Another wonderful Workout Wednesday post! This week’s topic is related to this great book I’m reading called Which Comes First, Cardio or Weights? by Alex Hutchinson which tackles many exercise myths. The book is structured as a series of questions followed by the scientific findings that either prove or disprove the myth commonly associated with that question. For instance, which should we do first, cardio or weights? Well, according to Hutchinson’s findings it depends on what your focus is. your muscles actually produce different enzymes depending on what exercise you focus on. You cannot become both a great marathoner and a fabulous body-builder because the types and amount of muscle those sports require is vastly different. Your body is therefor “set” by whatever exercise you start first. So, if you’re focus is cardio do your run first.
My other favorite topics from this book:
1. Will running ruin my knees?
What studies have found is that non-runners develop more cases of osteoarthritis than runners. Occasional aches are part of the exercise process, but running may actually do more to protect your knees in the long run. This may be due to the fact that packing on extra poundage is more common in non-runners, and that extra weight plays a much greater role in knee deterioration.
2. Should I carbo-load the night before a competition?
Pasta dinners are a common theme among many cross country teams. The reasoning behind this is that your body will store the extra carbs and allow you to utilize them the following day in competition. However, there has been no evidence to suggest that athletes benefit from additional carbohydrates the night before. In order to really store enough carbohydrates one would have to consume 10g of carbs per kilogram of weight. That’s roughly equivalent to 10 plates of pasta. Not only is that a lot of pasta but you’re more likely to perform poorly the next day because you feel so sick.
3. Can drinking slushies boost performance on a hot day?
This is fun one! Yes! Drinking a slushie in hot weather has been shown to reduce body temperature because not only are you drinking a cold beverage, your body also has to convert the slushie into liquid, a phase change which releases energy and additionally cools the body. Slushie drinkers compared to non-slushie drinkers have been shown to last longer in competition by about 10 mins and show lower body temperatures by about 1*F.
4. Will having a few drinks affect my workout the next day?
Studies have shown, it depends on what you mean by a few. :) Moderate drinking i.e. 1-2 drinks has not been shown to have any affect on performance. Yay! In fact, light drinking has been shown to have 20-40% lower risk of heart disease. Yahoo! In order for alcohol to affect performance, one has to consume relative large quantities of alcohol, like over 6 bottles of 5% alcohol beer. So save that for the post-competition fun.
That’s all for this week! And grab a copy of this book! It’s a fun + interesting read.