A lot of bodybuilding myths stem from gym talk, articles on the web, and even sites that sell products to aid in weight loss and muscle gain. Images and videos of men with large, unnatural bodies and women with so much muscle that they look like men do not make things any better.
Unfortunately, we tend to take these myths as plain truth resulting in frustration, fatigue, as well as wasted time and money. Many people may not want to build so much muscle.
They are just looking to reduce body fat and increase muscle mass. Below we look at 11 common bodybuilding myths that you should steer clear of:
- 1 Bodybuilding myths associated with the exercises and reps
- 1.1 1. Train like a champion
- 1.2 2. Doing cardio before weights equals faster shredding
- 1.3 3. Low reps are for building muscle and high reps for burning fat
- 1.4 4. Targeted bodybuilding works
- 1.5 5. Bodybuilding reduces flexibility
- 1.6 6. Yoga will help in building muscle
- 1.7 7. Push it to the limit
- 1.8 8. Gaining muscle is not for everybody
- 2 Bodybuilding myths associated with diet and supplements
Bodybuilding myths associated with the exercises and reps
1. Train like a champion
This is probably the biggest myth in the world of bodybuilding. It is the message passed by numerous bodybuilding magazines. When you train like a champion, then you will be doing exercise right. Unfortunately, training like legendary bodybuilders may not be necessary.
If all you are looking for is an increase in muscle mass, then there is no need to train like one going to compete in bodybuilding championships. You spend a lot of money on vitamins in order to look like the champions, failure to which you will get injuries or even fall sick.
2. Doing cardio before weights equals faster shredding
Doing cardio before your weight training means that you will not train as heavy as you need to. Research shows that the best way to reap from both exercises is to do cardio after weights.
Weights increase muscle growth hormones, while cardio helps in fat burning but right after a weightlifting session your glycogen stores are depleted, and as a result, your body has no choice but to tap into those fat cells for energy.
3. Low reps are for building muscle and high reps for burning fat
Muscles either grow or shrink. They can even remain the same. If you want your muscles to grow bigger, you must outperform your previous reps and exercise (the principle of progressive overload). Less training will make the muscles smaller.
Note that lightweights do not help to build muscle. In fact, you are better focusing on cardio via running or jumping jacks. If you want to get ripped, you must reduce fat levels. You’ll burn fat with either high or low reps as long as you are in a calorie deficit.
4. Targeted bodybuilding works
Our genetics have a lot to do with the size and shape of our muscles. Exercises that particularly target a specific muscle are not always effective. If for instance, you are trying to build your abs, you must lower your overall body fat percentage. Doing exercises meant to build abs only will not help you.
5. Bodybuilding reduces flexibility
In reality, if you limit the range of motion of any given exercise you’ll definitively lose flexibility, but if you maintain proper technique by executing the exercise through a full range of the movement, then you will achieve quite the opposite and certainly increase your flexibility. You can also include some stretching exercises between sets to improve the effect.
6. Yoga will help in building muscle
Yoga does not result in calorie burning as it does not require a lot of oxygen. When compared to weight training, it does not stimulate muscle growth. Stretching during your yoga exercise does not increase muscle or tendon length either.
The only good thing about Yoga that might help in muscle building is the relaxation effect derived from that type of training that may actually assist you in lowering cortisol levels and consequently increase growth hormone release.
7. Push it to the limit
You are likely to hear the gym trainer use ‘no pain no gain’ over and over. If you are using a workout program to build muscle, one of the tips may be doing a set until you are unable to finish it. Without pushing it to the limit, your workout will be useless and ineffective. It helps to do a set to failure, but if you feel pain, it is a signal that something is wrong. You need to stop and take a rest.
Closely associated with doing sets to failure is soreness. You don’t have to work out until you are sore. If you are fit for a particular type of exercise set, you will experience little soreness if any. When you increase weights, do more reps or even a more intense workout, the extra stress on the body will result in soreness. Soreness is not an indicator of an effective workout.
8. Gaining muscle is not for everybody
This is one of the bodybuilding myths that make many bodybuilders frustrated. Bodybuilding involves a high intake of calories, lifting weights and strength training.
You can gain muscle even if you are on a vegan diet. A protein source for vegans would be soy protein isolate. Remember, muscles use a lot of calories from carbohydrates and not necessarily proteins.
Gaining muscle is all about doing exercise right. The amount of muscle you can gain is also largely determined by your genetics. If you are doing everything right, you will build muscle.
Bodybuilding myths associated with diet and supplements
9. You can eat whatever you want to as long as you are working out
It is important to balance your calorie intake with the number of calories you burn during your workout. Do not remove carbohydrates entirely from your diet. Muscles need calories that are primarily derived from carbs. High protein diets are just a fad.
Yes, muscle is made from protein, but you need more carbs than protein since muscles will work on the former not the latter. Alcohol inhibits muscle building. In men, it lowers testosterone levels and causes dehydration. Drink a lot of water instead of alcohol.
10. Fat is bad
Not all fat is bad for you. Avoid trans fats by all means, but go for saturated fat . Trans fat is human-made. Saturated fat should make up 10% of your daily calorie intake.
A good source of saturated fat is beef. Other types of fat you should go for are monounsaturated fats like olive oil, nuts, and avocados as well as Omega-3 fats like trout and salmon. Polyunsaturated fats also help in lowering total cholesterol.Good sources include Vegetable oils, fish oil.
11. Supplements are a must have
For you to build muscle, you need to intake a lot of calories, push your body to great extents, consistency, and endurance. Supplements could aid in muscle growth.
They are however not necessary for bodybuilding myths. By all means, avoid supplements that make bold, outrageous claims. They are just that – claims and nothing more.
Isn’t it surprising how we take bodybuilding myths as the plain truth? It doesn’t really matter where the myth originated from. Proper research is necessary if you are going to build the muscle mass that you desire. Most importantly, remember that everybody is different. Do what works for you.