If you are looking to build muscle, then you should be aware of these 7 muscle building myths that can stop you from getting stronger.
I am sure you have heard many such myths from magazines, fitness professionals, and trainers. Some common ones are you need to eat protein immediately after your workout or you won’t gain muscle, you need to be eating six times per day so that you are fueling your body and don’t lose out on gains.
Some common ones are you need to eat protein immediately after your workout or you won’t gain muscle, you need to be eating six times per day so that you are fueling your body and don’t lose out on gains.
Now, all these are myths and they won’t impair your muscle growth especially if you are just looking to build muscle as a regular person and not one of those people wanting to compete in bodybuilding shows.
So, let’s have a look at some of these muscle building myths so you can avoid falling into their trap.
Protein is a very important macronutrient when it comes to building muscle.
And it is true that you need to consume a good amount of protein when you are training with intensity at the gym with the intention of building muscle.
This is because when you workout at the gym, you cause micro-tears in your muscle fiber that needs to be repaired so that it can get rebuilt stronger. And the amino acids from proteins are the building blocks for such muscle repair and growth.
The problem is that the fitness and supplement industry tends to exaggerate the amount of protein that you need to consume. The main reason for this is so that they can increase their profits and nothing else.
When you are working out intensely, the protein that you need to consume to be on the safe side is 1 gram protein per pound of body weight.
You don’t need to consume any more than that as it is a waste of your money buying expensive protein.
Another myth that you will hear regarding protein is that if you consume a high-protein diet it will affect your kidneys. This is a myth and there is no such issue when it comes to healthy people.
This is another one of those muscle building myths that you keep hearing now and then.
And you will get to hear something logical thrown in as well. Like you know carbohydrates consumption increases the insulin levels in the body.
And insulin has the potential to increase the storage of fat in your body. So, this should make a high-carb consumption bad for you as it will make you fat.
The problem with this logic is the failure to understand that the only way you can get fat is if you are in a calorie deficit where you consume more calories than what your body burns.
It does not matter where you get your calories from whether it is carbs, protein, or fats. If you consume more calories than what your body requires, you will gain fat.
And when you start following a low-carb diet, your workouts are going to suffer.
This is because when you are working out intensely, your body is going to require glucose for the energy and your muscle requires glycogen stores to perform optimally.
You are going to get these from the carbs that you consume. So, if your carbohydrate intake is restricted, you will not be making the muscle gains as you expect.
So, instead, you should be focussing on consuming a moderate amount of carbs when you are looking to build muscle. About 2 to 2.5 grams of carbs per pound of body weight should be pretty good.
“No pain, no gain”. “You need to push your body to its limits”.
These are some of the quotes that you get to hear from bodybuilders and fitness trainers at the gym.
And it seems logical right? Push your muscles to their maximum capacity if you want to break them down so they rebuild stronger.
The problem with this idea is that if you are constantly hitting failure especially with your heavy compound movements like squats, deadlifts, bench press, etc. then your performance is going to be affected.
For example, you may lift 100 pounds for 8 reps on your bench press to failure. Then on the next set, you might lift the same weight for just 6 reps to failure. And on the final set, you might not even make it to 5 sets.
Instead, if you could lift 100 pounds for 6 reps (a couple of reps short of failure) then you could have completed all three sets with 6 reps.
So, as you can see, you would have got more work done stopping short of failure than going to failure. This means that your muscles would have got more workload and have more potential for growth.
So, do not go to failure but rather just stop short of failure by a couple of reps. You will find that beneficial.
Right now I am following the Linear Hypertrophy program that starts from using 60% of your 1-rep max during the 1st week and ends with 85% of your 1-rep max during the last week.
I definitely see my strength gains improving without getting exhausted due to reaching failure. I hope to be making some good muscle gains as well.
I was a victim of this myth once as well.
Often, we get to hear that you need to train differently when trying to build muscle than trying to gain strength.
Now, it is true that training for powerlifting is different than training for gaining muscle.
But, what is forgotten here is that without gaining strength there can be no gain of muscle.
The only reason why your body adapts to the stress placed on muscles and grows them is to make them stronger and as a result bigger.
So, building muscle cannot be done without gaining strength. Period.
Too often, we tend to focus on trying to build muscle doing tons of sets and reps and using isolation movements.
Instead, we should be focussing on gaining strength and progressive overload that is the key to building strength and muscle.
Especially us beginners should be focussing on a good workout program that focusses on using heavy, compound movements with progressive overloads that help to progress in the gym every workout.
One of the worst muscle building myths that most beginners fall victim to.
When we don’t know what we are doing in the gym, we tend to focus on isolation movements. You know the movements that make use of a single joint and focus on a single muscle.
We love exercises such as bicep curls that can give us a good pump and we can feel good about it.
The problem is that as a beginner our whole body is lagging behind and what will give us the most optimal muscle growth fast is to make use of the heavy, compound movements.
These are the movements that make use of multiple joints and several muscle groups.
The exercises such as squats, deadlifts, bench press, overhead press, barbell row, etc. fall into this category.
These exercises tax the entire body and have several benefits especially for beginners.
Like I said, they will give you the most bang for the buck because you can be performing three workout sessions per week with these full-body movements and be done with your workouts in an hour.
Since they workout your entire body, you will be making rapid strength and muscle gains with the progressive overload that is a part of such full-body movements.
We beginners also tend to look at the steroid freaks as our role models and believe that using a 5-day split and training a muscle group once every week is sufficient.
However, for a natural beginner, this is the worst possible way to train because your muscles recover after 48 to 72 hours and you need to hit them again to get the most benefit of muscle growth.
So, we should be focussing on training our muscles two to three times per week with one of the better training programs for beginners that will help us maximize our muscle gains.
You want your calories to be in a slight surplus so that your body gets the required energy to perform at the gym as well as grow bigger and stronger.
The number of macronutrients you consume also play a very important role when it comes to building muscle.
As we have seen, protein plays a big role in building muscle and you need to be consuming about 1 gram per pound of body weight.
Fats are important to regulate your hormones and help your body absorb essential fat soluble vitamins.
And carbohydrates are important to provide your body with the required energy for performance and growth.
However, it is a myth that you need to always be eating clean foods and be a nutritional nazi when it comes to building muscle.
Of course, you do want to keep most of your foods clean by eating lean proteins, vegetables, fruits, nuts, seeds, and whole grains.
However, you can make use of flexible dieting to consume about 80% of your foods from clean sources and the remaining 20% from the foods that you enjoy including junk foods.
This will make it more feasible for you to follow your diet and keep you sane instead of just forcing yourself to eat clean all the time.
This is one of those muscle building myths that affects women more than men.
Since most women don’t want to get bulky but just want to get “toned”, they are told that you should workout using high reps and low weight.
Well, there is no such thing as “toning” the muscles. All we can do is to build the muscle stronger and as a result bigger. The shape of the muscle depends on your genetics and you don’t control that.
Also, it’s far more difficult for women to build big muscles than men because women have a significantly lower testosterone level than men.
So, women and men both should be lifting heavy weights with high intensity using heavy, compound movements in order to gain muscle and strength and to get that lean, muscular, and “toned” body.
This is because logically if you are using high reps and low weight, it means that you are not training your muscles intensely enough.
And as we have seen, the most optimal way to build muscle fast is to train with high intensity. This can only be achieved by using heavy weights and a low rep range.
I hope this post was informative enough for you to know about the 7 muscle building myths that might be affecting your strength and muscle gains.
If you have any questions regarding these myths or fitness in general, please leave a comment below.
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