30 Big Lies Of Bodybuilding
The Truth Will Shock You!
You can get as big as a pro bodybuilder without taking steroids; it just takes longer.
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Despite what so many magazines say, all professional bodybuilders use either steroids or steroids in combination with other growth-enhancing drugs.
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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 of mass building. Certain supplement distributors, in order to sell their products, would have you believe otherwise.
Still, that's no reason to give up the gym. By using state-of-the-art training principles, eating a nutrient-rich diet and getting enough rest, almost everyone can bring about incredible physique changes. While the competition circuit may not be in your future, building a physique that gains you respect is certainly achievable, as are self-respect and robust health.
In order to get really big, you have to eat a superhigh-calorie diet.
True, you'll get really big if you eat a superhigh-calorie diet, but you'll look like the Michelin Man's fraternal twin. If you want to get big with lean tissue, however, superhigh-calorie diets are probably not for you unless you're one of the happy few who have metabolic rates so fast, you can burn off those calories instead of depositing them as fat.
Unfortunately, studies show that, in most people, about 65 percent of new tissue gains brought about by high-calorie diets consist of fat.
Of the remaining 35 percent, approximately 15 percent consists of increased intracellular fluid, leaving a very modest percentage attributable to increased lean muscle.
According to Scott Connelly, M.D., creator of Met-Rx, only 20 to 25 percent of increased muscle growth stems from increased protein synthesis. The rest of it is directly attributable to proliferation of the satellite cells in the membrane of muscle tissue, and dietary energy—a.k.a. calories—is not a key factor in the differentiation of those cells into new muscle cells, a.k.a. myofibers.
Of all factors determining muscle growth, prevention of protein breakdown seems to be the most relevant, but adding fat through constant overfeeding can actually increase muscle breakdown.
Furthermore, additional fat can radically alter the hormone balances that control protein breakdown in muscle. For example, insulin balance, which partially controls protein breakdown, is impaired by consistent overfeeding. So much for the eat-big-to-get-big philosophy.
Stay away from superhigh-calorie diets unless you're a genetic freak or you're woefully lean and don't mind putting on fat—or you're using pharmaceutical "supplements." And even then... more about that later.
If you eat a lowfat 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 packs on the pounds 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 carbohydrate and protein carry.
Fat is also metabolized differently in the body. It takes fewer calories to assimilate the energy in the fat you eat than it does to assimilate an equal amount of carbs. Consequently, more fat calories get stored than carbohydrate calories. Gross intake of carbohydrates, as aided by many of the weight-gain powders, will make you fat very quickly, however.
The more you work out, the more you'll grow.
No, no no! That's one of the most damaging myths that ever reared their ugly heads. Ninety-five percent of the pros will tell you that the biggest bodybuilding mistake they ever made was to overtrain—and that it happened even when they were taking steroids.
Imagine how easy it is for a natural athlete to overtrain. When you work your muscles too often for them to heal, the result is zero growth and perhaps even loss.
Working out every day, if you're truly using the proper amount of intensity, will lead to gross overtraining. A bodypart worked properly—i.e., worked to complete muscular failure, with as many muscle fibers as physiologically possible recruited—can take five to 10 days to heal.
Even working a different bodypart in the next few days might constitute overtraining. For example, if you truly work your quads to absolute fiber-tearing failure, doing a power workout the next day using heavy bench presses or deadlifts will in all probability inhibit gains.
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After a serious leg workout your whole system mobilizes to heal and recover from the blow you've dealt it. How, then, can you expect your body to heal from an equally brutal workout the next day? You can't, at least not without using some drugs to help deal with the catabolic processes going on in your body—and even they aren't usually 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.
The longer you work out, the better.
It just isn't necessary to do 20 to 30 sets for a bodypart, or even 10, as many so-called experts would have you believe. In fact, research has shown that it's possible to completely fatigue a muscle in one set, provided that the set taxes the muscle completely.
You need to engage as many muscle fibers as possible and take them to the point of ischemic rigor. That is, rather than contract and relax, the muscle fibers freeze up—a microscopic version of rigor mortis. Any further contraction causes microscopic tearing. Muscle growth is just one adaptation to that kind of stress and naturally the kind most bodybuilders are interested in.
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Get the full article in the August edition of Iron Man Magazine. Complete article contains the 30 bodybuilding lies.
Editor's note: For more articles by Terry Banawich, visit Bodybuilding.com. IM