditch, who has also published a guide on marathon running, said he had drawn on questions he had been asked during his 10-year career as a personal trainer as inspiration for the book.
“It really is quite frustrating seeing the general public so confused about how to lose weight,” he said. "People want this proverbial magical pill, a quick easy fix.
“A lot of glossy magazines will give the lose 6lbs in six days’ type diets and everyone will buy the magazine to find out how you do it - but it is not as easy as that.”
One of the most common myths, Hilditch said, was also the inspiration for the title of the book: Is It Just Me Or Are Sit-Ups A Waste Of Time?
“People think because they are making the stomach muscles work, all of a sudden you will shift all the flab and get an amazing six-pack," he said. "But you have got to be a lot more controlled in what you eat and do high-intensity exercise to help melt the fat away, rather than just performing sit-ups.”
Another piece of advice - which will be welcomed by many frustrated dieters - is to throw away the bathroom scales or only use them as a rough guide, because weight can easily fluctuate.
“Everybody stands on the bathroom scales to see if they have lost weight and they are a colossal waste of time,” Hilditch said. “A lot of people standing on the scales will get despondent as they seem to put on a pound or two, but it is so easy to put on a pound or two over the course of a day.”
One recent poll carried out by gym chain LA Fitness found that 51% of people quizzed were confused about fitness guidelines. The same survey revealed that more than half couldn’t touch their toes and more than two-thirds couldn’t do sit-ups.
Jacqui Lowden, spokeswoman for the British Dietetic Association, agreed that people were confused about weight loss methods. "There are myths which exist, because of the Atkins diet for example, like carbohydrates are fattening, when they are not," she said. "Simple messages are confused because of what is written about them.
“It is sad where we have come to the state where we are more likely to listen to a celebrity’s latest diet than to health professionals who have spent years training and practising and are up to date with the latest research.”
Fitness mysths & answers
l If I exercise my tricep muscles, will I lose my bingo wings?
Using exercises to target specific muscle groups can help to a degree by firming and toning up, but sadly it is a myth that they will encourage the fat to melt away.
l Are sports drinks a waste of money or do they enhance performance?
For casual exercisers, water is the best fluid to consume. But for intense exercise bouts lasting more than an hour, sports drinks can rehydrate the body more effectively.
l I keep reading that red wine is good for you. Is it really?
Moderate amounts of alcohol have been proven to help reduce cholesterol and lower blood pressure. Red wine is also rich in antioxidants known as flavonoids, which can help keep the skin healthy.
l [i]Muscle turns into fat when you stop exercising regularly.
Muscle is made up of a totally different molecular structure to fat, making it biologically impossible for it to turn into fat[/i].
l Weight training makes your testicles shrink.
Some men have fallen for the myth that the more your muscles grow, the more your testicles shrink. Instead, it’s the abuse of the male hormone testosterone, that some bodybuilders use to help build muscle, which is responsible.