7 Muscle Building Myths To Avoid
Muscle Building Myth #1: You Can Build Muscle While On a Low-Carb/Low Calorie Diet.
This is a pretty common muscle building myth. The fact of the matter is your body can only make new muscle tissue while you’re in a caloric surplus, meaning that you’re consuming more calories than you are burning.
If you’re in a caloric deficit, then your body will be efficient at burning fat, not muscle building.
When you’re on a low calorie diet, you lack the necessary fuel to supply your muscles during your workouts. The same goes for being on a restricted carbohydrate diet.
You need to consume adequate amounts of high quality carbohydrates every day in order to support intense weight training sessions, which lead to optimal muscle growth.
When your body does not have enough fuel from carbohydrates, your workouts will suffer and as a result, your muscle gains will suffer as well.
It’s common for a competitive bodybuilder to be on a low carbohydrate diet prior to a competition. In the “cutting” phase, the bodybuilder’s goal shifts from muscle building to muscle maintenance.
Also in the “cutting” phase, workouts and diets are designed strictly around maintaining muscle mass and stripping off as much body fat as possible while minimizing the loss of muscle tissue.
Unless you’re trying to lose bodyfat and get in shape for a special event or competition, you should be eating at least 50 grams of complex carbohydrates with each of your meals every day for optimal workout energy and muscle gains.
Muscle Building Myth #2: You Can’t Build Muscle Without Gaining Lots of Body Fat, AKA “Bulking Up”
As I said in myth number 1 above, you can’t build muscle while you’re in a caloric deficit. That being said, you can’t be afraid of a small amount of fat gain while you’re in a mass gain mode.
If you eat mostly whole unprocessed foods every day and you keep your cheat meals under control while consuming quality carbohydrates, proteins and fats, then you shouldn’t have to worry about gaining excessive amounts of body fat.
As an example, if you gain 20 pounds of muscle over the course of a year of training, then you can generally expect to gain about 7 to 10 pounds of body fat as well.
Accept the fact that you’ll have to gain a small amount of fat in order to build muscle mass.
Now, if you’re gaining a lot of extra body fat then you’ve gone too far with your food consumption or you’re just eating too much of the wrong types of foods at the wrong times.
Muscle Building Myth #3: The Only Way to Get Huge Is To Use Steroids
This myth couldn’t be further from the truth. You can build a phenomenal physique that anyone would be proud of by implementing the training, nutrition, supplement and recovery methods that I cover throughout this website.
Now, will you get as enormous and big and freaky as an IFBB professional bodybuilder?
Unless you decide to use anabolic steroids and other drugs and you have rare physique genetics - you most likely won’t.
It takes supraphysiological (above normal) levels of testosterone to become as massive as the guys in popular bodybuilding magazines.
Supraphysiological levels of testosterone can only be achieved through high amounts of anabolic steroid use, under normal or “natural” circumstances, your body can only produce a certain amount of testosterone at any given time.
If you’re consistent with your training, eat a quality muscle building diet, limit your cardiovascular training and get plenty of rest and sleep, you’ll have a much more muscular, bigger, stronger and better looking physique than 99% of the population.
Muscle Building Myth #4: “If I Follow the Exact Training Routine of a Pro Bodybuilder, I Will Look Exactly Like Him.”
I shake my head when I see high school kids reading bodybuildingmagazines and copying workouts designed for professional bodybuilders with years of bodybuilding experience who are using steroids.
Every single human being has unique genetics. Professional bodybuilders that you see in the magazines have extraordinary genetics for building muscle and recovering from workouts, far better than that of the average person.
Combine this ability with intense training, physique altering drugs, caloric manipulation and you get a jaw dropping physique that the average person simply couldn’t obtain.
The advanced training routines that you see in the popular bodybuilding magazines are that of seasoned weight training veterans that got started in bodybuilding just like you.
Do you think that the current Mr. Olympia started his bodybuilding career by training 5 days a week and doing 20 sets per body part and split workout routines in his first year of training?
Bench pressing 400 pounds and eating seven meals a day?
Muscle Building Myth #5: The Longer You Workout, the More Muscle You will Build.
If this were true, then you could work out in the gym all day long and you’d be massive. But that’s just not the way muscle building works.
Your central nervous system can only take so much “abuse” before you start to feel fatigued, tired and exhausted. Your central nervous system is the control center for each and every muscular movement and contraction during a workout.
This is why it’s extremely important to get plenty of rest and sleep when you’re trying to build muscle. It’s when you sleep that your central nervous system and muscles recover from intense weight training.
If you stress your muscles to the point of tissue breakdown, anything more will be plain overkill and make it harder for you to recover from your workouts and be ready for your next training session.
In case you don’t know already, your muscles do not grow while you’re training in the gym, but rather, while you’re recovering, or more specifically when you are sleeping that the actual growth occurs.
Hard training only breaks down and stimulates muscle tissue.
If you have less than a year of training experience and are currently working out 5 to 6 days per week with a split routine, then I must to tell you to STOP training this way right now.
You will see much better results by following a simple, yet highly effective, lower volume (3 days per week) whole body routine.
Muscle Building Myth #6: The Latest Fancy Looking Machine Will Build The Most Muscle.
Machines are a tool for you to use on your muscle building quest. When it comes down to building maximum muscle size and strength fast, nothing beats good old free weights.
Look at any of the routines performed by the men from the “golden” era of bodybuilding such as Arnold Schwarzenegger, Franco Columbo, Lee Haney, Sergio Oliva, Frank Zane and others.
They had only a few basic machines to use such as the leg press, the smith machine, cables and the leg extension machine.
Despite the lack of shiny and fancy machines that you see in every commercial gym these days, these men built astonishing, jaw-dropping, Olympia-winning physiques with not much more than benches, dumbbells, barbells and Olympic plates.
Muscle Building Myth #7: You Can Tone, Sculpt And Define Your Muscles By Doing Certain Exercises.
This statement couldn’t be more wrong. You see, only 3 things can happen to your muscles:
1. Your muscles can grow bigger (hypertrophy)
2. Your muscles can get smaller (atrophy)
3. Your muscles can stay the same size
The fact of the matter is that the muscle shape you’re born with is something that you can not change no matter which exercise your doing.
Your muscles have an origin and insertion point that’s determined by your genetic makeup.
You can’t “tone” your arms if they’re covered with excessive bodyfat. You either build muscle to make them bigger through weight training, or lose the fat that’s covering them through cardio and an effective cutting diet.
More M&S Articles
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Strength Training: How It Can Help You Build More Muscle
Are You Overtraining?
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