5 Common Myths to Getting StrongerApr 12, 2022
Have you been trying for months or years to put on muscle and build strength without the results you’re hoping for? While there are several things to take into account when addressing a goal like this, you might be limiting your ability to do so by following some common myths that are steering you in the wrong direction when it comes to putting on muscle. If you’re looking to get stronger and build muscle, make sure you’re aware of some of these common myths, so that you can put more focus on the things that truly work. Let’s address some of the common myths one at a time:
1. You need to eat your bodyweight in grams of protein
If you are looking to build muscle, get lean, or lose weight, protein is an important macronutrient to pay attention to. It can help with recovery, building lean muscle, and helping with weight loss through controlling hunger. However, carrying around tupperwares of plain chicken breast and throwing down protein shakes constantly is not a necessary requirement for getting stronger and building muscle.
The actual range for protein requirements varies so much, depending on where you look. If you want to overcomplicate it, and are into extensive tracking (all the power to you), your range falls somewhere between 0.8 g/kg-2.0 g/kg (or around 10-35% of total calories). But that’s a huge range that doesn’t really help anyone, and at Inside Out we believe simple=strong. So instead of thinking that more equates to better, find an amount that works for you and your lifestyle (1-2 palm sized servings per meal is a great starting point) and focus on quality of protein over quantity.
2. You need to eat small meals throughout the day
Many places preach that small meals throughout the day will help ‘fire up’ your metabolism, keep you satisfied, and build muscle. There’s absolutely a time and place for specific meal timing like this for competitive bodybuilders, athletes, or powerlifters training for a specific goal - but for most people this is not only unnecessary but potentially harmful for reaching your fitness goals.
For the person just looking to build some muscle, lose some fat, and feel better, 2-3 square meals will do just fine for getting you to where you need to be. Not to mention those with busy lifestyles that aren’t interested in constantly prepping and eating food, this tends to align better with lifestyle without compromising your goals. Contrary to popular belief, going longer without eating will not cause your body to start losing muscle, going into starvation mode, or slowing your metabolism. In fact regularly going 12-16 hours without eating can actually be beneficial for those looking to lean up, build muscle, and be generally healthy.
3. You need to train your muscles in isolation
While spot training muscles in isolation can be beneficial for achieving a desired shape, it is certainly not necessary for getting in shape. For those that find themselves short on time, opt for more bang for your buck exercises prioritizing compound movements (think squats, deadlifts, pushups, pullups, rows, etc) over single joint movements (think bicep curls, leg extensions, etc). You can get plenty strong and build plenty of muscle on a few compound movements done correctly at a high intensity.
4. You need to perform HIIT training
HIIT (High Intensity Interval Training) is often claimed to be one of the best ways to build muscle, lose fat, and achieve a high level of fitness. However, we find that most addicted to HIIT training are actually sacrificing muscle growth or performance due to overtraining. If you enjoy HIIT training, there’s nothing wrong with using it as part of a well rounded program. However, if you’re only performing HIIT training, and not focusing on quality strength training, you might be limiting your potential to build muscle on your way to looking, feeling, and performing the way you want.
5. You need to keep adding weight to your lifts
It’s common to believe that you need to lift huge weights and constantly be adding more and more weight to your lifts in the gym to get strong. Because of this, we’ve seen many people actually sacrifice strength improvements, and long-term joint or tendon health, due to adding weight to the bar ‘just because’. This leads to poor technique that can cause injury and actually move you further from the desired effect of building muscle. There are several ways to build muscle without needing to change the weight, including a stronger muscle contraction during the lift, moving the lift at a slower speed, moving the weight at a faster speed (more explosive), and changing the variation of the lift to challenge a slightly different movement pattern and set of muscles.
Remember to not get caught up in the myths of the fitness world. Some of these claims can sound good, and some may even seem intuitive, but that doesn’t mean they’re actually helping you reach your goals. These are just a few of several myths we have to dispel with our PT and exercise programming clients when addressing their nutrition and exercise programs. But if you’re looking to build true strength, muscle, and improve your level of overall fitness - don’t fall for these myths or the others out there. Stick with the basics that work with proper nutrition, a well developed exercise program, and other lifestyle factors that will actually help you push the needle forward in your health and fitness journey.
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