With fitness trends and fads going in and out of fashion constantly, it’s hard to know which studies are true and which ones are completely made up.

Unfortunately, not everything written on the Internet is true (except here of course), so we debunk are a few common misconceptions floating around the fitness industry.


1. Opting for a diet soda is healthier

This strategy will make you penny-wise and pound foolish because, while the irony of it might escape the dude in front of you placing his order, the science of its sheer stupidity is inescapable. Several studies have proved artificial sweeteners, such as those found in diet sodas, actually make you eat more. However, it’s not always been clear until now, thanks to a new study at the University Of Sydney.

Animals given healthy food with added artificial sweeteners ate a third more calories and food than those given the same food without the sweeteners because their brains sensed sweetness but didn’t get the accompanying amount of calories – so they ate more to compensate. When there’s a mismatch between sweetness and energy content the brain course corrects this by promoting more food intake. Drinking super-sweet diet drinks will just make you want to pork up with more calories so that diet soda is little more than a pig with lipstick.


2. Posting gym selfies is harmless

Trying to find someone fit who doesn’t post workout selfies can be like playing Jenga with live fish: impossible. Sadly, this self-love is too often misguided: research at the University of Toronto found people were rated as less attractive and more narcissistic in selfies than in normal photos of them.

The take home message? Your followers give your social stream the stink-eye when you selfie, regardless of how sleeve-splitting your pump is. A better option is to use social media to track your exercise progress figures and PBs on your timeline. You’ll still get all the encouragement needed to keep pushing hard but won’t garner the hater-silence when you post a veined-up double biceps pose. Well, unless you get someone else to post the photo of you, which means you really did work out… or did you?


3. Organic food is overpriced and overhyped

Though they walk among us in the whole food aisles, offering ripe pickings for mockery, hipsters’ dedication to double-priced organic food may be paying dividends. Research at Newcastle University, UK, compared research from around the world to pit organic milk and meat against conventionally produced versions – and found that the former has roughly 50% more beneficial omega-3 fatty acids.

That means paying double for a seemingly-the-same sirloin slab might actually see you get value for money, if you offset the costs of omega-3 supplements. So don’t let organic fare get a bad rap, even though there are times when it rolls with a weird crowd.


4. Reading is a waste of time

Don’t feel guilty about kicking back to read these mildly amusing articles, because it’s one of the tactics we’re using to keep you training by way of making you live longer. New research in Social Science and Medicine followed 3635 people for 12 years and discovered that those who read for three and half hours each week were 17% less likely to die than those who didn’t rest their peepers on a page.

If you read longer, you can make yourself 23% less likely to die than those who are book shy. This equates to a two-year gain in lifespan just by exercising the muscles in your eye sockets. The scientists were too foolish to study exactly how many years reading world-class fitness publications will add to the average lifespan, but we’re pretty sure it’s a lot more than anyone who ever read the Twilight saga.


5. You must get your post-workout protein in immediately

Don’t underestimate the importance of getting your protein post workout, even if that involves pulling up in a car park. However, the ideal quantity of said protein needed after training remains contentious. There is a new theory abound on the matter thanks to new research in Physiological Report that gave lifters of varying body masses either 20g or 40g of whey protein post workout.

Regardless of body mass, the 40g group built more muscle, so heap that scoop after your workouts, even if your muscle mass is a little on the lesser side. However, Bodybuilding.com science editor Krissy Kendall stresses: “It certainly doesn’t hurt to throw back a protein shake immediately after your workout, but you can still gain a substantial amount of strength and size even when delaying post-workout nutrition.”

Now, if a lifter of any weight could just let us know how to find the scoop in new tub, we’d be most grateful.


6. Channelling your anger in your workout is a good thing

Rage Against the Machine’s song Freedom might have said that anger is a gift, but this is a gift you may want to ignore if you’re about to start sweating for your workout. New research in the journal Circulation found that being ticked off before or while you’re exercising could triple your risk of suffering a heart attack.

Anger can raise your blood pressure and your heart rate, altering the flow of blood through your vessels, thereby restricting the flow of blood to your heart. Yikes! So if you’ve activated beast mode before you’ve even sniffed a pre-workout, think about switching to an easier plan. Taking a little time to cool off before you blow off steam will keep the heat off your internal engine room.


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