For the past month, we’ve focused exclusively on weight loss. We’ve talked about the foods to eat, those to avoid, and the eating patterns to adopt. This week, however, we’d be doing something similar to one of our earlier articles on weight loss. We’d be debunking some of the common bodybuilding myths you must have heard and internalized. Many of these myths are the reason you’re yet to see any remarkable muscle growth. We hope that with this article, you can break free of the chains holding you back.
Here they are:
- Bodyweight Exercises Are Useless in Building Muscle
This is simply not true. Bodyweight exercises have, time after time, been proven to be effective in bodybuilding. Many believe that you can’t increase your body weight the same way you increase weights in the gym. However, if you understand how bodybuilding works, you’d know that this isn’t a problem at all.
You can always make them harder and more demanding on certain muscle groups. If regular squats become too easy, try split squats or one-legged squats. If regular push-ups become too easy, try diamond push-ups or one-arm push-ups. There are hundreds of ways to have an intense bodyweight workout with similar effects to a gym session.
- You Must Do 5 X 5 Strength Training to Build Muscle
Now here’s something, 5 x 5 strength training has its place. However, if you’re a newbie bodybuilder, it’s the worst thing for you. Why? To grow muscle, you need to lift heavy loads (weights) for long periods. The only way you can achieve this is by lifting moderately heavy weights at higher rep numbers. For example, on the bench press, your rep range in every set must fall between 8 – 12 reps. Anything less, and you’re wasting your time. You’d never create enough tension on your muscles to spur growth.
This is why 5 x 5 strength training isn’t effective for beginners like you. Here you lift incredibly heavyweights just five times in a set. It is impossible to get the required muscular activation you need for growth in only five reps. You need way more than that in a set.
The bottom line is: to grow muscle, keep your rep ranges between 8 -12. If the weights are too heavy to lift for at least eight reps, then it’s a sign that you need to reduce the weights. Lifting with poor form could get you seriously injured and defeat the entire purpose of bodybuilding.
So, leave the 5 x 5 for now. You’d get there eventually. However, it definitely wouldn’t be today.
- Beans is a Proteinous Food
This is one of the most common bodybuilding myths ever, and we blame it on all school teachers and textbooks. Right from childhood, we were told that beans were a protein. “Eat beans if you want to grow tall” was something we all heard as kids. Well, here’s the truth. Beans is not proteinous. It is…wait for it… a carbohydrate!
Are you surprised? We definitely were the first time we knew. Our cheapest and most readily available source of protein isn’t actually a “protein.” A cup (171g) of beans contains only 15g of protein and 45g of Carbohydrates. What this means is that with beans, you consume far more carbohydrates than proteins. Yup, the protein content in beans isn’t enough to meet your daily requirements for muscle growth ON ITS OWN. You can eat them to supplement your protein intake but never as your main source of it. For protein-rich foods, try eggs, fish, chickens, meat, or turkey. You can also get whey which is by far the best and most complete source of protein.
- You Can’t Get Big Without Steroids and Supplements
If we had a dollar every time we heard this, we’d be richer than Bezos himself. You can get big without steroids. Ignore whatever people say. 90% of the time, it’s merely a coping mechanism for people who don’t want to admit they gave up too soon at bodybuilding. As long as you train at least five times a week and eat a high protein diet, you WOULD get big. It is as straightforward as that.
Of course, “straightforward” isn’t necessarily the same thing as “easy.” This is where absurd ideas are born. It isn’t easy to track one’s eating for months and go to the gym five days a week without fail. Since most people are terrible at keeping records, they fail to see how little they work out. Rather, they blame the entire process. They give up and lament about how they’d have gotten bigger if only they had steroids available to them.
Of course, we aren’t saying you can get to Kai Green levels as a natural without steroids. Or that you can go from being as skinny as DJ Qualls to having as much muscle as Dwayne Johnson. We doubt that’s your goal. You can build impressive muscle mass without popping a single pill. All you need is time and dedication.
- If You “Train Too Much” You’d Get Too Muscular and Misshapen
For 99% of bodybuilders, there’s no such thing as “overtraining.” If you’re skinny, it takes months of consistent training and eating before you can even look like you lift. Even at this level, most people wouldn’t know you go to the gym till you take off your shirt. You’d need at least a whole year of consistent workouts before you can be regarded as a “big muscular guy.”
What are we saying here? You don’t need to worry about overtraining at all. Most of the misshapen bodybuilders you see are drowning in steroids. For a regular builder like you, you have absolutely nothing to worry about. You’d never get to the level of the size you describe as “misshapen.”
- You Can Get Big In 2 – 3 Months
This is another common bodybuilding myth believed to be sold to many beginners. The idea that you can look like King Leonidas and his men within 2 – 3 months of work. Well, we’re here to tell you that it isn’t possible. Don’t get us wrong, though. It is possible to look jacked and ripped like Hollywood actors and supermodels. The myth here is that such a body can be achieved in 3 months or less.
The celebrities you compare yourself to have access to world-class trainers, diets & supplements. Even at that, they don’t transform their bodies within three months. So don’t kill yourself with unrealistic expectations. You can lose a substantial amount of body FAT within 2 – 3 months. If you’re skinny, you can see some slight muscle definition within your first three months. However, it is IMPOSSIBLE to go from skinny to being impressively muscular within anything less than 7 – 10 months of consistent hard work.
- There Are Exercises You Must Do
There are no compulsory exercises you must-do if you want to get big. Some routines are more popular than others. However, popularity isn’t the test for effectiveness. We’re telling you this because newbie bodybuilders often get misled at the gym with terrible advice like this. “You have to deadlift heavy.” “The flat bench press is the best for muscle building.”
Apart from the pull-ups and chin-ups, almost every other exercise has at least two variations or substitutes. We’d do a more detailed post on this sometime.
- Bodybuilders Are Nut Heads
We blame Hollywood for this one. In movies, the big strong guy is almost always the dumbest. He’s always someone who never thinks his actions through. He prefers to think with his muscles rather than with his brain. Over the years, this has led to nasty stereotypes against bodybuilders. Many now subconsciously label bodybuilders as “not being smart.” This is the furthest thing from the truth. In fact, some of the smartest people we know are hardcore bodybuilders.
It’s understandable if you’ve been letting this fear hold you back. However, we’re here to tell you that from now on, you no longer have to.
- 30-day Abs
This needs no further explanation. If you have a belly fat problem, your only solution is to lose overall body fat through strength training. It is impossible to magically burn all your body fat in 30 days with crunches. Spot reduction is impossible. EVEN if it worked, there’s no way you’d see any meaningful gains within 30 days.
- The Girls Come Easy When You’re Big and Ripped
While we added this as a joke, it is a bodybuilding myth in its own right. Many guys hit the gym with the sole purpose of looking attractive to women. They dedicate months of hard training there only to come out and get disappointed. The reason for this is simple. While girls and women love bigger guys with muscle, being big isn’t the final factor for most of them. Your physical attributes are just another item on a checklist. If you have a terrible personality, your lot with women won’t change much. The same goes if you struggle in social situations. Granted, they’d be attracted to your impressive physique at first. However, if you have nothing else going for you, then you’re in for a very rude surprise.
Learn to get comfortable with women in social situations. Work on the areas you have issues with (approaching, starting conversations, etc.). It is only when you add these improvements to your physique that you can become a real-life James Bond.
Bodybuilding myths are just as bad as weight loss myths. They warp your thinking and make you create obstacles to your progress where none exist. In this article, we addressed the most common ones we’ve come across. The ones which we believe directly impede the progress of newbie bodybuilders. So, while this list isn’t exhaustive in any way, it would do for now. As you progress, you’d gain enough insight and experience to enable you to spot more of these myths on your own.