After being involved in the fitness industry for close to 20 years you find that there are a handful of bodybuilding myths that continually repeat themselves. They run in cycles and are sure to surface again in a few short years. Many times these fallacies have some merit, but are just not supported by in the trenches results. It is usually regurgitated information that someone is passing along from one to another without any real experience. Well, let me save you the time and energy of finding out the hard way about these myths. Below I will put to rest 4 that I just don’t buy into.
MYTH #1 – When getting lean “Cut carbs at night” or “Your biggest meal should be your breakfast” or “don’t eat after 8pm”
These are statements that I hear a lot. For some individuals routines they may hold merit to an extent, but for others they go out the window. I am of the firm belief your calories should be tailored around the expenditure you are exerting for that time period. For an individual that trains at 8pm at night, they need their largest intake of calories around their workout time. If they were to have a large caloric load from carbohydrates at breakfast, and then expend little calories for the next 8 hours sitting at their desk, it will store as fat.
FACT – Place your largest caloric and carb intake around the time you burn the most calories for day.
MYTH #2 – You have to squat to build big legs
I will be the first to admit that many individuals have built great legs squatting. I will also say that many others have built great legs without squatting. In bodybuilding there are no exercises that you must do. This is not power-lifting. Each and every individual is built slightly different, which makes some movements not ergonomically designed to fit our bodies. If your pelvic girdle or knees limit your ability to properly squat, there is no reason that you can’t build an equivocal set of legs using other various movements and machines. In fact for those of us with squatting limitations, throwing regular squats out the window might be the biggest benefit to our leg development.
FACT – If squatting is a movement that you can complete pain free and progress from, by all means do it. If you see little benefit from squats in your routine, or they cause you pain, by all means substitute in another movement.
MYTH #3 – “Eat big to get big” or “You need to bulk up to gain muscle”
This is one that drives me crazy. I have heard it preached over and over that in order to gain muscle you must take in an abundance of food that is well over your maintenance level. If your goal is to gain weight, and not quality muscle this is true. To gain good quality muscle, with little fat accumulation, this is just not the case.
FACT – To gain good quality muscle you do not always have to be in a large surplus. In fact, you can even have built in deficits within your day to help maintain an additional level of leanness. If you start your day with fasted cardio, you are in a deficit and burning fat. If you partition most of your calories and carbs around training, you can create an anabolic effect during the training phase of you day. It does not need to be a large surplus of calories, but just slightly above what your burning. Using nutrient timing to your advantage will not only allow you to gain weight, but it will be quality muscle weight.
MYTH #4 – “You have to go 0 carb to get lean” or “Go fat free to get ripped”
This is one of the biggest cyclical myths I hear. When people want to decrease body fat, they often think the most optimal way is to cut fat or carbs. Fat free was the main stay 10 years ago and more recently the keto (no carb). They are essentially one in the same. It is just a diet based around eliminating a macro nutrient. Will you lose weight? Sure! Is it optimal? No!
FACT – Anytime you eliminate one of your macros you will be in a large calorie deficit. The key here is to find a healthy balance of fats and carbs for long term sustained weight loss. No one wants to go the majority of their life eliminating certain foods they enjoy, nor is it healthy.
There are definitely a lot more health and bodybuilding myths floating around than these. The key to deciding if you want to believe what you hear or read is to use your common sense and do a little research before buying in to the belief. One of the worst feelings is to know you have wasted time by not progressing because of a fallacy that someone has tossed to you.
About the Author
Marc Snyder is an active NPC Bodybuilder and current 2013 Mr Ohio. Marc has created a balance in his life with the sport he loves and the family of 2 kids and a wife that he lives for. Marc has been involved in many avenues of the fitness industry. He is a certified personal trainer and strength and conditioning coach. He also has experience in clinical exercise physiology working in the field for nearly 2 years. It is now Marc’s goal to educate and guide individuals through yèt-their health and fitness journey by utilizing the knowledge he has gained over the years. He operates SnyderAthletics.com an online nutrition and training website to help people. achieve their goals.
Follow Marc on his journey of continued progress on his website at SnyderAthletics.com , Facebook at www.facebook.com/NPCMarcSnyder , and twitter at www.twitter.com/SnyderMarcA. He post his daily lifestyle tips on these feeds for you to access and utilize in your health and fitness journey.