In between songs changing, walking to the drinking fountain, or just in random company I hear so many crazy myths that just won’t go away. Time to poke some fun.
1.) Creatine is a steroid.
If you’ve never heard this one then I really have to ask do you even lift? More time than not I hear people claiming to “cycle creatine” or purely making claims that all supplements are steroids.
Those same people also are the ones who think a workout is wasted if they don’t have a shake in their “anabolic window.”
2.) Creatine will make you fat.
For some reason people think taking creatine inherently makes you fat. The truth is a lot of people who take creatine also start adding massive amounts of food which include mostly junk food or other supplements meant for weight gain.
Some people start holding some subcutaneous water but that’s somewhat normal. You aren’t going to turn into a lard ass because you don’t cycle your steroi.. I mean creatine.
3.) You need to isolate the muscle to build it.
I’m a firm believer in building functional strength which means compound movements.
Functional strength means you are building strength doing basic human activities. Bending over and picking something up (deadlifting), squatting down to pick something up or to rest (squat), pushing something over your head to a shelf (overhead press), push ups or pushing something away (bench), and pulling something (rows) are all things everyone can benefit from getting stronger in.
If you were to get strong in all of those movements and add in accessory work for your weak points, you would have a great physique. You don’t HAVE to isolate a muscle to build it.
4.) You can shape a muscle with isolation movements.
Genetics shape muscles, you cannot change your bicep peak just because you hit preacher curls with a 32.3 degree angle and keep constant tension on the bicep with your arm angled from 52 to 28 degrees.
5.) Big muscles are strong muscles.
Making your nervous system more efficient and being able to fire more muscle fibers makes you stronger, not big muscles.
In order for muscles to grow they have to get stronger, but just because you run endless sets of hypertrophy work doesn’t simply make you stronger.
You need to build strength to build muscle and you need to build muscle to build strength.
6.) Muscle turns to fat when you don’t train.
Muscle doesn’t convert to fat simply because you stop training.
If you stop training and eat like you did when training, you bet your ass will get fat.
If you put the iron down, put the fork down too.
7.) Train like a bodybuilder to become a bodybuilder.
Everyone thinks you have to train like Ronnie Coleman or Phil Heath to look like them. There are many factors that make this false including how long they’ve been training for, what works best for them, and the supplements they take…
Not all bodybuilders are created equal.
8.) Train for the pump.
If you don’t feel the pump while lifting, then you aren’t doing enough. Simply training until you get a pump doesn’t mean you are building muscle.
Getting a pump can feel great and it can be an indicator that blood is shuttling nutrients to your muscles, but if you base your workouts off of how much of a pump you get you aren’t going to make progress long.
9.) You must train to failure.
There is some truth to this that training until failure guarantees that you are utilizing as much muscle fibers as possible. On the flip side, myself along with many of my friends who are top-level competitors don’t train until failure and make great progress.
The forced negatives and huge sets are for people who have already progressed as much as they can on progressive overload or linear progression. 95% of you don’t need to do this.
10.) You can spot reduce fat and spot build muscle.
Note the word spot. Doing endless ab work won’t build abs or melt your belly away. For the love of God stop doing this and pick up some weights.
11.) Low reps for size, high reps for cutting.
I get messages daily about people wanting to quit lifting heavy and do high reps with light weight to cut up. Simply doing heavy low rep sets versus light high rep sets doesn’t indicate how your muscles grow or their size.
Progression is progression and you build muscle as you go. If you want to get cut, quit eating so much and improve your conditioning.
12.) Monday is chest day, Friday is leg day.
Priorities first I guess…
Protip: If you squat on Monday, and bench on Friday no one will be in your way.
13.) No salt or seasoning on anything.
Listening to the media and other sources of misinformation about nutrition has people posting pictures of their boiled unseasoned chicken and steamed broccoli all over Instagram and Facebook and it makes me gag. I’m not sure where people heard that using some seasoning on their food is bad.
The only time you should worry about a small amount of sodium is when you are about to step on a stage and you need to dry out. Having a sprinkle of salt and some cayenne pepper or hot sauce isn’t going to make you blow up like a balloon.
I like bland food myself but damn add something to it!
14.) Eat only at certain times of the day.
I had this conversation yesterday with someone who says the reason they are fat is because they eat after 7pm. No the problem is that you don’t exercise at all, the 2 times you eat out daily, then go home and eat chips and other junk food all night until you fall asleep is the problem.
Many people who intermittent fast don’t eat all day and get most of their calories in after 7pm and are lean.
15.) Time off from the gym means gains lost.
If taking time off from the gym means all gains lost, tell that to the elite level powerlifters that take a week off before their meet to come lift more weight then they have in the gym.
If you have to take some time off for work or even a vacation, you aren’t going to lose muscle or strength. Any one thousandth of an ounce you lost will be gained back when you start training again.
This myth comes from those who take 6 months off from the gym and sit on their asses that whole time.
16.) Eat no fat, no fat gained.
Overeating will make you fat. Just because you don’t eat dietary fats doesn’t mean this keeps you from getting fat.
Dietary fats are important for hormonal regulation, help you feel satisfied longer after a meal, and they taste mighty fine.
17.) Pro bodybuilding routines work best for everyone.
Doing 50 sets of each exercise for each muscle each day is all fine and dandy but don’t expect to recover from all of that work. Natural lifters can only recover so much, so doing these extreme workouts don’t pay off without proper supplementation…
18.) You need to work each body part more than once a week.
You can train each body part more than once a week but it isn’t necessary to make great progress. Training is about being smart, progressing, eating and recovering, and playing the long game.
Training a body part twice a week doesn’t make it grow twice as fast.
19.) No longer than a 45 second rest between sets.
This myth is more like a good general rule of thumb; if you take 5 minutes between each set and you aren’t doing 80%+ heavy work then you are taking too long talking to your buddies.
Try to keep the rest times as short as possible so that you can function and do the exercise correctly.
20.) Pro bodybuilders are the epitome of health and fitness.
I hate to tell you, but when you see pro bodybuilders on stage, they are at the weakest and most unhealthy point they can possibly be in. Running dehydrated, malnourished, and completely drained of everything they can to look the most shredded on stage is terrible on the body and you feel like shit. In order to get to the size they do, some will force themselves into having diabetes to grow.
Elite powerlifters trying to make weight for their class will dehydrate and starve themselves to the point of needed multiple IV bags at the meet to get fluid into them so they don’t die.
If you are trying to look like a bodybuilder because you think that’s healthy, it’s not.
21.) Spend 1 hour or less in the gym.
This is another good rule of thumb that if you have a decent routine and you don’t screw around too much, you shouldn’t be in the gym much longer than an hour. I’ve had the 2 or 3 hour days in the gym as well, but those are few and far between.
Keep rest times lower, don’t talk to people or stare at the women and get the hell out.
22.) Chicken and broccoli will get you swole.
Scott Mendelson benches over 1000 pounds and is a world record geared bench presser and eats over 10,000 calories a day.
Chicken and broccoli won’t get you swole, you need to eat clean fresh foods, but a steak with a baked potato or some bacon and eggs will get you more muscle and strength before some unseasoned chicken and broccoli will.
23.) If you aren’t sore the next day, you didn’t workout hard enough.
Even I’ve fallen into this trap that “well I must not have worked hard enough” since I’m not sore. The fact is your body gets more efficient at recovery and gets used to the abuse you give it.
If you are strength training you are rarely going to feel sore unless you start adding extra volume or increasing intensity.
24.) Protein bars are better than food.
You should look at protein bars as a treat instead of a meal replacement.
If you have access to real food, eat it before you go running to a protein bar because they are highly processed.
If you want a candy bar, eat a protein bar instead of a snickers.
25.) Carbs are only in bread and pasta.
Just because you cut out bread and pasta doesn’t mean you’re cutting carbs. Anything with sugar, most processed foods, drinks, etc have carbs. Hell even corn is high in carbs compared to other vegetables.
Read the labels to understand what’s going in your body.
26.) Big muscles are always strong muscles.
If a picture is worth a thousand words, this video should explain it all.
27.) More weight means bigger muscles.
I said earlier you need to build muscle to build strength and you need to build strength to build muscle. You will build more strength before muscle, so adding 40 pounds to your bench may not yield the same type of muscle gains you think.
Muscle building is a long game, learn to play it.
28.) More volume is always the answer.
Once again, supplementation and recovery is important.
29.) You need to stretch before you lift.
You don’t need to stretch before you lift but you do need to warm up. Stretching is actually releasing tension from the muscles which can make you weaker or make you susceptible to injury.
Unless you have some bad muscle imbalances or mobility issues, there’s no need to stretch before you train.
30.) Don’t train if you’re still sore.
If you’ve ever been sore and still gone to the gym, you realize your performance is still there and the soreness goes away as you train.
This is a silly myth and it gives the people who aren’t truly driven to accomplish their goals a reason to not go to the gym. If your muscles are still sore and today is the day you’re supposed to go in and train, get off your ass and go.
Any other myths you know of that you hear frequently? Leave them below.