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We live in an age where every answer you could possibly need is within your grasp, it can be found at the push of a button.
Sadly you have to be asking the right questions to arrive at the right answer, and too many budding lifters are asking the wrong questions.
There is a lot of misinformation available on the internet. Anyone with an ego and a keyboard can sound like an expert to somebody.
As a result, many people are more misinformed and confused than ever. Your grandparents knew that if they ate too much and exercised too little they would gain weight, but now people believe that drinking a calorie-free soft drink is responsible for obesity! They are over thinking things and trusting the wrong people.
This article will do what it can to rectify some of the most bullshit beliefs about muscle growth that exist in the bodybuilding community.
Bullshit Myth #1. Muscle turns to fat when you stop
This is such an irritating myth because it’s so often used as an excuse by two types of people 1) people who never bother to exercise – because it will eventually turn to fat right? And 2) people who used to be super strong but then became fat.
Here’s the thing muscle fibres cannot turn into adipose tissue (body fat) because they are two completely different things.
It’s like saying if you don’t drive your car regularly it will turn into a bag of Chinese takeout, it’s completely nonsensical.
What actually happens if you stop exercising is that your muscles atrophy (get smaller) and your metabolism slows down.
If you lower your calories to match this new level of activity then you won’t gain any weight. But if you eat the same as you always have, but aren’t burning the calories that you used to you will begin to store those extra calories as body fat.
If people said that instead of “muscle turns to fat” there would be no problem, but many seem to genuinely believe that muscle fibres will turn into fat. Which is stupid.
Bullshit Myth #2. Women will get bulky if they lift weights
There are two main differences between men and women, the first is hormonal and the second is structural.
The hormonal difference is that men produce much more testosterone than women, and women produce much more oestrogen than men.
While both testosterone and oestrogen are responsible for muscle growth, oestrogen is a LOT less effective at this, so women will not be able to get as big or as strong as a man (provided that man exercises too).
The second difference is a structural difference, when it comes to the lower body there is not too much difference between men and women – which is why a lot of women are able to squat heavy weights. But from an upper body point of view there is a huge difference.
Because of these two differences women would find it almost impossible to get bulky lifting heavy weights, hormonally they would not be able to adapt to hypertrophy or strength training as well as a man would, and structurally they would not be able to lift weights that were heavy enough to affect that kind of muscle growth.
What about those huge women bodybuilders from the 90s? Well they were taking massive doses of anabolic steroids, growth hormone, and insulin. If you are taking all of those drugs then you deserve to get bulky!
But even if all of this were not true women would still not get bulky by accident!
You have to work damn hard, eat the right amount of calories, and live in the gym to build muscles big enough to make you look bulky.
Most people who look bulky do so because they are carrying way too much body fat. Want to lose that body fat? Then lift some weights! You’ll get leaner and less bulky.
Bullshit Myth #3. Spot Reduction of Fat
You cannot decide where you are going to lose body fat, you do not have that type of control over your body.
You will lose fat from all over your body in response to exercise, because your body requires the extra energy that your exercising burns.
If you have a lot of stored fat around your abdominal area, then it might go from there first, but there are lots of other factors.
Bullshit Myth #4. Resistance Machines Suck
There seems to have been a huge uprising against resistance machines in some circles, they’re “useless” and you should only be performing free weight exercises if you want to lose weight and build muscle.
Now there is some merit to this argument, and nobody should believe that the dusty ab crunching machine in the corner is a better exercise choice than a barbell deadlift.
But to say that resistance machines are useless is stupid. If you are sitting in a chest press machine and you push the handles forward are you not using your pectoral muscles and triceps to move the weight?
Therefore you are working your chest and triceps. That part is indisputable. So how can a chest press be useless? It’s working your chest.
Maybe it’s not as effective as a barbell bench press, but it’s better than nothing and a nice change of pace once in a while. It’s also perfect for drop sets, eccentric training, supersetting and many other exercise techniques.