The most deceptive terms connected with fitness. Part III

Each language often takes calques from other languages. It would be fine, if not for the fact that such words or phrases often become slogans. New terminology is supposed to attract the naïve and gullible. In the previous parts I described the matters of functional and aerobic training, as well as similar topics. It's high time for the next part of misleading phrases.

Slogan #4: “catabolism”

According to research, muscle breakdown and using protein to energetic processes (to make it simple) is a marginal issue, which mostly occurs during work lasting many hours (triathlon, long-distance swimming, marathon, long-distance hiking with a backpack, long-distance marching, long-lasting cycling competitions), in adverse conditions (training on empty stomach, dehydration of the competitor, large humidity and sunlight, adverse area: differentiated heights, etc.), with few workouts a day (wrestling, BJJ, preparation to MMA/K-1/Thai boxing competitions). Comparing the effort of e.g. 20km run or long-lasting work during triathlon with lazy pumping biceps and triceps and walks on a treadmill in a club (read the previously mentioned slogan “cardio”) - makes no sense. It reminds an attempt of comparing the engine load of a Formula 1 bolide with a passenger car during driving in a city.

This phenomenon is massively used in marketing. “Catabolism destroys you muscles after workout?” Use BCAA (amino acids), take WPC protein, use creatine. “Catabolism destroys you muscles after workout?” Use carbs, isotonic drinks, carbo, vitargo... This madness is endless. Your energy expenditure during lazy strength or aerobic training is insignificant.

To sum up: you can consider catabolism – during long-lasting workouts (strength + aerobic + interval training), during long-distance competitions, or during strict reduction diets. In normal conditions, with regular meals and sedentary work, catabolism is a myth. Nutrients circulate in your body all the time and muscles and liver are full of glycogen, additional reserves of fat within muscles are stored (IMTG), there's glucose in blood, the food is decomposed (for many hours). If that wasn't enough, many competitors feel the same level of energy during training after fasting (IF diets), and their eating window is extremely narrow (4-5h).

Slogan #5: “hydration, loss of electrolytes”

One more time – dehydration, loss of electrolytes matters during work lasting many hours, in adverse conditions – in endurance sports. It has nothing in common with the lifestyle and training of an ordinary, amateur competitor. Conclusion? You don't have to exaggerate with the supply of liquids. Don't act as if you spent one hour in a sauna, because it is scientifically unjustified. Your choice during strength, interval or aerobic training can be simple water. Providing carbohydrates during strength and aerobic training doesn't matter. Majority of people will never achieve the preliminary treshold of glycogen exhaustion – there are too many energy sources for muscle work. Do you want it? Buy isotonics, carbs in gel or “beverages dedicated to sportsmen rich in vitamins and minerals”. Train for a few week drinking only water – compare your feelings. It happens very often that additional supply of carbs finds its place in... adipocytes (fatty tissue).

Slogan #6: “mass training”

Interval workouts can increase muscle mass (what was proven on the example of physically inactive people), as well as strength training and hormones (testosterone, estrogen, IGF-1, growth hormone). But... training itself does not bring sufficient results, especially after puberty. The biggest “mass” increase (including muscle mass) can be noticed during that time, without any kind of training, often with insufficient diet (the influence of hormones). Then, the rise ends and problems begin. If you want to buils “mass” as an adult, the phrase “mass training” is a final nail in coffin. Why? Because you forget about the work in the kitchen. Muscles will not grow from “super hard workout”! Their growth depends on everyday supply of calories, valuable nutrition. Calories alone mean NOTHING, too. Not quantity, but quality matters, You can provide large calorific excess from lame food products – you will definitely succeed this way – you'll gain some muscle tissue and a lot of fat in the body.

To sum up: “muscle mass” increase depends on properly adjusted diet. Strength training itself, without any nutrition support brings moderate or poor effects. Teenagers may have problems with gaining “mass” by trivialising diet or too big physical activity. Whereas, men in the age group of 30-50 years may have problems with storing too large amount of fatty tissue (hormonal changes connected with age, too small physical activity outside the gym). All of that makes that diet and strength training has to be adjusted individually. You are not able to do it? Contact a specialist. Ask about vague matters.

Slogan #7: “fat burner”

Changes in body composition do not depend on using “fat burner” - but on the changes in diet and stabilising hormonal system (e.g. inflammation, excess amount of estrogens, insufficient amount of testosterone, large amoung of SHBG, low activity of thyroid, cortisolemia). When I described slogan no.3, I presented research, which states that aerobic training itself brings poor results (even during 12 months!). Diet occurred to be much more efficient. Considering the efficiency of products available on the market is important. Majority of ingredients of “fat burners” proved to be inefficient in research (e.g. acai berries, l-carnitine, HCA and Garcinia cambogia, HMB).

This matter was developed here: These supplements will let you lose weight. Four overrated “fat burners”

Other active compounds of “burners” perhaps influence people, but... in specific conditions, during using them in specific periods of time or in largee doses (e.g. caffeine). We already know from different studies, that e.g. “red bull” does not work in majority of attempts among sportsmen [1]. Why? Efficient dose of caffeine is, according to scientists, from 3 to 6 mg per 1 kilogram of body mass of a sportsman [2]. “Red Bull” only includes 80 mg of caffeine in 1 can of 250 ml. That's far too small dose, even for a woman or a child. In research, even 500 ml of “red bull” (160 mg of caffeine) occurred to be too small dose. For competitors weighing 100 kg using caffeine regularly, an efficient dose id even 500 mg of caffeine (which is 1.5 litre of “red bull”!)

To sum up: products, which strongly influence “burning fat” are usually forbidden because of their negative influence on health (e.g. sibutramine removed from the market in 2010, toxic DNP, dangerous clenbuterole) or other reasons (e.g. ephedrine; nowadays it's only available illegally or just in medicines). If you think that “magic pills” will cause you lose the “unwanted ballast”, you will be, unfortunately, disappointed, as the body does not work this way. You will get rid of years of negligence for months of hard work. “Burning fat”? There are no shortcuts, just hard work.