I’m still surprised when people come into the gym and tell me some of the information and advice they have been given. Especially if this is influencing how they go about their training and nutrition.
However, I suppose that’s to be expected with the world we live in at the minute. For too long false or misinterpreted information has been rammed down people’s throats. No wonder there’s so much confusion when it comes to what’s best to help you achieve your goals.
As some of you will know, I like to focus on strength training and muscle building when it comes to coaching. As it’s an area I enjoy, I like to make sure I provide the people I’m working with the most up to date and informative information I can. That’s not always that easy though, especially when it comes to building muscle.
When it comes to building muscle, there seems to be so much conflicting information out there. I know it confuses me sometimes, so I 100% know it confuses other people. There are the old school lifters with their thoughts, the research gurus with their thoughts, and then there’s some supplement companies saying forget all that, and just take this new pill or shake they’ve just made.
With all of that in mind, I’m going to go through some of the common myths I’ve had people mention to me and hopefully push you back onto the right track of chasing the gainzzz.
- Machines Are The Devil
It’s commonly known that when it comes to getting stronger and building muscle, you need to be performing the big, compound lifts. These are your squat, bench press and deadlift. I suppose you could potentially throw in the pull up as well. This is because they use the most muscles, providing you with the most bang for your buck.
I completely agree with the compound lifts. However, some people in the fitness industry world believe that you should only do the compound lifts and avoid machines at all costs. This is what I don’t 100% agree with. Some machines can actually be beneficial to your training. For example, machines are very good at isolating muscles that may be lagging behind in strength and development. Therefore, adding in a leg extension or maybe a hack squat into your workout wouldn’t be the end of the world. Where people go wrong is using a machine for every exercise.
- Lift Heavy All The Time
It’s the general consensus amongst people new to training that you have to lift heavy all the time to get big. It is true that a stronger muscle will eventually lead to a bigger muscle. However, there’s slightly more to it than that.
If you are training to get stronger, it’s slightly different to training to get bigger. When you train to get stronger, you work off percentages of your heaviest lifts to teach your body to be as efficient as it can to ultimately lift heavier weights. When you train to get bigger, you need to focus more on muscular fatigue and damage, moderate loads and shorter rest periods. This is because you are trying to breakdown the muscle so that when you eat and sleep after training, your muscle grows back bigger. Therefore, you want to be aiming for the 8-12 rep range with up to a minute and a half rest between sets. Ultimately, it comes down to what your goal is whether that’s getting bigger or stronger.
- Eat All The Protein
Protein is the building blocks of your body. It’s important for muscle building, recovery and a whole host of other physiological benefits. However, the amount of emphasis put on protein from some corners of the fitness industry and food companies is ridiculous. I mean, who really needs protein bread?
I always advise my clients to make sure they get protein with every meal. This is because most people don’t get enough protein in their diet. On the flip side of that, there are some people who have been tricked into thinking that all they should eat is protein. The protein bread is a prime example. This is not good. By only eating protein you are missing out on a massive amount of nutritional value from other macronutrients. It’s important to make sure you’re having a balanced diet and eating a wide range of food. This will reduce the risk of negative effects on your health.
- Crawl Out Of The Gym After Every Workout
One thing that I try and reiterate with everyone I train, it’s about quality workouts and training, not quantity. If all you do is come into the gym and run yourself into the ground and practically crawl out the gym because you’ve hammered your body that much, that is not productive or to going to help you achieve your goals. Unless your goal is to be sore and tired all the time.
The focus should be on sticking to a well thought out and designed plan that is going to help you achieve your goals and get the results you want. This will include having workouts that push you, but not to the point of breaking, and allowing for rest and recovery days. The rest and recovery days, in my opinion, are so important. Without these, your muscles won’t have time to repair themselves from the inflammation and damage caused from training. This can lead to a massive amount of fatigue and potentially overtraining, lack of progress in strength and muscle development, and increase your risk of injury.
Take Home Points
The four myths I’ve gone through in this article are either what I’ve been asked about, or what I have seen misleading people recently. These are by no means all of the myths out there. There will be a lot more. To avoid them, I would highly recommend questioning what you are told, look to follow credible sources and if it’s too good to be true, it probably is.
What you can take away from this article is that;
- The use of some machines is actually beneficial if you’re looking to improve a muscle that is lacking in strength or muscular development
- You don’t have to lift heavy all the time, you just have to know if you’re training to get stronger or get bigger
- Eat a variety of food, protein alone won’t cut it if you want to be healthy and get bigger
- Make sure you train quality, not quantity and just run yourself into the ground as this will achieve nothing
Hopefully after reading this, you’ll be pointed in the right direction of improving your training. If you have any questions or comments, leave them below or drop me a message.
Thanks for reading,