20 Common Bodybuilding Myths Debunked

What’s going on guys, Sean Nalewanyj, seannal.com,
realscienceathletics.com. In this video I’m going to be going over 20
common bodybuilding and fitness myths that have been circulating around for years and
giving you the real truth behind these myths, to help you save time and effort and keep
your program as effective and efficient as possible. Now this is going to be more of a rapid fire
style. I’ll just be quickly going over each one with
a brief explanation and that way I can cover a larger number of points here, but without
the video dragging on for too long. Before I dive into it, if you’re new to the
channel here and you find this advice helpful, don’t forget to hit that subscribe button
down below to stay in the loop on future videos, and also make sure to follow me over on Instagram
as well. I post there every single day with additional
training, nutrition, supplementation, and mindset advice that you’ll definitely get
a lot of value from. It’s @Sean_Nalewanyj, that’s where you’ll
find me when I’m not here on the YouTube channel. Okay, let’s get started. Bodybuilding myth number one, is the idea
that you need to consume a protein shake or a high-protein meal as quickly as possible
following your workout in order to take advantage of the anabolic window. The reality here is that as long as you consume
some sort of pre-workout meal within a couple hours of your session, then the same amino
acids from that meal are still going to be available to your body even after your workout
is over, since protein digestion is a gradual process and doesn’t happen all at once. And so immediately consuming another post-workout
meal is not some sort of critical make or break nutrition strategy that you have to
follow. Not only that, but the anabolic window where
your muscles will be more sensitive to nutrient uptake, that timeframe lasts a lot longer
than just 30 minutes or one hour. It actually spans for quite a few hours post
workout up to as much as six hours or more. So don’t overthink this. Get some protein in within a couple hours
of your workout and ideally within a couple hours after and you’ll be fine. And even if you wait slightly longer, it’s
not going to be a huge deal. The most important factor by far is just that
you get in enough total protein for the day as a whole and about 0.8 grams per pound of
body weight is a good figure to aim for. Bodybuilding myth number two, is that you
must eat big to get big. Yes, if you’re in a focus bulking phase and
you want to fully maximize muscle growth and strength gains, then you should be eating
in a lot calorie surplus, but at the same time it’s very important to remember that
your body can only make use of a relatively small daily surplus for the purpose of building
lean muscle and any calories you take in beyond that point will just be stored as fat. So about 200 to 300 calories above maintenance
is all you need to optimize your gains and just stuffing your face with more and more
food and weight gain or shakes and things like that and trying to force feed muscle
growth. That’s actually going to be counterproductive
to your physique in the long run because it won’t help you gain muscle any faster, but
it will cause you to put on excessive body fat, that you’ll then have to waste unnecessary
time and effort dieting off later on. Bodybuilding myth number three, is the idea
that there are certain “muscle building foods” that you must eat in order to maximize your
results. The truth here is that proper nutrition is
all about the big picture and it’s about the total calories, the total macros, the micros
and the fiber that you eat for the day as a whole, from a combination of everything
that you eat. There are certain foods that are generally
going to be more calorie and macro friendly, but there are no individual foods that you
must eat or that are going to have some sort of special muscle building effect on their
own in isolation. So if there are certain foods you really don’t
enjoy, then there’s no reason to force yourself to eat them and you’ll be much better off
by simply basing your diet around the foods you most prefer, but that still allow you
to hit your total nutritional needs for the day. Not only will that just make your day-to-day
diet more enjoyable in general, but it will also maximize the chances that you’ll stick
with it over the long run. Bodybuilding myth number four, is that there
are certain specific exercises you must perform in order to build muscle effectively. Yes, there are certain movement patterns that
you should ideally be including in order to create an optimal and properly balanced program
such as a horizontal press for the chest, or a vertical pole for the lats, or a hip
hinge for the hamstrings, but there are no individual variations of those movement patterns
that are an absolute must in order for you to gain significant muscle. As long as a given exercise safely places
the targeted muscle under tension and allows for consistent progressive overload over time,
then it will ultimately be an effective means of building muscle. So that could mean a barbell bench press,
or a dumbbell press, or even a machine press, or it could mean an overhand pull-up, or lat
pull-down, or a hammer pull-down, etc. So focus more on hitting the proper movement
patterns first and foremost, and then select the specific exercise variations within those
movement patterns that feel best for you in terms of maximizing muscle activation and
minimizing joint stress bodybuilding. Bodybuilding myth number five, is that cardio
burns muscle. So it is true that performing an excessive
amount of cardio can negatively impact your gains by interfering with weight training,
recovery and performance. However, a moderate amount of cardio is completely
fine. It’s not going to cause you to lose muscle
and including some form of cardiovascular exercise during the week is something that
I recommend everyone do just for the overall physical and mental health benefits that it
provides. Just make sure that you don’t perform your
cardio immediately pre-workout because you don’t want to pre-fatigue yourself right before
weight training. And I’d say to ideally limit it to two to
three sessions per week to start, only increasing it later on if you really need to. And if you are performing higher volumes of
cardio, then make sure that you increase your calorie intake to compensate for what you’re
burning to make sure that you’re staying in a net calorie surplus if bulking is your primary
goal. Bodybuilding myth number six, is that training
each muscle only once per week is not an effective way to build muscle. It is true that training each muscle only
once per week likely won’t be optimal for building muscle at the very fastest rate in
comparison to hitting at say, one and a half or two times a week. That’s because your muscles don’t actually
require a full week in order to completely recover, but you most definitely can still
make significant gains over the longterm with a once per week frequency as long as the total
volume and intensity is sufficient for the week as a whole. Keep in mind that just because something isn’t
optimal doesn’t mean that it’s ineffective and plenty of lifters out there make great
gains on bro split body part routines, and I went through phases in the past where I
train that way as well with good results. Hitting each muscle once a week Will still
get you to the same end goal if you’re consistently achieving progressive overload, but it will
likely just take a bit longer to get there, in comparison to something like a full body
routine, or upper lower, or legs push pull, where the frequency per muscle is a bit higher
per week. Bodybuilding myth number seven, is that fasted
cardio increases fat loss in comparison to fed cardio. So this myth has been pretty thoroughly debunked
over the years and whether you perform a fasted cardio or fed cardio, it’s not going to have
any noticeable impact on your bottom line fat loss, assuming your total calorie intake
versus your total calorie expenditure for the day as a whole stays the same. Fasted cardio does increase lipolysis, which
is the amount of fat that gets broken down, but it doesn’t actually increase fat oxidation,
which is the amount of fat that actually gets burned for energy. And in the end, the fatty acids that aren’t
used for fuel are just restored as body fat. So if you prefer fastened cardio for whatever
reason, then that’s totally fine, go ahead. But ultimately your pre-cardio nutrition strategy
should just be based on personal preference in terms of what feels best for you. When it comes to fat loss, don’t obsess over
what happens over these short windows of 30 minutes or an hour. What really matters is that you’re maintaining
a net calorie deficit for the overall day and week as a whole. Bodybuilding myth number eight, is that delayed
onset muscle soreness is an indicator of having had a successful workout. So muscle soreness does indicate that some
form of damage has occurred within the tissue, but it doesn’t necessarily indicate that that
damage will specifically lead to increases in muscle size and strength. Keep in mind that any form of repetitive stress
can make your muscles sore, whether it’s an intense cardio session or even something completely
unrelated to regular exercise. And as a beginner, you’ll tend to get very
sore after your workouts, and then over time as your body gradually adopts to weight training,
that soreness is gradually going to subside as well. At the end of the day, the primary factor
for gauging the success of your workouts is progressive overload. Meaning that your performance in the gym is
steadily increasing over time. And the main metric to pay attention to especially
for beginner to intermediate lifters is simply the amount of weight lifted and the reps performed
for each exercise. As long as you’re consistently getting stronger
in the gym and putting up better numbers from week to week and month to month while maintaining
proper form, then that’s what truly matters regardless of how sore or not sore you felt
in the days after your session. Bodybuilding myth number nine, is that weight
training stunts growth. So unless we’re talking about a rare situation
where you literally had a freak accident in the gym and you broke a bone and damaged an
actual growth plate, there’s no evidence that a properly executed weight training plan stunts
growth in any way. And in terms of sudden serious injuries, weight
training itself is actually very safe and it’s even safer in comparison to a lot of
other common activities that teens and younger kids participate in, like sports or outdoor
activities. So assuming you grew up with adequate nutrition,
height is really just a matter of genetics when it all comes down to it. Bodybuilding myth number 10, is that eating
smaller meals more frequently throughout the day increases metabolic rate in comparison
to larger meals eaten less frequently. In reality, when total calories are equated
for the day as a whole, the specific way that you distribute those meals is not going to
have any significant impact on overall fat loss, whether it’s six small meals, four medium-sized
meals, or two larger meals. Resting metabolic rate doesn’t change in response
to meal frequency and neither does the total daily thermic effect of the food you eat. And so when it comes to fat loss, your best
bet is to just lay your meals out during the day in whatever way it controls your appetite
and most effectively and is most sustainable and enjoyable for you over the longterm bodybuilding. Bodybuilding myth number 11, is that eating
in the later evening hours will lead to increased fat storage. So this ties in with the last point, but again,
when it comes to fat loss, total calories consumed versus total calories expended for
the entire day as a whole is what truly matters, not the specific timing of when those calories
are ingested or burned. Consuming a higher percentage of calories
in the evening would produce a greater amount of immediate fat storage at that specific
time, but it would still balance out overall since your body would have burned a greater
amount of fat earlier on in the day when the calories were lower, as well as during the
following morning and afternoon. You can definitely cut back on your food intake
in the later hours if you find it more comfortable on your stomach, since eating a very large
meal right up close to bedtime can potentially interfere with sleep quality, but it won’t
make any difference when it comes to your bottom line body fat levels. Bodybuilding myth number 12, is that squats
and deadlifts increase testosterone levels, which then causes you to gain more muscle
throughout your entire body as a result. It is true that heavier compound exercises
produce a larger increase in testosterone in comparison to smaller isolation lifts. However, it’s important to understand that
simply increasing testosterone levels in and of itself doesn’t automatically mean that
those increases are going to translate to more muscle growth. And that’s because for increases in testosterone
to have any measurable impact on hypertrophy, those levels have to be elevated by a very
large percentage, and then sustained over a prolonged period of time. And resistance training, even if it is a big
heavy compound movement like a squat or a deadlift, isn’t going to produce a large enough
increase in testosterone in order for that to happen. So while squats and deadlifts are definitely
great muscle building exercises that allow you to move a lot of weight in target multiple
muscle groups, they don’t produce added total body gains specifically as a result of increasing
testosterone. Bodybuilding myth number 13, is that low reps
should be used for increasing muscle size, while high reps should be used for increasing
muscle definition. So this is a really old and outdated myth,
but even in 2019 I still see trainers and coaches promoting this idea. The truth here is that at the end of the day,
the only thing you can do to your muscles is make them bigger or smaller overall. But there’s no special rep range or training
technique that’s going to somehow tone or define your muscles since it’s not possible
to spot reduce fat from specific areas of your body. Muscle definition is simply a product of building
up your total levels of muscle mass and then lowering your overall body fat percentage
to make the muscles more visible. So the only real purpose of weight training
itself is to maximize muscle hypertrophy, which can be done using a wide variety of
different rep ranges. And then diet and cardio is what you’ll use
to take care of the fat loss aspect in order to bring out more visible definition as fat
gets broken down from your entire body as a whole. Bodybuilding myth number 14, is that BCAAs
are an effective supplement for preventing muscle breakdown and increasing protein synthesis. Now, there are tons of different supplements
I could have chosen here, but I went with branched-chain amino acids since they are
the top selling supplement on the list of supplements that don’t actually do anything
for you. The bottom line is that if you’re consuming
adequate protein for the day as a whole, which is pretty easy to do, around 0.8 grams per
pound of body weight is enough. You’ll all ready be getting all of the BCAAs
that you need in order to maximize muscle growth, and dumping five, 10, 20 extra grams
on top of that isn’t going to have any added benefit. This has been shown over and over in the research
and yet people still continue to buy them and placebo themselves into thinking that
BCAAs are helping when they really aren’t. And when it comes to fasted training, even
then BCAAs are not going to be helpful because you still need the full spectrum of amino
acids present if you want to effectively halt muscle breakdown. And so an essential amino acid blend would
actually be the better choice there if anything. A regular whole food protein like a scoop
of whey would be even better. You technically wouldn’t be truly facet at
that point, but like we talked about earlier, there aren’t any specific benefits to fasted
training anyway. And also keep in mind that BCAAs and essential
amino acids also contain calories as well. And so if you’re planning to use either of
those for fasted training, you might as well just use whey instead because 15 grams of
whey, for example, contains about the same total calories as 10 grams of BCAAs. Bodybuilding myth number 15, is that intermittent
fasting is superior for fat loss in comparison to regular continuous calorie restriction. Intermittent fasting is a perfectly viable
way of structuring your diet if you enjoy it and if you find it easier to stick to. But when total calories for the day as a whole
are the same, intermittent fasting doesn’t have any special fat burning benefits related
to growth hormone or insulin or any of these other factors that IF promoters try to claim. Intermittent fasting can be really effective
for some people simply because when you skip breakfast and you restrict your eating window
down to only eight hours or fewer, you just tend to eat fewer calories for the day as
a whole. And we know that a calorie deficit is the
primary driver of fat loss when it all comes down to it. So if intermittent fasting helps you maintain
a calorie deficit more easily, then that’s great, go right ahead. It’s definitely something you can experiment
with, but if you prefer eating regularly spaced out meals throughout the day, then that’s
fine too. And switching to IF from that approach isn’t
going to magically improve your results. Bodybuilding myth number 16, is the idea that
you need to constantly switch up your workouts in order to shock or confuse your muscles
into new growth. So not only is the idea of muscle confusion
a myth in the first place since your muscles don’t have a mind of their own, and they’re
just responding to the direct tension and volume that you’re subjecting them to. But constantly switching around your workouts
will actually be directly counterproductive to your gains over the longterm. And that’s because when you’re always performing
different exercises, different rep ranges, training different muscles on different days,
it becomes much harder to accurately track progressive overload, which is the most important
factor in your entire training program by far. Not only that, but it also prevents you from
becoming highly skilled at any one particular set of lifts and fully maximizing their effectiveness,
since you’re constantly bouncing around between different exercises. So a much better approach, one that can easily
make the difference between longterm success and failure is to have a preset concrete workup
plan in place for a consistent training cycle and to maximize your strength gains on that
one plan before you go ahead and switch over to something else. Bodybuilding myth number 17, is that low-carb
diets are inherently superior for fat loss. So it is true that protein has a higher thermic
effect in comparison to carbs and fat. And so if you’re currently following a high-carb,
low-protein diet, and you then reduce the carbs and up the protein, you technically
will burn more calories through digestion, but the difference here likely wouldn’t be
too significant. And in most cases, the real reason why some
people do see positive results when they switch over to a low-carb diet is simply because
when you restrict your carb intake, you end up consuming fewer calories in total, since
like any macronutrient, carbs contain calories. So if you take a person who regularly consumes
high amounts of calorically dense, refined carbohydrates like muffins and bagels, pastries,
granola bars, sugary drinks and things like that, which many people do, and then they
replace those types of foods with lean protein and vegetables, it’s no surprise that the
weight finally starts falling off. And in addition, if they were consuming very
low protein before that and then they increase it, the higher protein will also lead to better
appetite control. So if you prefer a lower carb approach for
whatever reason and you feel physically and mentally fine on it, then that’s no problem. But when total calories are equated and assuming
you’re hitting your protein minimum for the day, there isn’t going to be any significant
fat burning difference in comparison to a moderate to higher carb intake. And most people will do better in terms of
overall dietary adherence and training performance when they don’t actively restrict their carb
intake down to really low levels. Bodybuilding myth number 18, is that you must
avoid alcohol if you want to gain muscle and lose fat effectively. Now, there’s no question that excessive alcohol
consumption is a bad idea and will be counterproductive to your progress. It’s a source of empty liquid calories that
can really add up if you aren’t careful. And if you’re drinking to the point of being
hung over, then that can negatively impact your training performance, your motivation,
your overall productivity, etc. But as with most things in life, the devil
is in the dosage context matters. And the reality is that if you’re training
and your nutrition stays otherwise on point in the overall picture, then going out with
your friends and having a few drinks here and there in moderation, will be fine and
it won’t detract from your overall results. It won’t significantly impact testosterone
levels or lower protein synthesis or inhibit recovery like a lot of people claim so long
as you aren’t going overboard. Just make sure to do it responsibly. A weekly average of around one to two standard
drinks per day for a male will be fine, and about half that amount for females. Take the calories into account, rehydrate
yourself, and if you find that it is noticeably interfering with your overall fitness plan,
then you do need to have the self-awareness and the discipline to cut back. But if you are able to keep things in moderation,
then alcohol is not something that you necessarily have to cut out completely in order to build
muscle and lose fat effectively. Bodybuilding myth number 19, is that performing
direct ab exercises like crunches and leg raises is the key to getting a six pack. Yes, training your abs for hypertrophy definitely
helps out with this because it will create more visible separation between the ab muscles
and calls them to pop up more noticeably. However, keep in mind that it doesn’t matter
how well developed your abs are, if your body fat percentage is too high in order for them
to be visible in the first place. Ab exercises only target the abdominal muscles
underneath the fat, but they have no effect on the actual fat stores in and around your
midsection area. So yes, train your abs directly in the gym. It definitely will improve the look of your
midsection and allow your abs to be more visible even at a slightly higher body fat. But the main limiting factor when it comes
to getting a clearly defined six pack, is having a low enough body fat percentage. That’s achieved primarily through your diet
rather than through what you do in the weight room. And finally, bodybuilding myth number 20,
which is that you can’t gain muscle effectively on a vegan diet. Now, I’m not personally vegan, but for those
out there who are vegan or who are thinking about trying out a vegan lifestyle, the truth
is that you can still gain muscle mass and strength just as effectively as an omnivore
can as long as you’re getting in the proper total calories per day along with sufficient
protein and fat. Remember that proper nutrition is ultimately
an overall numbers game rather than being about individual food sources, and as long
as you put in the time and effort to structure your diet correctly and find it vegan food
sources that allow you to meet your required a numbers on a consistent basis, then there
shouldn’t be any issue. The only thing that I would suggest is that
because plant-based protein sources do have a lower absorption rate overall in comparison
to animal sources, and will also be lacking in at least one of the nine essential amino
acids. I’d recommend going slightly higher on total
protein for the day. So rather than the typical 0.8 gram per pound
of body weight figure that I normally give, I’d bump that up a bit closer to 0.9 to one
gram. And also try to get in a variety of different
sources to ensure that all of your individual amino acid needs are being fully met. So there you have it guys. 20 common bodybuilding myths debunked. Hope you found this information helpful. If you did enjoy the video and you want to
learn how to tie all this information together in terms of a fully structured step-by-step
plan for building muscle and losing fat in the most efficient way possible, then make
sure to take my physique quiz over at quiz.seannal.com, because that’ll get you started on the proper
training and the proper nutrition plan that you need based on your individual goals, body
type and experience level. You can click at the top of the screen for
that or use the link in the description box below. When it comes to supplementation, you can
also visit realscienceathletics.com to check out my research backed, clinically dosed formulas
that I personally created to make sure your program is fully streamlined and set up for
the very best results. Link for that is also in the description,
and as always, make sure to hit that like button, leave a comment down below, and subscribe
to the channel if you haven’t all ready, in order to stay up-to-date on future videos. Thanks for watching guys, and I’ll see you
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