The fitness world is filled with myths and bro science. Some of these unfounded assertions have been around for so long that it’s almost hard to believe that they aren’t true – yet there’s usually a logical way of explaining them to people so that they actually make sense and seem believable.
The problem is, believing and following myths can derail your progress and make you wonder why you aren’t seeing the results you want. With that in mind, here are six myths that you should be aware of
MYTH #1: You Have To Train As Heavy As Possible To Get Big
This isn’t entirely a myth – you do need to overload your muscles with progressively heavier weight in order to put on size. But do you believe you are going to get stronger every week for the rest of your life? Hypertrophy (building muscle) isn’t always associated with lifting heavy – it is about causing enough stress to the muscle so it has to repair and regrow so that the next time it won’t be as hard to act upon stress. Many bodybuilders and physique athletes work around their 60-70% 1RM and perform extremely high volume workouts. So you don’t need to always go as heavy as possible to get big. Higher volume workouts over time will ease the pain on joints and ligaments that heavy lifting can cause, which will keep you in the gym more consistently over a longer period of time.
MYTH #2: You Need To Drink A Protein Shake With Carbs Post-Workout If You Want to Grow
Truth is, drinking 5-10g of BCAAs is already a great way to start your recovery. If you drink a protein shake sans carbs post-workout, your insulin will also spike enough to promote growth. Yes, you will eventually need carbs – but you can easily consume this in the form of a meal up to 4 hours after your training and still make your muscle-building gains. The other factor is that not all athletes want to consume their calories in form of liquids. Most pre-contest/cutting athletes would rather be eating 1 cup of white rice after a workout to keep them full, rather than simply throwing down those liquid carbs and feeling hungry 30 minutes later. Either way, you won’t lose your muscle-building potential by not drinking your protein and carbs immediately after a workout. Do keep yourself hydrated though, and make sure you get enough liquids in you during and after an intense training session.
MYTH #3: Training Your Abs Almost Every Day Is The Best Way To Bring Out Your Six Pack
You can train abs as often as you want, but you’ll never see that six pack if your body fat isn’t low enough. Another part of this myth is that doing abdominal exercises will burn fat targeted around the abdominal area, allowing you to spot-reduce around this stubborn section. This myth has been going on for at least 30 years now – remember those electronic belts that stimulated the abdominal area with electricity and guaranteed to promote weight loss around the waist area? Unfortunately, that’s not the case.
MYTH #4: Diets Are The Best Way To Lose Body Fat
Sure, diets work. But will you be on a diet for the rest of your life? Once you reach your desired goal, weight or physical look, then what? Will you keep depriving your body of calories for the rest of your life? Diets do work, but 80% of them fail afterwards, which can promote a yo-yo form of weight loss and weight gain that isn’t healthy and isn’t practical, for a number of reasons. The best way to shed weight (even if it’s slower process) is to slowly start adjusting your lifestyle. Start making smarter choices on a daily to weekly basis and implementing changes that you can keep up with over time. This truly will be the best way for you to get to your goals – and stay there.
MYTH #5: Doing Cardio Will Eat Away Your Hard-Earned Muscle
Again, there is some truth here, but it is your approach that will determine whether or not it becomes a reality. If you are consuming a high protein diet when trying to lose weight, cardio won’t be targeting your muscles that easily. Many competitors and athletes like to drink a BCAA or amino drink before they do cardio to prevent the body from breaking down muscle for energy. If you are eating strategically to keep muscle and build it, then performing cardio to improve body composition or keep a healthy cardiovascular system is not going to eat your muscle away. However, if you are not consuming enough protein to preserve muscle and you are on a very low-carb plan, your body will start consuming muscle for energy.
MYTH #6: If You Aren’t Sore The Next Day, You Aren’t Training Hard Enough
I haven’t personally felt sore after training shoulders for years now, and I know mine are growing. Delayed onset muscle soreness (DOMS) tends to happen 24-48 hours after a workout, but you don’t have to always be feel soreness to know you had a good workout. It’s usually people who are getting back into the gym after a layoff who are the ones who feel the most soreness. Of course, that’s not saying you won’t be sore after a grueling workout. After all, there’s nothing more exciting than knowing you worked your legs so hard that even using the restroom for the next few days is going to be hell, right?