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Myth busting for physical activity and nutrition

Supporting physical activity through good nutrition doesn’t need to be complicated.

While there are many myths and misconceptions about the connection between nutrition and physical movement, today, we’re going to get to the bottom of some of them.


Many people think that it’s impossible to gain muscle mass on a plant-based diet. This isn’t always the case! Animal-based foods (like meat, fish, poultry and dairy) contain higher levels of protein that is more easily absorbed by our bodies. However, you can still reach your daily protein requirements through eating a plant-based diet.

Legumes, beans, tofu, nuts, lentils and wholegrains are all great sources of plant-based protein. Consuming a protein-rich meal about one hour after exercise gives your body the best chance of recovery and building muscle. Our caramelised onion and lentil soup is a great protein-packed meal.

The type of exercise you do can also help support muscle growth. Weight bearing or resistance exercises are the best types of activities to help build strong muscles.


There’s lots of confusion about whether it’s best to exercise with a full stomach, or an empty stomach.

Having a light snack before a workout can help improve performance, as it provides your body with energy that is readily available for use. If eating before exercise makes you nauseous, then your body is probably more suited to exercising without eating. The choice comes down to what works best for you.

Remember that when it comes to maintaining a healthy weight, your diet and physical activity patterns as a whole are what counts.


Research has investigated the effect of caffeine on improving people’s ability to exercise for longer periods of time. There is some truth behind this statement. Caffeine can interfere with the parts of our brain that recognise pain and tiredness and can make us think we’re less tired than we actually are. This means we can exercise for longer.

It’s important to note that these benefits are usually seen in endurance events, such as long-distance running, and may cause tummy upsets for some people.


Caramelised Onion and Lentil Soup

Serves 4


  1. Heat the oil in a saucepan over a medium heat. Add the onions and cook gently for 10-15 minutes or until browned.
  2. Stir in garlic, ginger and spices and cook for 1 minute until fragrant.
  3. Add the lentils, vegetables and stock to the saucepan and simmer over medium heat for approximately 35 minutes, or until the vegetables are soft. Remove soup from stove then blend or process to a slightly chunky consistency.
  4. Stir through the milk and reheat gently without boiling.
  5. Combine the yoghurt and mint.
  6. To serve: top with swirl of mint yoghurt.



  • 2 tsp olive oil
  • 4 onions, finely sliced
  • 2 cloves garlic, crushed
  • 1 tsp grated fresh ginger, grated
  • 1 tsp garam masala
  • 1/2 tsp ground turmeric
  • 1/2 tsp ground black pepper
  • 1 x 400g tin brown lentils, drained and rinsed
  • 1 potato, finely chopped
  • 1 carrot, finely chopped
  • 2 cups (500mL) reduced salt vegetable stock
  • 1 cup (250mL) reduced fat milk
  • 200g reduced fat natural yoghurt
  • 1 tablespoon (15g) fresh mint, finely chopped


  1. Sports Dietitians Australia. Recovery Nutrition [Internet]. Cited 2021 May 21. Available from:
  2. Sports Dietitians Australia. Eating and Drinking Before Exercise [Internet]. Cited 2021 May 21. Available from:
  3. Spriet LL. Exercise and sport performance with low doses of caffeine. Sports Med [Internet]. 2014 Oct 30 [cited 2021 May 21 3];44(2):175-84. Available from:

Last updated: May 27, 2024 at: 12:43 pm