The Five Biggest Contradictions in Fitness
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The Five Biggest Contradictions in Fitness

Itís no secret that when people contradict themselves, it has the effect of making the flaws in their actions or statements seem glaringly obvious. But what about when WE ourselves get caught contradicting ourselves by someone else?

By: Nick Tumminello Added: January 6th, 2014
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  1. #1
    Always bad with diet
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    Types of diets question

    I kinda get confused in deciding which kinda of diets I should do. I dont understand the big deal about all these people who do the low-carb diets to lose bodyfat. The reason I say this is because, isnt the purpose of building muscle, to change your body so that while you build new muscle you burn cals at a greater rate, and help lose bodyfat anyways? I go back and forth. Should I do a low-carb diet? But, wait isnt it important for your body to have carbs? But wait, wont the low carbs will help me burn fat and lose weight? But wait, wont eating right and the building of new muscle help to burn more cals, burn fat and lose weight? Uh I think, uh wait, uh. Ya know what I mean guys. It seems like we all get caught up in too much of the scientific mumbo jumbo of diets, when its a lot simpler than we make it out to be. I dont know. Just throwing my 2 cents out there.

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  3. #2
    Party of "No." Tryska's Avatar
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    well it goes back to your goals.

    are you trying to cut fat or gain muscle? either or.

    if cutting fat, cutting carbs greatly helps reaching those goals.

    if gaining muscle, eating carbs, will help reach those goals.
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  4. #3
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    Thats the confusing part. If building muscle burns fat, and you need carbs to help build muscle, why would you cut carbs?
    I understand, we cut carbs to help lose bodyfat as well. But i dont understand why a person who can lose bodyfat by building muscle, would opt to go the other way. Wouldnt losing bodyfat, but having more muscle be better than losing bodyfat and having less muscle?
    I just cant seem to grasp.

  5. #4
    Party of "No." Tryska's Avatar
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    when losing bodyfat, you want to maintain muscle.

    of course gaining muscle definitely helps burn fat in the long-run, but what it takes to real gain muscle involves gaining some fat as well. you understand what i mean?

    so after a bulking cycle, theoretically you should be able to lose the fat more easily.
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  6. #5
    Always bad with diet
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    okay, its starting to make sense

  7. #6
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    it still confusing to some degrees though. its probably just the vast amount of info that goes around though. ya know what I mean. You read one thing somewhere, you read another somewhere else. Its like when you read somewhere about restricting carbs is best for burning bf, and then you read somewhere else that restricting carbs is a mistake people make when trying to burn bf? Just too much contradictory info.

  8. #7
    Party of "No." Tryska's Avatar
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    i pretty much base my decisions on studies and my own experience. And not necessarily on what other people say. I mean many people embrace the FDA guidelines as beign the healthiest approach, even tho it's crap, you know what i mean?
    A little learning is a dangerous thing...

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  9. #8
    Always bad with diet
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    that is....................true

  10. #9
    Senior Member aka23's Avatar
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    You are correct that building muscle helps you burn calories at a greater rate and lose body fat. You are also correct that it is important to have carbs, especially when building muscle.

    In my opinion, you should not be following a low carb diet period. The idea behind many of these diets is that the low carb/high fat intake causes your body to enter ketosis, which suppreses hunger. Less hunger makes it easier to eat fewer calories and lose weight.

    The decreased carbs cause glycogen depletion in your liver and muscles, which makes it difficult to complete your workouts. The glyogen is accompanied by a lot of water, and sodium excretion increases. This causes excessive water loss (sometimes dehydration) and makes it look like the pounds are coming off on the scale, when most of the initial weight loss is actually water. There also is a good chance of muscle loss since a low carb diet encourages the body to break down muscles for energy. In many cases, there is little change in overall body fat levels.

    There may be some health and nutritional risks associated with this diet as well. Some of these possible risks are Fatigue, Dehydration, Constipation, Muscle weakness, Irritability, Vitamin/Mineral/Fiber/Nutritional defficiencies, Elevated blood cholesterol and triglyceride levels, Kidney problems, Calcium depletion. (I realize that there is some debate about the last 3.) To my knowledge low carb diets are not recommended for weight loss by the AHA, the ADA, other well known large US health organizations, or the general scientific/medical community. Some well known groups, like the AHA, condemn this type of diet.

    In my opinion there are better ways to cut and lose fat, such as eating a balanced diet with adaquate protein, carbs, fats, and increasing cardio. You do not have to cut back on carbs to lose fat, you usually have to cut back on calories or increase cardio. I eat what many would call a high-carb diet, yet I have under 5% body fat.
    Last edited by aka23; 02-27-2003 at 10:16 AM.

  11. #10
    Party of "No." Tryska's Avatar
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    the point of a low-carb diet is to minimize insulin response which is antithetical to losing fat.

    the point of ketogenic diet is to encourage ketosis. please get those straight before harping on the dangers of low-carb diets.

    if you have under 5% bodyfat, year-round, i wonder you don;t feel like sh*t most of the time.
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  12. #11
    Senior Member aka23's Avatar
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    Originally posted by Tryska
    the point of a low-carb diet is to minimize insulin response which is antithetical to losing fat.

    the point of ketogenic diet is to encourage ketosis. please get those straight before harping on the dangers of low-carb diets.
    It depends which low-carb diet you are talking about and how low carbohydrate intake you are talking about. If you eat a low to no carb diet that provides insuficient carbohydrates, you will make large amounts of ketone bodies to compensate for the lack of carbohydrates. As a result, you will start to accumulate these ketone bodies in your blood stream and you will enter ketosis. Ketosis is an essential component to many low-carb diets. I realize that there are some lower-carb type diets which do not encourage ketosis. I should have made this more clear in my post. Note that I did say "The idea behind many of these diets" (not all low-carb diets).

    if you have under 5% bodyfat, year-round, i wonder you don;t feel like sh*t most of the time.
    I have had a low body fat (3.5%-8%) for about ten years. During this time I have felt much better than I used to and I have had fewer illnesses/colds/injuries. My grades shot up in school, and I advanced beyond my grade level in all technical areas. Having low body fat does not require feeling bad. However, if you are on a low carb diet when having low body fat, then I think it increases the risk of feeling fatigued, irritable, and generally bad.
    Last edited by aka23; 02-27-2003 at 10:57 AM.

  13. #12
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    I'm with Tryska on this one.

    Despite what some may say, maintaining such low bodyfat percentages for long periods of time is quite unnatural, and therefore cannot but have significant, deleterious effects upon one's health. Even professional BB'ers, with all the pharmaceutical assistance money can buy, cannot maintain 3-5% BF for anything resembling a long period of time; yet you expect us to believe that you, without such assistance, do them one better? Come on.

    You've made some fairly outrageous claims here; I, for one, think it's time that you back them up. Post some proof.
    Last edited by _-_v_-_; 02-27-2003 at 12:02 PM.
    "human kind/
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    Time past and time future/
    What might have been and what has been / Point to one end, which is always present."

    -T.S. Eliot. "Four Quartets."

    "Redistribution [of wealth] is in effect far less a redistribution of free income from the richer to the poorer, as we [had] imagined, than a redistribution of power from the individual to the State."
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  14. #13
    Senior Member aka23's Avatar
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    Originally posted by _-_v_-_
    I'm with Tryska on this one.

    Despite what some may say, maintaining such low bodyfat percentages for long periods of time is quite unnatural, and therefore cannot but have significant, deleterious effects upon one's health. Even professional BB'ers, with all the pharmaceutical assistance money can buy, cannot maintain 3-5% BF for anything resembling a long period of time; yet you expect us to believe that you, without such assistance, do them one better? Come on.

    You've made some fairly outrageous claims here; I, for one, think it's time that you back them up. Post some proof.
    It is not unusual for athletes in cardio type sports to maintain low body fats for long periods of time. The table at http://www.lifelonghealth.org/body_comp/bc_athletes.htm lists the average body fat for persons in various sports. Male athletes in quite a few of those average low percentages. For example rock climbers 5-10%, gymnasts 5-10%, triathalon 5-11%. It follows that if these athletes trained all year round, like I do, they could maintain low body fat percentages all year round. Note that I spend more time doing cardio activities like running and cycling, than I do weighlifting (about 60% cardio, 40% lifting).

    It my understanding that the serious negative effects health effects you describe typically occur when body fat nears the essential body fat level. Most sources say this is about 3% for men (it varies for individuals).

    Note that I did not say I continually maintened a 3-5% BF. I said that I have I have had a low body fat (3.5%-8%) for about ten years. The ranges I gave were with tests reported at my gym. The two or three tests I have had in the past year have been close to 5%. Aslo note that until recently I did not use supplementation. (I recently started taking a EFA supplements and a multivitamin/mineral.) If you want me to post proof of my specific stats, I do not see how that would be possible. This is not some new claim I just through out of the hat. I listed my height, weight and BF stats in my second post on this site.
    Last edited by aka23; 02-27-2003 at 01:38 PM.

  15. #14
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    Low BF% is one thing; 5% is another.

    One is healthful and relatively easy to maintain (I currently am proof of this); the other, barring pharmaceutical assistance, is not.

    You ignored my main point; surely, if it takes professional athletes massive pharmaceutical enhancement to attain such low BF percentages, percentages which are all too often transitory, you cannot expect us to believe that you naturally maintain a true 5% bodyfat year round.

    Most atheletes require high (relative to your five percent) levels of bodyfat; it is a protective mechanism. Furthermore, the reported estimates of athlete's BF%s are often unrealistically low. NFL receivers, for example, are often reported to have sub-6% bodyfat; this, of course, as anyone who has taken a tackle knows, is an utter joke. In reality, these athletes are likely at least 10%-12% BF; they cannot afford to be any less.

    If you want me to post proof of my specific stats, I do not see how that would be possible.
    Camera. Photo. Scanner.

    Voila.

    Listen, I respect your position; you have acquitted yourself well in your discussions here. I merely do not want to give the members of this board, particularly those new to dieting and training, the impression that such low BF%s are healthy, easily maintained, and therefore realistic and attainable goals. Unfortunately, they are not.
    "human kind/
    Cannot bear very much reality/
    Time past and time future/
    What might have been and what has been / Point to one end, which is always present."

    -T.S. Eliot. "Four Quartets."

    "Redistribution [of wealth] is in effect far less a redistribution of free income from the richer to the poorer, as we [had] imagined, than a redistribution of power from the individual to the State."
    -Jouvenal

    Fear me, I am the bandersnatch.
    -Paul Stagg

  16. #15
    Senior Member aka23's Avatar
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    Originally posted by _-_v_-_
    oYu ignored my main point; surely, if it takes professional athletes massive pharmaceutical enhancement to attain such low BF percentages, percentages which are all too often transitory, you cannot expect us to believe that you naturally maintain a true 5% bodyfat year round.
    I disagree. It does not take a pro athlete on drugs to maintain a 5% body fat. The page at http://www.lambtonhealth.on.ca/youth/teamweight.asp says it is common for boys to "enter puberty with about 5% body fat." I believe that are plenty of recrational exercisers as well as lucky naturally lean guys who maintain very low body fats year round,. Unfortunately at this time I only have data on athletes. On the page at http://www.healthcentral.com/cooltoo...s/bodyfat1.cfm , Covert Bailey says top athletes typically test between 3-12% with underwater emersion and he has tested a guy with as low as 1% body fat.

    I do not want to give the impression that this low a body fat comes without effort. I often work out more than 10 hours per week, doing several types of cardio and weightlifting. I expect that I push myself as hard as many top athletes. I also eat a carefully controlled diet.

    Originally posted by _-_v_-_
    Camera. Photo. Scanner.

    Voila.
    I took a photo a few minutes ago with my digital camera. I have sent you a private message with a link to the photo. If you do not believe it is me, I could make other photos holding specific objects, with specific poses, etc. I do not want to post photos on the message board for privacy reasons.
    Last edited by aka23; 02-28-2003 at 08:14 AM.

  17. #16
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    I understand completely, and commend your willingness to do what you can to support your claim. This is why WBB works.

    One percent bodyfat? I highly, HIGHLY, doubt that; quite frankly, he would likely be dead. There are health risks associated with bodyfat percentages five times that high: "However, athletes often try to seek a body fat level that is arbitrarily low and this can increase the frequency of illness, increase the risk of injury, lengthen the time the athlete can return to training following an injury, reduce performance, and increase the risk of an eating disorder." From:http://users.compaqnet.be/cn000760/drugsandmedicine-bodyfat.html[/URL]

    Again: if the most chemically-enhanced athletes in the world (pro BBers) cannot maintain true sub-5% levels for extended periods of time, why should one think that other, less enhanced athletes can do the same? It simply doesn't make any sense.
    "human kind/
    Cannot bear very much reality/
    Time past and time future/
    What might have been and what has been / Point to one end, which is always present."

    -T.S. Eliot. "Four Quartets."

    "Redistribution [of wealth] is in effect far less a redistribution of free income from the richer to the poorer, as we [had] imagined, than a redistribution of power from the individual to the State."
    -Jouvenal

    Fear me, I am the bandersnatch.
    -Paul Stagg

  18. #17
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    Boys on average enter pubert with 5% BF?

    In this age, I highly doubt that. The average now is most likely much higher.
    "human kind/
    Cannot bear very much reality/
    Time past and time future/
    What might have been and what has been / Point to one end, which is always present."

    -T.S. Eliot. "Four Quartets."

    "Redistribution [of wealth] is in effect far less a redistribution of free income from the richer to the poorer, as we [had] imagined, than a redistribution of power from the individual to the State."
    -Jouvenal

    Fear me, I am the bandersnatch.
    -Paul Stagg

  19. #18
    Party of "No." Tryska's Avatar
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    technically, if one was only 1% body fat, they would most likely be brain dead. considering the brain is mostly fat too. and needs to be that way.


    here's a good rule of thumb....honestly whatever someone says their bodyfat is, add another 4 or 5 percent to that. People underestimate, just how much fat actually exists, on purpose in the body. (ie your brain, cushioning for your internal organs, etc, etc)
    A little learning is a dangerous thing...

    Live Dangerously! Learn a Little!


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  20. #19
    Senior Member aka23's Avatar
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    The page said Covert tested the guy with the underwater weighing method, and the test said he was 1%. He was not just taking the guy's word for it. However, I have already posted that most sources say essential body fat for men is usually about 3%. This is the fat this required for the brain, cushing organs, etc. Most likely the 1% reading was incorrect due to an atypical bone density. No test methods are perfect, but underwater weiging is one of the most reliable ways of testing body fat.
    Last edited by aka23; 02-28-2003 at 08:19 AM.

  21. #20
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    Exactly.

    I know that, when I was at my worst point (psychologically as well as physically), I dipped down to about 5%; and, surprise, I looked, and felt, like sh!t.
    "human kind/
    Cannot bear very much reality/
    Time past and time future/
    What might have been and what has been / Point to one end, which is always present."

    -T.S. Eliot. "Four Quartets."

    "Redistribution [of wealth] is in effect far less a redistribution of free income from the richer to the poorer, as we [had] imagined, than a redistribution of power from the individual to the State."
    -Jouvenal

    Fear me, I am the bandersnatch.
    -Paul Stagg

  22. #21
    Senior Member hemants's Avatar
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    "I kinda get confused in deciding which kinda of diets I should do"

    For the most part, I think that a balanced diet is all that is required to meet your goals. There is a wide variance in what is considered balanced but as long as you are getting sufficient protein and adequate essential fatty acids and making up the rest in healthy carbohydrates, you can achieve your goals.

    That being said, your confusion might be put into context by the fact that it is very difficult to gain muscle and lose fat at the same time.

    That is why people go through bulking cycles and cutting cycles and empirical wisdom has found that more carbs during bulking and fewer carbs during cutting are sometimes effective.

    Personally, I found that reducing calories but staying with the same percentages was equally effective for cutting but everyone is different.

    I am speaking, however, only in terms of diets that result in the normal metabolic pathways being used to process nutrients (as opposed to things like ketogenic diets)
    If the only thing you are holding is a hammer, everything looks like a nail.

  23. #22
    Feed me weird things. fuzz's Avatar
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    Not to mention the effects of low leptin levels, since being at 5-8% bodyfat year round means you must be below your setpoint, resulting in all sorts of problems. Unless you are one of the lucky few whose genetics are set to have a low set-point.

  24. #23
    Senior Member aka23's Avatar
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    Originally posted by _-_v_-_
    Again: if the most chemically-enhanced athletes in the world (pro BBers) cannot maintain true sub-5% levels for extended periods of time, why should one think that other, less enhanced athletes can do the same? It simply doesn't make any sense.
    It is my understanding that most pro bodybuilders follow a cutting stage where they try to attain a low body fat, and a building stage where they try to build muscle. They accept that body fat will probably increase for optimal muscle gain during the building stage. I do not think the problem is that they cannot attain a low body fat (under 8%) all year round. I think the problem is they cannot maintain all their muscle and make optimal gains while following such a program. Athletes in other sports have different goals, and are often not as concerned with building and maintaining muscle. For example distance runners are probably not as concerned about building/maintaining muscle as pro bodybuilders. And some distance runners can and do maintain low body fat (under 8%) all year round. (The page I linked to earlier with althlete's body fat percentages showed the range of average body fat for male middle distance runners at 8% or less.)
    Last edited by aka23; 02-28-2003 at 09:37 AM.

  25. #24
    Senior Member aka23's Avatar
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    Originally posted by _-_v_-_
    Exactly.

    I know that, when I was at my worst point (psychologically as well as physically), I dipped down to about 5%; and, surprise, I looked, and felt, like sh!t.
    I do not doubt that you felt worse at a lower body fat. However, that does not neccesarily mean that the lower body fat caused your feelings. There are many other possible explanations. For example you may have been following a low-carb cutting diet which is associated with fatigue, irritability, and generally feeling bad. You may have been dehydrating yourself to prepare for a competetition. Again this can cause you to feel bad. You may have been cutting your calories. You may have been feeling general effects of a diet or supplementation. You may have been doing new cardio exercises that your body was not used to. Or you may just have a higher natural body fat set point than some. The possibilities are endless.

    In my case, I eat the same way and follow approximately the same training program all year round. There are no low-carb, low-water, or low-calorie diets. I eat what I have learned makes me feel well, and avoid foods and meals that do not. After changing my diet and exercie rountine my asthma was eliminated, my allergies greatly improved, I stopped getting headaches or feeling nausea after eating certain meals, my body looked far better, my cardiovascular fitness improved dramatically, I had fewer illnesses, and generally felt much better. This is true both for the periods in which I was tested at my lowest body fat and the period in which my body fat tested near 8% (freshmen year of college). If anything I felt worse when I was near 8% body fat than the lower body fat. This probably was related to overtraining by being on a sports team while trying to continue my usual exercise program.
    Last edited by aka23; 02-28-2003 at 10:15 AM.

  26. #25
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    Originally posted by aka23
    In my opinion, you should not be following a low carb diet period. The idea behind many of these diets is that the low carb/high fat intake causes your body to enter ketosis, which suppreses hunger. Less hunger makes it easier to eat fewer calories and lose weight.

    The decreased carbs cause glycogen depletion in your liver and muscles, which makes it difficult to complete your workouts. The glyogen is accompanied by a lot of water, and sodium excretion increases. This causes excessive water loss (sometimes dehydration) and makes it look like the pounds are coming off on the scale, when most of the initial weight loss is actually water. There also is a good chance of muscle loss since a low carb diet encourages the body to break down muscles for energy. In many cases, there is little change in overall body fat levels.

    There may be some health and nutritional risks associated with this diet as well. Some of these possible risks are Fatigue, Dehydration, Constipation, Muscle weakness, Irritability, Vitamin/Mineral/Fiber/Nutritional defficiencies, Elevated blood cholesterol and triglyceride levels, Kidney problems, Calcium depletion. (I realize that there is some debate about the last 3.) To my knowledge low carb diets are not recommended for weight loss by the AHA, the ADA, other well known large US health organizations, or the general scientific/medical community. Some well known groups, like the AHA, condemn this type of diet.

    I want to see evidence of this. And I don't mean material published by these US health organizations but controlled studies backing up your claims.

    A low carb diet is not unhealthy, does not mean one is depriving himself of essential nutrients (unlike the diet you have been on), does not cause kidney problems, is not low in fiber because most carbs should come from green vegetables, does not raise cholesterol because it should be high in omega 3, irritability goes away after your body has adjusted to the diet, dehydration only happens if you don't drink enough water (Duh!!), etc, etc.

    Those were some bold claims and I want to see you prove it.
    Last edited by restless; 02-28-2003 at 12:04 PM.

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