Muscle Building Myths Debunked!
Myth #1: “I thought I was only supposed to lift heavy for 1-2 reps?”
Truth: More repetitions with lighter weights can build muscle as well as heavier weights; assuming they are done to the point of fatigue. Fatigue is the most important part, the last two to three reps should be very hard. To keep your muscles guessing, mixing high reps and low reps, either in the same or different workouts, is a great way to stimulate muscle growth and prevent boredom. This is where periodization comes into play. The concept of periodization is based on the fact that the body will adapt to an outside stimuli. Once this adaptation occurs, a stronger or different stimulus needs to be imposed for further adaptation to take place. So basically periodization is just setting up an organized plan consisting of macrocycles and microcycles to designate when you will change the amount of weight or reps you are lifting. The next factor to look at is the progressive overload principle. This states that a muscle is less likely to hypertrophy to its fullest unless ALL its muscle fibers are exhausted. That being said, it is just as possible to get the muscle gain you are looking for by lifting weights with a high amount of reps as long as you are working your muscles to total fatigue.
Myth #2: “I can eat whatever and whenever I feel like for bulking, no system needed!”
Truth: It is really important to continue to fuel your body throughout the day. If you eat sporadically or too far apart your body is going to start holding onto the food it already has instead of utilizing it accordingly. This is extra important if you are also working out that day. You need to make sure you eat a high carb, moderate protein pre-workout snack/meal and a high carb, moderate protein and fat (yes, not just protein!) post-workout snack/meal within 30-60 min follow your workout. This ensures fuel for max performance during your workout (better performance=more gains) and ensures max muscle synthesis in the recovery phase. If you don’t, you’re really missing a big window of opportunity to build mass because you’re not giving your muscles the nutrients they need to rebuild/repair your muscles. The best way to make sure you are eating enough is to eat a balanced meal every two-three hours throughout your day.
Myth #3: “To gain muscle, protein is the most important element”
Truth: No doubt, protein’s role in building muscle is very important. However, carbohydrates are often overlooked when planning a muscle building diet. A lot of people are not aware of the important of carbohydrates and they role they play in muscle development. Carbohydrates actually make up a large portion of your muscle and is your body’s primary fuel source. Carbs are the first thing to get depleted during a hard workout and if not replenished, will make building muscle near impossible.
If you are trying to optimize your diet for muscle gain and fat loss it is important to know how to integrate carbohydrates the right way into your diet:
- Eat complex carbs. Complex carbs should make up the bulk of your daily intake because they form muscle glycogen, which is the long lasting fuel your body needs to train. Complex carbs are slow burning which means they give you longer lasting energy. Think potatoes, brown rice, whole grain pasta, whole grain bread.
- Eat carbohydrates directly after training. When you train really hard you reduce your blood sugar level considerably. Eating carbohydrates straight after a training session provides your body with an insulin spike that puts your body into an anabolic, muscle building, state. Focus on more quick digesting carbs after a workout: fruit, white bread, white rice, chocolate milk
- Eat small amounts of carbohydrates more often. Eating smaller servings of carbs more often helps keep a steady flow of insulin into the body. Eating too much in one sitting is unnecessary and your body will not be able to process an overload at one time. Please note: the what’s too much/not enough is highly varied person to person. You will need to know your daily macros to figure this out. Contact us if you need help!
- Have carbohydrates and protein in the same meal. When you mix carbs and proteins together in the same meal you maximize your recovery potential. Protein also makes up muscle mass and therefore helps to heal and repair micro tears in the muscle from a workout; as well as other tissues, enzymes and hormones. Carbohydrates provide fuel for your muscle to grow and helps transport the nutrients from protein to the muscle cells which aids in muscle growth.
Not sure to apply all this to your diet? Need help determining your energy and nutrient needs? Sign up for a FREE consultation to learn how we can help!