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eric chan
(bearbreeder) - F
THE 10 BIGGEST FITNESS MYTHS - Outside on 12/18/2011 03:09:20 MST Print View

complete set of articles at link below ...

Myth #1: Stretching prevents injuries and improves performance.
Myth #2: Running barefoot is better for the body.
Myth #3: You need to focus on your core to become a better athlete.
Myth #4: Guzzling water and electrolytes before a race prevents cramps.
Myth #5: Popping ibuprofen before a hard workout prevents sore muscles afterward.
Myth #6: Dehydration hurts race performance.
Myth #7: Ice baths speed recovery.
Myth #8: Long and slow is the best way to burn calories.
Myth #9: Fructose is a performance killer.
Myth #10: Supplements take performance to the next level.

Hiking Malto
(gg-man) - F
Junk Science on 12/18/2011 07:27:43 MST Print View

I didn't go through each of these myths but one of them caught my eye, the one about dehydration. Here is a quote from their supporting argument:

"Results from endurance events seem to bear that out: during the 2009 Mont-Saint-Michel Marathon in France, researchers measured the weight loss of 643 competitors and compared it with their finish times. The runners who lost the most water weight were also the fastest. Most of those who finished in less than three hours lost at least 3 percent of their body weight to sweat."

Could it be that the fastest runners were also in the best shape or have been able to train to perform at increased levels of dehydration? That factor alone could offset the performance difference between say 3.5% water loss and 3% loss. They declare it a myth but I will continue to manage my hydration.

The funny thing about the "science" of nutrition is that so called experts continue to have so many conflicting views on what is important or not.

Tom Kirchner
(ouzel) - MLife

Locale: Pacific Northwest/Sierra
Re: Junk Science on 12/18/2011 16:35:22 MST Print View

"They declare it a myth but I will continue to manage my hydration."

+1 Dehydration is a process that proceeds along a continuum that begins when you lose your 1st gram of water, either from sweating, urination, respiration, or defeCation(foiling the potty police here). At some point, if fluid loss continues, a person's athletic performance will suffer. Apparently, that point was not reached for the people in their example. I can cite personal experience as an anecdote to the contrary. I ran 4 sub 3 hour road marathons back in the early 80's in mostly cool to moderate conditions, with no apparent effects from dehydration. Fast forward to the mid 90's when I ran 3 trail marathons in very hot conditions that took me 5:15, 4:40, and 4:16 to complete. The 5:20 effort ended with a trip to the emergency ward with heat exhaustion that required a 2 liter infusion of H2O/electrolytes to treat. The 4:40 effort left me very obviously dehydrated but not in dire straits. The 4:16 effort left me tired but in decent shape physiologically. Notice the correlation between elapsed time and dehydration. My point is that fluid loss over time will lead to decreased performance and possibly life threatening heat exhaustion. There has been enough written on the subject that I will not bother collecting a bunch of links to "prove" my point. Google it up for yourself, Eric. Like Greg, I will assiduously manage my hydration, quite simply because I have seen what happens when I do not.

spelt with a t
(spelt) - F

Locale: SW/C PA
critical readings on 12/18/2011 17:59:03 MST Print View

While I've seen some science blogging supporting some of these and examining some of the studies cited, I notice there's only one or two studies listed per myth. Hardly enough to draw conclusions, especially without critiquing the methodologies used for the studies. But hey, they gotta draw eyes.

James White
(derizen) - F
these 'myths' can be interpreted a multitude of ways on 12/18/2011 19:39:49 MST Print View

Some of these lack definitive statements. I can interpret each a multitude of ways. Even when the myth is stated correctly, the explanation is not.

Myth #2: Running barefoot is better for the body.
They argue that running barefoot is not better, because we've all spent years in shoes so we run wrong. When their test subjects ran barefoot, many of them continued to run with an unhealthy form. What they failed to cover is any mention of how running form affects injury statistics. A real experiment would be to teach people how to run without landing directly on the heel, then see how people do barefoot.

Myth #6: Dehydration hurts race performance.

This one doesn't give any facts about when the racer is dehydrated. I drink 2 gallons of water a day. During a race, I might drink no water. At the end of the race, I'll be dehydrated, but that doesn't hurt my performance, because I was very well hydrated up until the second I started running.

Now how about I drink only 1 glass of water a day the week leading up to the race. I will be very dehydrated and it will affect my performance.

Aaron Croft
(aaronufl) - M

Locale: Oregon
Really? on 12/18/2011 20:32:46 MST Print View

Citing one study per myth doesn't really "bust" anything. This is what happens when journalists try to use statistics.

Joslyn Bloodworth
(JoslynB) - F

Locale: Southwest
Myths on 12/18/2011 22:04:37 MST Print View

I really have an issue with #2. People and experts have been fighting against the idea that the body is made perfectly and that science can't do better than what we are born with. While it is true that barefoot running isn't something that should be done without any transition, they almost make it sound like it's some sort of fringe idea that is a waste of time to consider if you grew up wearing shoes and that it can only help a select few issues. That's just not true. The list of pain and injuries that barefoot running can cure is long. Many of the people I know who have made the switch say that issues had and issues they didn't even realize they were having were improving every day. Truth: The body works best when we try to work with the system instead of trying to "fix" what isn't broken.

I also think #6 is well meaning but ultimately not the best advice, especially for lower impact, non cardio activities. Growing up in Az I can tell you that dehydration can sneak up on you and debilitate the body before you ever realize you're thirsty. While guzzling is not the solution, we were taught growing up that you always have a drink on hand to keep a consistent, even intake of liquids while doing long term activities.

eric chan
(bearbreeder) - F
Myths on 12/18/2011 22:15:04 MST Print View

Ive felt dehydrated half way up a 12 pitch climb and i assure you it wasnt pretty ....

I posted the above to see what other bpl members thought

My view is that i agree with some, diasagree with others, an just dont know enough about the rest

I find it interesting how its in outside as myths, i think they may be taking instances that apply to certain groups and applying it with a broad brush

But it IS generating page views for them ;)

David Thomas
(DavidinKenai) - MLife

Locale: North Woods. Far North.
Re: THE 10 BIGGEST FITNESS MYTHS - Outside on 12/19/2011 00:19:14 MST Print View

On #2 (barefoot), Archeologists keep pushing back the age at which humans started wearing shoes. We're back tens of thousands of years now which (a) blows the idea of running barefoot like a hunter gatherer out of the water and (b) explains why we have tender and underpadded feet.

On #6 (don't pop ibuprofen before a hard workout) they quote some anecdotal reports and an editotal in a medical journal. But there was a reviewed article in a medical journal saying the same thing. My wife (MD) and her partners were all surprised but accepted the new data. Like many docs and athletes, they assumed that having an anti-inflammatory on board would reduce inflammation during an atheletic event. But it doesn't - it was only ever an assumption. And these are all pretty smart and certainly engaged docs. One serious soccer player / coach, one competitive masters rower (my wife) and a dog musher who's done a few Iditarods (1100 miles in 2 weeks). So I've switched from popping Advil routinely during a death march to using it only if some pain comes up during or afterwards. Seems to work as well or better for me and less drugs is often the better approach.

Joslyn Bloodworth
(JoslynB) - F

Locale: Southwest
Re: Re: THE 10 BIGGEST FITNESS MYTHS - Outside on 12/19/2011 08:18:21 MST Print View

While you are right about the shoes bit, if you look at the type of shoes that people were wearing they were shoes with no heel. The real issue with running in tennis shoes with heels. You don't have to run without shoes to run with a natural barefoot sytle motion. What you're talking about is that Acheaologists are finding that older societies did indeed wear foot protection, but not foot altering protection.

Arapiles .
(Arapiles) - M

Locale: Melbourne
Re: THE 10 BIGGEST FITNESS MYTHS - Outside on 12/19/2011 23:01:28 MST Print View

"Myth #1: Stretching prevents injuries and improves performance."

My experience is that the only times I pulled muscles (like my hamstring) was when I didn't stretch first.

I first saw claims that stretching to prevent injury was a "myth" about 5 or 6 years ago on the basis of a very limited study in Queensland. Outside quote a "study" on just 10 people which didn't actually look at injury rates. The claim was that the people in the study ran further using less energy by not stretching. Even presuming that all other factors were the same, that doesn't address the injury issue. I'd've like to then see them then do a series of sharp 100% sprints to see what muscles they tore.

The Outside report also argues that stretching doesn't prevent over-use injuries - this is a straw man, because no-one has ever suggested that it would. If you do all your running on hard surfaces then you will damage yourself in the long run, regardless of how you warm up.

Leslie Thurston
(lesler) - F

Locale: right here, right now
"THE 10 BIGGEST FITNESS MYTHS - Outside" on 12/20/2011 07:31:09 MST Print View

so i've found/continue to find that despite what ANY current literature boasts, time and again, it whittles to individuality. my .02 precisely: if you train long and hard enough, you develop an intimacy with your body that repeatedly outweighs black ink. trust logic and sturdy intuition. betetr still, if ain't broke, why fix it? leslie

Eugene Smith
(Eugeneius) - MLife

Locale: Nuevo Mexico
"THE 10 BIGGEST FITNESS MYTHS - Outside" on 12/20/2011 07:39:50 MST Print View

+1 to Leslie's comment.

Joe Clement
(skinewmexico) - MLife

Locale: Southwest
THE 10 BIGGEST FITNESS MYTHS - Outside on 12/20/2011 08:24:37 MST Print View

I think the USTA quit recommending static stretching back in the 90s, and started recommending dynamic stretching. There are several studies out showing a loss of power due to stretching before exercise.

Todd T
(texasbb) - F

Locale: Pacific Northwest
Re: THE 10 BIGGEST FITNESS MYTHS - Outside on 12/20/2011 18:21:42 MST Print View

"I think the USTA quit recommending static stretching back in the 90s, and started recommending dynamic stretching. There are several studies out showing a loss of power due to stretching before exercise."

Good link. This seems like a no-brainer to me. Lots of things that are good for performance should not be done right before the performance. Like, say, working muscles to exhaustion in the gym or stretching the daylights out of them. Both of those can be good as part of a training regimen, but it seems to me that before a performance, muscles need to be warmed up, not exhausted or stretched.

Arapiles .
(Arapiles) - M

Locale: Melbourne
Re: THE 10 BIGGEST FITNESS MYTHS - Outside on 12/20/2011 19:24:28 MST Print View

"I think the USTA quit recommending static stretching back in the 90s, and started recommending dynamic stretching. There are several studies out showing a loss of power due to stretching before exercise."

That article is primarily about the same Florida University "study" that Outside Online referred to. As I noted above, it still fudges the injury issue. Let's be clear: stretching has always been about not pulling muscles - no one has ever proposed that it has any other effect. The sweat science author acknowledges this:

"I’m also not making any pronouncements about the role of stretching in general — after all, it’s still very possible (though highly controversial) that a regular stretching program might reduce injury rates."

For that reason the Outside article shouldn't refer to injury prevention as being a myth, because it doesn't provide any evidence that it is.

Tom Kirchner
(ouzel) - MLife

Locale: Pacific Northwest/Sierra
Re: THE 10 BIGGEST FITNESS MYTHS - Outside on 12/20/2011 19:54:17 MST Print View

"There are several studies out showing a loss of power due to stretching before exercise."

Most of the advice I've received from physical therapists, as well as from some really good runners, recommends stretching after exercise.

Mike M
(mtwarden) - MLife

Locale: Montana
Re: Re: THE 10 BIGGEST FITNESS MYTHS - Outside on 12/22/2011 08:20:05 MST Print View

interesting article, I do have some issues w/ their dehydration "myth"- while there is certainly a body of evidence pointing to the ills of drinking too much water in a endurance event, the opposite can have detrimental results as well- this is well documented as well

finding the right balance of hydration is going to vary by individual, environ and length of event- that's going to take some experimentation/experience to get right

I do like the idea of dynamic stretching before working out, gentle static stretching after working out

Jeff Hollis
(hyperslug) - MLife
dehydration on 12/22/2011 09:11:51 MST Print View

I know the study that was misinterpreted in the 70s has people saying still today that you need to drink 8 glasses of water. That was of course not the conclusion of the study but one of those misinterpretation that lives on.

When are they going to dispel the myth that beer is bad for you?

Brian Lewis
(brianle) - F

Locale: Pacific NW
stretching on 12/22/2011 10:23:05 MST Print View

"I do like the idea of dynamic stretching before working out, gentle static stretching after working out"

I don't disagree with this, and in normal life I find stretching to be a worth while thing to do. But just as a kind of "interesting point", I'll note that almost no thru-hikers I've ever spent time with seem to stretch. You might start out a long distance hike with the best of stretching intentions, but for most (certainly for me and all those I've hiked with) it quickly goes by the wayside. And I've never felt or heard of any negative consequences as a result.

It's kind of a special case, however, that a person is doing more or less the same kind of exercise all day, every day for months. I guess we just sort of get tuned up for it, so that stretching isn't needed for what's become just a 'normal' activity. The only times I've had leg (or any other) cramps were when I was deydrated and/or calorically deprived for a while, and then after the hike is over I might have a cramp or two as my legs adjust to *not* walking all the time.