There are a great number of bodybuilding myths – here are seven more most of us have heard at one time or another. Many of these big bodybuilding myths are still believed and debated on bodybuilding forums by people who should know better!
Big bodybuilding myths
1. The more protein I ingest the bigger my muscles will get:
Unless you are using anabolic steroids, once optimal levels of protein have been ingested further intake in an attempt to increase muscle synthesis is pointless as it will be excreted.
Optimal levels may be higher than the study below suggests but I have known many inexperienced trainees already ingesting adequate protien who believe that the higher the protein intake the greater the potential muscle gain. This is a myth perpetuated by the muscle magazines and many in the protein supplement industry and is only true if the athlete is utilising nitrogen retention agents(steroids).
2. I can increase the peak of my biceps by doing certain isolation exersises:
One of the commonest bodybuilding myths – exercises that increase bicep peak do not exist! Biceps peak is genetically determined. If you have a big bicep long-head you may have a good bicep peak shape to your biceps. I believe that it might be theoretically possible to perhaps modestly increase the peak of your biceps by growing the long head. The shape of your biceps is however genetically determined. Some people are born with short biceps with a large peak whereas others have long biceps and can barely squeeze a finger between bicep and elbow. I did all kinds of curls in my late teens but the shape of my biceps never changed discernibly, they got bigger though. Muscles increase in size but do not change shape. You should concentrate on mass first before trying to build peaks. I doubt you can do much better than sets of weighted chins (supinated palms).
3. As I’m a woman, lifting weights will make me muscular and masculine loking:
The powerful myth that weight training makes women “bulky muscular and masculine looking” continues to persist. People associate females who strength-train with the female bodybuilders pictured in magazines. Professional female bodybuilders resemble men because of the massive amount of anabolic, androgenic drugs they consume. Men produce naturally at least ten times more testosterone than females, so unless you’re a female using anabolic steroids, lifting weights will not make you look more masculine, in fact quite the opposite.
4. If I use “product A” it will shred and define me, whilst “product B” will increase my muscle mass:
Big bodybuilding myths such as these form the foundation of many marketing strategies and they prey on the inexperienced and gullible. The sports supplement industry is a booming business that thrives on our hopes and aspirations. The ads and commercials all sound very convincing and are often seen with Olympian athletes espousing their magic as performance enhancers. You are lefty wondering “will these products do what they say.” Unfortunately the answer is nearly always no. There are no legal anabolic agents, or any which will burn fat off your body, at least not naturally. Unless your using certain drugs you will need to dial in your diet and ingest less calories than you expend.
Everybody desires to be a winner and many are easily persuaded by these seemingly magic pills and potions. Its not difficult to see why. A quick fix is extremely attractive – It is easier and more desirable to ingest a fat burner than it is to diet, and do the training required to achieve fat loss. It is easier to consume muscle building potions than it is to train hard to achieve the desired result.
There is a proclaimed solution to every problem on the internet – the cure for flabby thighs, cellulite, aging skin, creams to melt away fat, etc etc. There are even pills that are proclaimed to increase energy and health whilst replacing fruit and vegetables in your diet.
Quasi-scientific research if used to support claims is usually vague or taken out of context and generally misused to promote the product.
How do you tell if the products are real or a scam?
There is probably much left to discover in the area of nutritional ergogenic aids but as a rule of thumb if a product’s claims seem too good to be true then they most certainly are too good to be true.Period.
Dont deplete your bank account.
5. I can remove fat from an area by continually exercising that area:
There is no such thing as spot reduction, regardless of what commercial advertising tells you, it is a myth. Fat is lost throughout the entire body and overall body fat needs to be reduced in order to lose fat from a particular area. Fat loss or deposition occurs in a manner dependent upon factors such as genetics, sex (hormones), and age. Regardless of whether fat is lost or gained throughout the body, the first area to get fat, will be the last area to become lean. This is usually the midsection (in majority of males and some females – especially post menopausal women) and hips buttocks and thighs (in majority of women and few men). Abdominal movements such as sit ups and crunches etc will exercise and develop musculature under the fat only, they will not directly reduce fat from that area.
6. For proper exercise recovery I must remain inactive on my rest day:
This one always amuses me. Many trainees are still under the impression that activity at any level on their rest days will hinder and impede muscular hypertrophy. Some even think that it will make their muscles shrink if they have to do anything following a workout the previous day. These people will avoid all physical activity in the erroneous belief that otherwise they will not recover or grow. Low intensity activity if anything may enhance recovery and reduce soreness, due to increased blood supply to the areas worked. Additional light stretching may also accelerate this process, regardless it shouldnt effect recuperative ability or adaptation.
7. In order to become strong I need to perform a large variety of exercises:
Il leave this one to Mr Rippetoe to refute in his usual succinct manner:
“You do not need to do many different exercises to get strong – you need to get strong on a very few important exercises, movements that train the whole body as a system, not as a collection of separate body parts. The problem with the programs advocated by all the national exercise organisations is that they fail to recognize this basic principle: the body best adapts as a whole organism to stress applied to the whole organism. The more stress that can be applied to as much of the body at one time as possible, the more effective and productive the adaptation will be.”
There you have it, more mythology to come.
Disclosure: I get a small referral fee from Amazon and a few other companies on here if you purchase a product which I advertise or recommend. This helps to support my continued fitness and training information work. I will only rarely recommend products and when I do it will be those which I either use, or have positive evidence of their efficacy.