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Every niche, every cult following, they suffer from this tough to describe state of ‘over discussion’ in which basic logic, understanding and all round love of the subject at hand is infested with utter bullshit and hearsay. None more so than the world of bodybuilding.
We rack our brains again and again to understand where it all comes from, why this industry is plagued with made up nonsense and why members of the community who know very little feel the need to impart their ‘wisdom’ on others anyway.
It’s comparable to asking the 6.5 stone part time student in the health food store to give you advice on the best mass gainer product they have. At least he probably has a few cue cards behind the till to help him out.
What really grinds our gears are the ‘gym bros’ who have been in the gym for 5 minutes but have already added a few new tattoos to show off in a stringer.
These are the fellas who ask to “work in” with you on the machine you’re using and invite themselves to critique your form. Then, they will probably give you some nutrition advice just to make sure they’ve made their point.
These guys are usually easy to spot and you’re probably already avoiding them like the plague, but here’s some of the worst advice you’ll probably hear at some point, but should never ever put to practice.
“As long as you work out every day you can eat whatever you want, calories are calories…”
Most of you have probably face palmed already thinking of all the times you’ve heard this one in some shape or form. But let’s just dispel this myth.
Yes, if you’re very one dimensional about it, calories are calories and they add up the same on a calculator regardless where you get them from. But that just isn’t the point is it now?
Trying to shrug off the importance of a solid nutritional plan in favour of just working out more or harder, is immaturity at its finest. The reason it’s so often down played is that quite simply most people don’t have the stomach for it. They don’t have the dedication and the will power it takes to combine a healthy balanced diet with intense training.
You absolutely need to ensure you have an adequate protein intake vs your overall size and muscle mass.
Some fat in your diet is also essential but from specific unsaturated and monounsaturated sources. And as far as carbs go, yes they are essential, especially for growth and performance in the gym.
The wrong kind of carbs however will turn into glycogen in the blood and muscle tissue faster than others e.g. sugars and high GI foods like French fries. When this happens your glycogen stores will up quickly and your body will store the remainder as nasty body fat.
Look the other way when you hear this, and continue with your meal prep.
“Higher reps with lower weight will make you look more toned”
It’s tough to know where to start with this one, we usually have to laugh it off for about 5-10 minutes before we can correct it.
Let’s start at the beginning and address the issue of muscle ‘tone’.
There is essentially no such thing as a toned muscle or toned body. It’s a media depiction of someone with a low enough body fat percentage to show their muscle definition underneath. You can achieve this is two ways, or rather you should be looking to achieve this in two ways;
- Build more lean muscle
- Reduce body fat
So don’t be fooled in to ‘toning’ yourself, put those electric shock ab pads back in the £250 box they came in and never open it again.
Growing muscle is the same process whether you want to be a mass monster or if you’re looking for a leaner, more athletic physique.
Your training will dictate it slightly but also your diet and the amount of calories you consume among other considerations will also have a huge impact on your ability to grow past a certain size.
As previously mentioned, if you’re eating clean then you’re also far less likely to store excess body fat in the process.
Continue with the rep and weight range which causes your muscles to grow. Keep challenging yourself or your body won’t grow.
As a base we often recommend lifting the most challenging weight possible for 12-15 reps over 3-4 sets, progressing as you get stronger. This is a good foundation to ensure hypertrophy occurs.
100 reps with zero weight still equals zero, unless you do CrossFit, and then it makes you a hero. But we know you don’t want that life.
On top of the above, eat clean and add in cardio where required to get the physique you’re looking for. Don’t stop lifting!
“Squats are the only exercise you need for legs”
Now, let’s be clear… We LOVE the squats; they rock our world. But as awesome a move for building legs, glutes and even a stronger core as squats are, it’s laziness which often leads to the belief they’re all you need to build your legs.
Like anything the body will adjust to the movement, building muscle where it needs to make squats easier.
Your legs are big complex muscle groups and if you expect them to really grow you need to work them from a variety of angles, the same as you likely do with your arms, chest, back and shoulders etc. You’re best off using a combination of compound and isolation movements.
Particularly when it comes to adding that detail, your quad extensions and hamstring curls can’t be neglected. Don’t go neglecting your calves now either – don’t be that guy.