Flick channels for just 5 minutes and there's a strong chance you'll come across some form of reality TV. Regardless of your opinion on the shows, there is no denying their popularity and influence. This can prove a bit of a problem with issues like health and fitness, though.
Take Mark Wright from The Only Way Is Essex, who claimed that you cannot run for longer than 20 minutes without burning muscle.
The first question is, where did this info come from? Everyone should be free to have their say, but you need to back up your claims with evidence. For example, when I wrote a piece on Diet Soda/Fizzy Drinks for TigerFitness.com, I tracked down a professor who is an expert in the field. Wright offers no reference to reinforce his point. Who's to say he didn't just overhear it down the pub?
As for the claim itself, Wright would have a hard time telling professional athletes their competitions/games go on too long to retain muscle. Muscle mass can be protected from cardiovascular/endurance activity by adequate intake of amino acids (protein). Energy for your muscles can also be gained from carbohydrates, which will be stored as muscle glycogen. Max Bridger from LDNMuscle also offers some helpful tips on cardio in the above Daily Mail article.
When these reality TV 'eads aren't coming out with crazy statements, they're usually putting their names to a product. Next up is Aaron C from Geordie Shore. I couldn't really be bothered to look up his surname in all honesty.
You can see that he's marketing a product called 'Eat Clean Tea', which apparently boosts fat burning by 25%. Again, this figure may as well have been picked out of thin air. If it was any better a fat burner than a basic cup of coffee or green tea, you'd know about it already. Mr C also needs to realise that people pick up on what they see, as well as what's written. That in mind, if you're going to flog a fitness product, you should probably make an effort to remove your 10-pack of duty free fags from the background of your picture.
Detox tea in general is a bullsh*t supplement. You simply do not need it. If your body couldn't detox without a special drink, you would be dying, dead or at least under 24/7 medical supervision at an Intensive Care Unit. Your lungs, liver, blood and skin (to name a few areas) are all detoxifying as you read this. Sleep also helps to remove toxins and waste products from your body - one of the reasons why you typically need the bathroom as soon as you wake up. If you just need a pre-workout boost, save your money and buy a strong coffee. I'm a fan of Nescafe Azera (espresso version) before training. It's a couple of quid in the supermarket, probably 10-20% of what you'd be paying for these magic teas.
There's nothing wrong with looking to a celebrity for advice, in the same way that there isn't anything wrong with taking tips from a friend. Just try and consider 2 main things:
- Where's the info coming from - have they researched the topic or just going on word of mouth?
- What is their motive - are they trying to help you or just sell a product?