The Biggest Bodybuilding Myths

Through time, a vast number of bodybuilding statements have come and gone. Some of them are true, while others are far from it. Unfortunately, all it takes is one well-muscled guy to start spreading the word to bodybuilder beginners before it becomes "the new way."

Below are some common myths and truths that seem to have passed the test of time. If you haven't heard of them before, it's time to take note so that you can integrate the positive ones into your workout and avoid letting the negative myths hurt you.

Always Work a Muscle to Failure

This is a sneaky myth because most people know that in order to see results from a workout, you have to apply an overloading stimulus to the muscle cell. An overloading stimulus is defined as something that pushes the muscle's boundary, creating micro-tears so that the muscle is forced to grow back bigger and stronger once rest is given. In other words, working the muscle to failure.The problem with this is that while you do need to push a muscle to failure to see results, you don't need to do it during every session. If you start giving 110% every time you're in the gym, you'll more than likely suffer from overtraining syndrome within a few weeks and you'll be sidelined for quite some time. Then you'll have plenty of time to recover because you could be out for weeks or months if the condition is severe enough.The key is to develop a program that allows you to work a muscle to failure, but also incorporates a couple sessions per week that are done short of failure. Don't forget to include a few days of complete rest.Furthermore, if you're on a low-carbohydrate diet, you may not want to work a muscle to complete failure as you risk depleting it of all its muscle glycogen stores. Unless you have planned large "carbups" after each workout, over time your body will become fully drained and you'll no longer be able to perform your workouts.

Bodybuilding Judgment: False

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More Weight Means Bigger Muscles

Some guys focus solely on pushing the weight in their sessions. This is because they think there is a strict correlation between the amount of weight lifted and an increase in muscular size... and for many guys, the size of muscles like the biceps and pectorals is the point of bodybuilding.This is not always the case. The fact of the matter is that regardless of what you do in the gym, you can't build more muscle tissue out of nothing. If you aren't eating more than enough of the nutrients that your body needs to maintain itself and to build the new muscle tissue, you aren't going to get bigger — no matter how heavy the weights you lift are. It's that simple.

Note, however, that it is perfectly possible to eat a maintained calorie intake and continually put more weight on the bar. This would mean that you are getting stronger without getting larger. There are specific athletes out there who train with just this purpose in mind, since too much additional size will begin to slow them down and is not wanted. When strength is your main goal, this is the ideal plan.

Bodybuilding Judgment: False

You Must Eat More to Get Bigger

Now, contrary to the point above, others think that if size is their goal, then life should become a 24-hour buffet. They eat everything and anything in sight, in the hopes that it will help spark new muscle growth.What these individuals need to realize is that, yes, they do require more calories, however, the body can only assimilate so many of those extra calories into lean muscle tissue. After that, the remainder will go toward fat mass. Your P-ratio is what determines the amount of surplus calories going to fat and the amount going toward lean muscle mass. Your P-ratio is partly influenced by genetic make-up — which is something you can't change — but the changeable factors that affect are your workout program, your nutritional intake and the timing of your meals.So if size is your goal, you need to make sure that you are eating enough to get growth in the first place, but not so much that with the additional muscle mass, you get a great deal of fat mass as well.

Bodybuilding Judgment: False

Time Off from the Gym Means Instant Fat Gains

Another common notion among the really hardcore lifters is the fear that if they miss an entire week (or sometimes even less), all their strength will go down the drain.

First off, realize that the body has something known as muscle memory. So, if you are planning a long layoff (two or more months), you can relax in knowing that it will be easier to bring your strength back up than it was before. This is because your muscles will "remember" how to get there.For shorter layoffs, often you don't lose strength, you gain it. The reason is because far too many individuals are on the verge of slight overtraining already. They are not letting their bodies fully recuperate between sessions and, therefore, are not seeing the strength gains that they could have. When they take a week off, their bodies fully recover and upon returning to the gym, they find that their strength shoots way up.Furthermore, these shorter breaks are often just what is needed to really jump start your motivational levels.

Bodybuilding Judgment: False

Gym Sessions Should Never Exceed One Hour

This is one statement that is very true. Less is definitely more when it comes to bodybuilding. If your sessions are lasting over an hour, you are either doing way too many exercises and need to curtail it to include more compound lifts and less isolated movements or you are just taking extended rest intervals.You want to get in the gym, do an intense workout and get out.Working out past an hour could have you seeing rapidly declining blood sugar levels along with a decrease in testosterone output. Your cortisol release will also start to go up, which is a catabolic hormone that will promote muscle breakdown and fat storage.If you can't seem to get your workouts under an hour, then it's likely time to have a look at a specific exercise selection or your workout split of choice. If you are trying to do a full-body plan three times per week for example, it may be better to look at doing a four-day, push-pull type of split instead.

Bodybuilding Judgment: True

Workout Through Pain

This is one of those myths that require you to consider the situation. If it's a small amount of muscular soreness from a previous workout session, then more than likely you are fine to do your workout the next day.However, if the pain is more deep-tissue related and feels as though it could be a torn muscle or ligament, then you may want to hold off and either give it a few more days to rest or see a doctor. You never want to risk pulling a tendon — they can take a long time to heal, particularly if you keep aggravating it with more exercise.

You need to judge your own body and learn what type of pain will still give you a green light to go ahead with your workouts and what type of pain means you need to stop. Don't let determination to keep progressing cause you to push through pain you know you shouldn't. At times, when motivational level is high, it's really hard to take the day off and allow for more rest, but consider the long-term consequences of your actions and hopefully that will enable you to make the right decision.

Bodybuilding Judgment: False (kind of)

Dumbbell Logic

So make sure you are aware of these myths and truths. In order to reap the benefits from your workouts, you need to have everything in line; rest, sleep, nutrition, and the actual workout. When just one of these factors begins to falter, the losses can be quite significant.