Updated: May 4, 2021
Sorry, but more proteins, less carbs, and expensive pre-workouts do nothing for your fitness goals
I know that this post will rub some people the wrong way so, I want to make one thing clear before you continue reading:
I believe that gym/fitness coaches can bring you a lot of value when trying to achieve fitness goals.
In fact, my coach changed my life and helped me kickstart my weight loss journey.
But even though they can be super helpful, that doesn’t mean that your coach is the ultimate health resource in your life.
It’s easy to believe that if your coach looks perfect, what they say must be perfect too right?
Well unfortunately, that’s just not true.
In fact, some coaches offer advice which can be dangerous for your health or be counterproductive to your fitness goals… but they’ll never tell you that!
So, here are 7 things your gym coach will probably never tell you but which you should definitely know.
1. Most of them have very little medical or nutritional training
I think that fitness coaches who provide nutritional advice have the right mindset.
They recognise that only a combination of sports and nutrition will help you achieve your fitness and weight goals. That’s a good thing.
What isn’t so good, is when their nutritional advice goes wrong and causes health issues for their clients.
I’ve lost count of the number of patients I’ve seen who, following poor nutritional advice from a fitness coach, have put their health at risk.
The reason for this is that many (but not all) fitness coaches have very little medical and nutrition training.
Because of this, they take a “one size fits all” approach to nutrition which can lead to a host of problems like stomach acidity, reflux, constipation, issues linked with low carbohydrate diets, eating disorders and much more.
If you have a chronic medical condition and are prescribed a new diet by a fitness coach, it’s a good policy to have it checked by a dietitian or doctor first.
2. You don’t need that much protein
Yes, proteins are essential for muscle building, but there’s a limit to how much of it is useful for you.
Many of the coaches I talk to embrace the “more protein = more muscle” myth.
But, I guarantee you that no matter how much iron you pump at the gym, you don’t need as much protein as you think to maintain it.
In fact, excess protein means more calories... and all of those excess calories just get turned into fat (not muscle as you may think, but more on that later…).
So, all of those supplements like protein shakes or protein heavy meals and snacks are ultimately, adding to your fat reserves.
And I suppose that’s the last thing you want if you’re busy working out at the gym everyday.
3. Carbs aren’t that bad for you
Carbs get a lot of hate these days and some of the first people to point the finger are gym coaches.
I hear a lot of coaches telling their clients to avoid carbs like the plague, which is ironic, because they also tell them to binge on protein shakes and protein heavy foods.
Well, if your low carb/high protein diet is getting stricter, and your waistline isn’t getting any slimmer here’s why:
Proteins contain as many calories as carbs do!!! Check the calorie contents below:
Crazy right? And, since you don’t need as many proteins as you think to form muscle, all of that excess protein is also being converted straight to fat. And by cutting down drastically on the carbs, you also slow down your metabolism.
By the way, if you think that carbs a public enemy number 1, check out my blog where I tell you all about the importance of carbs here.
4. Fat cannot be converted directly to muscles
Turning fat into muscle is a myth. You cannot do it no matter how hard you try and no matter what your coach says.
Because here’s the truth:
Muscle and fat mass are completely different things and one cannot be converted into the other.
Difference in the fat tissues (left) and muscle tissues (right)
Source of photo: here
It's like fire into water. It’s just impossible. So, any diet which claims to do so is wrong and potentially harmful.
5. Expensive pre workouts are just high doses of caffeine (and some sugar)
A monthly dose of pre-workout supplements can easily cost you more than Rs 2000.
If your objective is to get better results at the gym, that money is wasted.
You would get better results by spending that money on improving your diet (or on a more knowledgeable coach).
The fact is that there’s absolutely zero scientific evidence to back the claim that pre-workout supplements help you get bigger muscles.
What they do instead, (since they’re packed with caffeine and sugar), is make you feel like you’ve got more energy for your workout.
So, instead of wasting your money, just have a good cup of coffee and some dried fruits before your workout. That’s all your body needs.
6. Fad diets don't’ work
Diets work as long as you're on the diet.
But I don't think you want to spend the rest of your life on a diet right?
All these fads that promise you the next miracle solution simply do not work, no matter what your coach says.
At best, fad diets provide only short term results, and at worst, they’ll set you up to fail and make you put on more weight in the future.
The worse with fad diets (and dieting in general), is that it depletes your body from essential nutrients. Your metabolism starts to slow down to prevent any further damage to your health and maintain only the necessary processes it needs to function.
In fact, dieting can make your metabolism slow down so much that it becomes a real pro at piling up extra kilos!
7. Their nutritional advice is for your looks, not your health.
Rock solid abs, bulging muscles, and a figure 8 body… we all obsess about the “perfect shape” but the truth is that our genes have a lot to do about how we look.
Trying to achieve what you consider to be the perfect shape might be harder for you than others.
It requires a lot of physical training and restrictive diets, to achieve and very rarely does it take your health into consideration.
For example, coaches sometimes advise their clients to eat small frequent meals throughout the day, to avoid carbs or replace their meals with protein shakes.
All this advice is often geared towards “looking” like you’re in shape, but it doesn’t mean that it’s the healthiest diet you can have.
In fact, it can leave gaps in your nutritional needs which can be very bad for your health. I see so many patients every month in my practice that have suffered from these very drastic diets.
Stomach pain, reflux, bloating, constipation, lack of concentration, excessive cravings or extreme weakness - do any of these symptoms ring any bell for you?
If you're in doubt, always ask a qualified professional aka a registered nutritionist or dietitian to work with you.
Health comes in different shapes and sizes!
Now if any of you are reading this and saying “I won’t be limited by my genes in my fitness goals”, I understand you.
You can achieve a body which fits your ideal of perfection if you work hard enough, but you must also accept all the consequences that come with this decision. That means constantly working out, and sticking to a strict diet to maintain the body you want. All of your life. It's up to you to decide if it's worth it.
Now I'm going to finish this post by repeating what I said at the start.
I don't mean to say personal trainers and coaches aren't professional. I believe they are experts in their scope of practice, which is exercise and fitness.
But when it comes to nutrition, it's best to get a second opinion.
I strongly believe in working with teams and sharing the knowledge, so if you're a personal coach and you would like to learn about nutrition and get your nutrition facts right - please get in touch.
Want more nutrition tips like these? Then check out the other articles on my blog, my Facebook page or Instagram.