3 Myths Surrounding Fitness Meal Plans

Fitness Meal Plans

As the premier Personal Trainers in Sacramento, we’re committed to dispensing actionable information that’ll make a profound difference in your body transformation journey through fitness meal plans.   

There are many myths about nutrition, and it’s important to sift through the information to figure out what’s true and what’s false. Planning can help you achieve a body transformation and hit fitness goals.  

It can be challenging to find truths in a world where companies are looking to lure you in to buy the next “must-have” supplement, meal service, or gadget. This article addresses myths surrounding carbs being “bad,” eating your favorite foods, and skipping meals while pursuing weight loss. We’ll be covering each myth in detail and providing clarity on each topic to alleviate confusion and uncover the truth.  

Carbs Are Bad For Fitness Meal Plans

The idea that carbs are “bad” is one of the most prevalent nutrition myths of all time. Flip open any health magazine, and you’re sure to find something written about carbs, whether it’s good or bad.  

The infatuation with carbohydrates began in the late 90s and early 2000s with the rising popularity of the Atkin’s Diet. Since that time, carbohydrates have been pegged as one of the main contributors to weight gain. Foods like bread, pasta, and whole grains get placed in the “do not eat” category.  

There are three different types of carbohydrates found in food: sugar, starch, and fiber. Carbs are essential to your health because they provide energy, maintain bowel health, reduce cholesterol levels, lower the risk of cardiovascular disease, type two diabetes, and bowel cancer. Carbohydrates also contain fewer calories per gram (4 kcal) than fat (9 kcal).  

Lack of nutrients  

Eliminating a macronutrient means that you’re removing essential vitamins and minerals. Avoiding carbs means you won’t be getting enough potassium, B vitamins, and vitamin C. Increased urination is common with carb restriction, leading to sodium and potassium deficiencies over time.  

“Nighttime carb consumption will make you fat”

The fear-mongering surrounding nighttime carb consumption is substantial. The cautionary myth here is that your metabolism will slow down, and the carbs consumed will have a much greater chance of being stored as fat (versus eating earlier in the day and burning as fuel). Layne Norton, Ph.D. has done extensive research on this topic. After carefully examining several studies, he concludes that “it does not appear that the average overall energy expenditure during sleep differs to the resting metabolic rate during the day. Training hard will help increase your metabolic rate during sleep. The influence of quality resistance training profoundly impacts body transformation and the rate of gains and should be a part of your fitness meal plans.   

Carbs fuel performance 

Carbohydrates are an essential energy source during exercise, and therefore, should be factored into your fitness meal plans. During short, heavy training, it may be the only energy source for the working muscles. If you’re active and moving your body, you’re an athlete. As an athlete, you shouldn’t be avoiding carbs. Body transformations focused on fat loss are still built on the principle of energy and versus energy out. In other words, pay attention to your calorie intake and output. Calories matter!

“Avoid carbs altogether. They’re not essential.”  

Significant body transformation thrives from consistent physical activity (lifting weights, cardio, and non-exercise activity) and nutrition. If you’re training hard regularly, you must consume the right foods and nutrients to help your body recover, regenerate, build muscle and improve performance.

Here’s a list of issues associated with removing carbs from the diet:

  • Decreased thyroid output
  • Increased cortisol output
  • Decreased testosterone
  • Impaired mood and cognitive function
  • Muscle catabolism
  • Hormonal deficiencies
  • Suppressed immune function
  • Headaches
  • Constipation and low energy

As you can imagine, none of these bulleted points are desirable in any situation, much less while aiming to improve body composition. Since the extreme restriction of carbs means eliminating foods high in fiber (fruits, beans, vegetables, etc.), it can cause bowel irregularity, often leading to constipation and digestive discomfort.  

The critical takeaway is this: don’t fear carbs in your fitness meal plans. They serve a valuable purpose for daily body processes and for individuals who train hard, and eliminating carbs is highly restrictive and most likely unnecessary.

You Can’t Eat Your Favorite Foods and Lose Weight

Let’s address this myth and have some fun doing it. Mark Haub, a professor of human nutrition at Kansas State University, is known as the Twinkie guy. Over ten weeks of consuming a diet exclusively of Twinkies, Doritos, Oreos, and other treats, Mark lost 27 pounds.

How on earth is this humanly possible?

He consumed fewer calories than he burned.

Even the most atrocious diet in the world will rarely only consist of the sweet treats Mark consumed for ten consecutive weeks. It’s hard to fathom eating Twinkies and Doritos every time you’re hungry. The main takeaway is that you can absolutely eat your favorite foods and still lose weight. Mark proved it in the most extreme way possible.  

It comes down to calories. A caloric deficit is the primary driver of weight loss.  

Skipping Meals Will Help You Lose Weight

Skipping meals is neither practical nor healthy for losing weight or achieving body transformation and should NOT be part of any healthy fitness meal plans. Successful weight loss involves making small changes that you’re able to adhere to for an extended period. Skipping meals is rarely an effective strategy that you can sustain for the long haul.

Why do people skip meals? Skipping meals means you’re not eating, and by not eating, people think they are doing a stellar job at accelerating the weight loss process. However, this is short-sighted, extreme, and not sustainable. In the process of reducing calories by skipping meals, you’re depriving your body of food for no logical reason. You can achieve the same weight loss goals using a far less radical approach. 

As we touched on earlier, the ideal path to body transformation includes a combination of resistance training and nutritional strategies to help your fuel those efforts, recover from the exercise stress and build lean muscle. The more active you are, the more calories you’ll need to maintain your activity.

Instead of skipping meals altogether, consider eating smaller meals more frequently throughout the day. Just remember, to lose weight, you need to burn more calories than you consume. Achieving a caloric deficit can be accomplished by eating less, moving more, or ideally combining both.