is a sport filled with popular misconceptions, blatant misinformation,
and wishful thinking. Companies perpetuate these myths in order
to get you to buy magazines and books, expensive gym equipment,
supplements and other body building products. And some people
believe myths that give them an excuse to avoid working out. Here
are a few myths about body building that may be holding you back
from reaching your full potential.
time you spend at the gym, the bigger you'll get. Actually,
overtraining is the biggest mistake aspiring body builders make.
Exercise damages muscle; and when you work out too often, you
don't give your muscles time to heal and grow stronger. This keeps
you from growing and could lead to injuries.
don't realize it can take a muscle 5 to 10 days to fully recover
from an exercise that has pushed it to muscular failure-or to
the point where you physically can't perform another rep. And
if you work out another muscle group in the meantime, you'll take
your body's resources away from healing the last round of damage
you did-and it will take longer to recover. If you want to see
progress with your body building routine, rest is a crucial part
of your workout.
to eat a lot of calories to grow muscle. Unless you have an
extremely fast metabolism, you won't gain muscle mass by eating
hamburgers and ice cream. You'll gain weight, but it will be mostly
fat, not muscle. And gaining fat can undermine your efforts-it
can actually change your hormone balance, bringing your testosterone
levels down and inhibiting muscle growth. For most body builders,
a high-fat diet is a bad idea.
citizens shouldn't bodybuild. Strength training is good for
everybody, and you're never too old to start. Even people in their
seventies and eighties who start a body building routine see gains
in mobility, strength, and quality of life. Older body builders
do have to be more careful of muscle tears and injuries, however,
and should probably talk to a professional trainer or doctor about
working out safely before starting.
women shouldn't lift weights. This isn't true either. Pregnant
women can maintain muscle tone and keep healthy by lifting weights
throughout their pregnancy. When you're pregnant, you should avoid
doing exercises that target the abdominal muscles, require you
to lie on your stomach or back, or require balance-and you should
discuss your workout plans with a doctor or trainer before you
start. But working out is generally safe for pregnant women.
reps you perform, the better. The whole point of performing
reps is to work the muscle to its limit. If you can do that in
ten reps, there's no point in resting and performing another twenty
or thirty reps of an exercise.
use the pros' training programs, you can get the same results.
Most pro body builders have bodies that are naturally designed
to gain muscle. They can get big fast with frequent, high-intensity
workouts. For a very small fraction of the population, those workouts
will make them look like pro body builders-with the help of steroids.
But for most of us, those workouts will lead us to overtrain and
break muscle down rather than building it up. If you've been following
a pro's workout routine for months without seeing any results
to speak of, it's because you're overtraining-and the workout
isn't right for your body. If this is the case, you'd be better
off following a hardgainer routine that includes enough rest to
allow your muscles to heal after a workout.
get as big as the pros without using steroids. The truth is
that all professional body builders take drugs of one kind or
another to look the way they do. Without it, nobody-even the most
talented body builders-could pack on the muscle as quickly or
achieve the degree of muscle definition you commonly see in the
pros. If you choose to go the natural route, you may never look
like a professional body builder-or you might come close, depending
on your genetic makeup. But you will get stronger, leaner, more
muscular, and much healthier.
stop working out, all your muscle will turn to fat. It's not
uncommon for people to worry that if they grow muscular, they're
in danger of seeing all that muscle turn into fat when they stop
working out heavily. The truth is that muscle tissue does not
turn into fat tissue. However, large, muscular people tend to
eat a lot. When they're working out enough to burn those calories,
they keep the fat off. But when they stop working out, they usually
don't stop eating in conjunction-so they gain weight. It is possible
for a muscular person to gain fat if he or she stops working out-but
it's not because the muscle cells are changing into fat cells.
requires a lot of expensive equipment. You don't need an expensive
home gym or elaborate workout equipment to see results with your
body building routine. You can gain muscle and lose weight simply
by working out with free weights, and for many this is more effective
than using machines. The most effective workout routines involve
simple exercises like dead lifts, squats, and bench presses, which
you don't need a fancy machine to perform.
"sculpt" your muscles. The term "sculpting"
is a misnomer when applied to muscle. You can't sculpt your muscles
the way an artist sculpts clay. The shape of your muscles is caused
by genetics, not exercise.
When it comes
to building a lean, muscular body, everything isn't as it seems.
Many beginners think they have to spend all day at the gym in
order to see any results, but in most cases, spending too much
time at the gym can actually hurt your progress. You don't need
a lot of fancy gym equipment or even a lot of spare time to see
results-but you do need a healthy diet and a workout routine that
works for your body.
Jean Lam is the webmaster of Body
Building Resource which provides articles on weight training,
nutrition and fitness, body building book and DVDs.