Diet Diary: Fitness Myths – Is a “Cheat Day” Helpful? Calories, Diet Drinks, Gluten and More


By: Siddiqu the Personal Trainer

This is simple: Don’t let incorrect information about nutrition and fitness mess up your goals. Let’s explore some common myths and lay out some facts about each one.

Cheat Days – Cheat days feel like a well-deserved reward, but just one big meal could pack on enough calories to return the pounds you worked hard to lose during the week. If you feel the need to splurge, be sure to minimize your portions.

“Sweating more means you’re working harder” – I saw a guy in two sauna suits working out, and all I could do was shake my head. Sweating is not necessarily an indicator of exertion – it’s your body’s way of cooling itself. It’s possible to burn a significant number of calories without breaking a sweat.

Drinking your calories – There’s going to be a party tonight, so you skip meals to save up on calories. But drinking on an empty stomach can weaken your immune system and increase your risk of alcohol poisoning if you overdo it.

Crunches – Contrary to popular belief, crunches are not the best way to slim down your waist. You’ll get much better results with performing sprints, climbing stairs, or jumping rope.

Going gluten-free – The verdict is in. Unless you have celiac disease (that’s only 1% of the population), cutting gluten won’t help you shed pounds.

Cutting your calories by more than half – Cutting your calories severely will help you drop pounds in the short term. But when you eat less than 70% of the calories you need per day, you lose muscle mass instead of fat.

Sticking to one food group – The cabbage soup diet, the grapefruit diet, the candy diet: cutting all but one of the food groups may make you lose weight. Unfortunately, super-restricted diets are almost impossible to maintain. They also make you more likely to binge once you go back to eating regularly.

Diet drinks – The chemicals that replace sugar in diet drinks actually make you gain weight.

Treating all calories equal – 100 calories worth of cake and 100 calories worth of apples are not created equal. Junk calories can cause spikes in hunger, more easily store themselves as fat and are harder to burn off. And because they’re empty calories, they won’t fill you up and it will tempt you to eat more later.

Water and weight loss – While swimming is great for increasing lung capacity, toning muscles, and even helping to burn off excess tension, the surprising truth is that unless you are swimming for hours a day, it may not help you lose much weight.

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    About Author

    Siddiqu is an International Sports Sciences Association (ISSA, ACE (American Council of Exercise), NFPT (National Federation of Personal Training) Certified Personal Trainer, IHSA certified coach, as well as a Boxing Fitness Trainer. Siddiqu is a regular guest on You, Me, and the Morning on WCIU and was also featured on R&B Divas Atlanta. A contributor to The Gospel Tribune, Final Call Newspaper, and many more publications. Siddiqu’s clientele ranges from professional athletes to CEO’s. His educational background includes a B.A. in Marketing from DePaul University, and he is currently pursuing an MBA/MS from Loyola University Chicago.

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