The 10 Biggest Lies in Weightlifting


1.  You can get as big as a pro bodybuilder without taking steroids; it just takes longer.

Despite what many of the magazines say, all professional bodybuilders use either steroids or steroids in combination with other growth-enhancing drugs. Without manipulating hormones, it just isn’t possible to get that degree of muscularity, the paper-thin skin, and the continuing ability to pack on mass, despite sometimes having poor workout habits and relative ignorance of the principles involved that many pro bodybuilders have. Many supplement distributors, in order to sell their products, would have you believe otherwise.

Still, that’s no reason to give up. By using state-of-the-art training principles, consuming a nutrient-rich diet, and by getting proper amounts of rest, almost every person can make incredible changes in his or her physique. The competitive bodybuilder circuit may not be in your future, but building the kind of physique that gains you respect is certainly achievable, as are self-respect and robust health.

2.  In order to get really big, you have to eat a super-high-calorie diet.

Despite what many of the magazines say, all professional bodybuilders use either steroids or steroids in combination with other growth-enhancing drugs. Without manipulating hormones, it just isn’t possible to get that degree of muscularity, the paper-thin skin, and the continuing ability to pack on mass, despite sometimes having poor workout habits and relative ignorance of the principles involved that many pro bodybuilders have. Many supplement distributors, in order to sell their products, would have you believe otherwise.

Well, that’s true; you’ll get really big if you eat a super high-calorie diet, but you’ll look like the Michelin Man’s fraternal twin. However, if you want to get big, lean-tissue wise, then super-high-calorie diets are probably not for you unless you are one of those very few people with metabolic rates so fast you can burn off these calories instead of depositing them as fat. Unfortunately, studies show that, in most people, about 65% of the new tissue gains brought about by high-calorie diets consists of fat!

Of the remaining 35%, approximately 15% consists of increased intracellular fluid volume, leaving a very modest percentage attributable to increased lean muscle mass.

According to Dr Scott Connelly (MM2K, Spring 1992, p. 21), only about 20% to 25% of increased muscle growth stems from increased protein synthesis. The rest of the muscle growth is directly attributable to increased proliferation of the satellite cells in the basal lamina of muscle tissue, and dietary energy (calories) is not a key factor in the differentiation of these cells into new myofibres (muscle cells).

Of all factors determining muscle growth, prevention of protein breakdown (anti-catabolism) seems to be the most relevant, but adding adipose [fat] tissue through constant overfeeding can actually increase muscle pro-teolysis (breakdown). Furthermore, additional adipose mass can radically alter hormone balances which are responsible for controlling protein breakdown in muscle. Insulin balance, for one, which partially controls anti-catabolism in the body, is impaired by consistent overfeeding. So much for the eat-big-to-get-big philosophy!

Stay away from the super-high calorie diets unless you’re a genetic freak, or you’re woefully lean and don’t mind putting on fat [or you’re using appropriate pharmaceutical supplements].

Still, that’s no reason to give up. By using state-of-the-art training principles, consuming a nutrient-rich diet, and by getting proper amounts of rest, almost every person can make incredible changes in his or her physique. The competitive bodybuilder circuit may not be in your future, but building the kind of physique that gains you respect is certainly achievable, as are self-respect and robust health.

3.  If you eat a low-fat diet, it doesn’t matter how many calories you take in, you won’t gain any fat.

The bottom line is, if you exceed your energy requirements, you’ll gradually get fatter and fatter. It’s true that eating a diet rich in fat will pack on the pounds quicker for a variety of reasons, the most significant being that a gram of fat has nine calories as opposed to the four calories per gram that carbohydrates and proteins carry.

Fat is also metabolized differently in the body. It takes a lesser amount of calories to assimilate the energy in ingested fat than it does to assimilate an equal (weight wise) amount of carbohydrates. Consequently, more fat calories get stored than carbohydrate calories. However, the gross intake of carbohydrates, as facilitated by many of the weight-gain powders, will make you fat very quickly.

4.  The more you work out, the more you’ll grow.

No, no no. This is one of the most damaging myths that ever reared its ugly head. 95% of the pros will tell you that the biggest bodybuilding mistake they ever made was to over-train–and this happened even when they were taking steroids. Imagine how easy it is for the natural athlete to overtrain! When you train your muscles too often for them to heal, the end-result is zero growth and perhaps even losses. Working out every day, if you’re truly using the proper amount of intensity, will lead to gross overtraining. A body part, worked properly, i.e. worked to complete, total muscular failure that recruited as many muscle fibers as physiologically possible, can take 5-10 days to heal.

To take it a step further, even working a different body part in the next few days might constitute overtraining. If you truly work your quads to absolute fiber-tearing failure, doing another power workout the next day that entails heavy bench-presses or deadlifts is going to, in all probability, inhibit gains. After a serious leg workout, your whole system mobilizes to heal and recover from the blow you’ve dealt it. How, then, can the body be expected to heal from an equally brutal workout the next day? It can’t, at least not without using some drugs to help deal with the catabolic processes going on in your body [and even they’re usually not enough .]

Learn to accept rest as a valuable part of your workout. You should probably spend as many days out of the gym as you do in it.

 5.  You can’t grow if you only work each body part once a week.

If you work out — work out intensely– then it can take 5-10 days for the muscles to heal. Although the following should be taken with a grain of salt when determining your own exercise frequency, a study in the May 1993 issue of the Journal of Physiology revealed it can take weeks for muscles to recuperate from an intense workout. The study involved a group of men and women who had worked their forearms to the max. All of the subjects said they were sore two days after exercising, and the soreness was gone by the seventh day, and the swelling was gone by the ninth day.

After six weeks, the subjects had only gained back half the strength they had before the original exercise!

By no means are we advocating that you wait two months between workouts, but we are trying to prove the point that it takes muscles longer to heal than what you might have previously thought. For some people, especially natural bodybuilders, waiting a week between body part workouts might be just what the doctor ordered for size and strength gains!

6.  You have to use fancy weightlifting equipment in order to make the best gains.

Futuristic-looking, complex machinery designed to give your muscles the ‘ultimate workout’ is typically less effective than good-old barbells and dumbbells. Using simple free weights (barbells and dumbbells) on basic multi-joint exercises, like the squat, bench press, shoulder press, and deadlift, is still the most effective means of resistance exercise ever invented. Scientific research has shown that many exercise machines lack the proper eccentric component of an exercise that’s necessary to stimulate muscle tissue to remodel (grow).

7.  Weight training makes you big; aerobic exercise cuts you up.

Manipulations in your nutrient intake are the main factor in getting cut up, and how you do it doesn’t matter. If your daily caloric expenditure exceeds your daily caloric intake on a consistent basis, you will lose fat and get more cut.

Aerobic exercise is generally meant to improve cardiovascular efficiency, but if you do it long enough, you will burn up calories and in the long run drop the fat. However, weightlifting can do the same thing, only better. Studies have shown that the body burns far more efficiently if exercise is performed at a moderate pace for periods longer than 20 minutes. (It generally takes that long for the glucose in the bloodstream to be ‘burned up’, causing the body to dip into glycogen reserves for its energy) Once the glycogen reserves are used up, the body must metabolize fatty acids for energy. That equate to lost bodyfat.

In the long run, bodybuilding is more efficient than aerobics for burning up calories. Let me explain–if researchers were to undertake a study of twins whereby one twin performed daily aerobics and the other practiced a bodybuilding program where the end result was increased lean body mass, the bodybuilding twin would ultimately be a more efficient fat burner than his aerobic twin.

Why? Well, by adding lean body mass, that person’s metabolic requirements are higher–muscle uses energy even while it is not being used. The aerobic twin might use more calories during the time period of exercise itself, but the weight-lifting twin would use a higher amount during rest time, leading to a higher net 24-hour expenditure. The weight lifter burns fat just sitting there.

8.  If you do hundreds of sit-ups a day, you will eventually achieve a narrow, washboard-type midsection.

There is no such thing as spot-reduction. Doing thousands and thousands of sit-ups will give you tight abdominal muscles, but they will do nothing to rid your midsection of fat. Thigh adductor and abductor movements will give women’s thighs more firmness, but they will do nothing to rid the area of fat, or what is commonly called cellulite. Nothing will rid the body of fat, unless it is a carefully-orchestrated reduction in your daily energy intake; in other words, if you burn more calories than you ingest (or do that in conjunction with a nutrient partitioning agent.

9.  High repetitions make your muscles harder and more cut up.

Although there is some evidence to suggest that high repetitions might induce some extra capillary intrusion into a muscle, they will do nothing to make the muscle harder or more cut up. If a completely sedentary person began weightlifting, using either low reps or high reps, he or she would experience a rapid increase in tonus, the degree of muscular contraction that the muscle maintains even when that muscle is relaxed, but that would happen regardless of rep range.

The only way that high repetitions would make a muscle more cut up is if, by doing a higher number of reps, your body as a whole was in negative energy balance, and you were burning more calories than you were ingesting. The truth is, heavy weights, lifted for 5-8 reps per set, can build rock-hard muscles. You just have to get the fat off them to see how “hard” they are.

10.  Women need to train differently than men.

On a microscopic level, there is virtually no difference between the muscle tissue of men and the muscle tissue of women. Men and women have different levels of the same hormones, and that’s what is responsible for the difference in the amount of muscle a man can typically put on and the amount of muscle a woman can typically gain. There is absolutely no reason why either should train differently than the other sex, provided they have the same goals.

The only difference in training might be as a result of cultural, sexual preferences. A woman might desire to develop her glutes a little more so she looks better in a pair of jeans. Conversely, a man might want to build his lats a little more so that he fits the cultural stereotype of a virile man.

Article Via Bodybuilding.com

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2 thoughts on “The 10 Biggest Lies in Weightlifting”

  1. I already know no 1
    I got fooled by by number 6 and 7 myth!
    other than that is very informative and helpful, thanks!

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