“If you continue lifting that, sooner or later you will no longer be able to scratch your back”. My mom told me that back when I was eleven and was obsessed with lifting 2-liter Coca-Cola bottles.
Right or wrong, I think we can all agree that just like any other sport, modern-day bodybuilding is plagued by misconceptions, widespread misinformation, and myths that might make newbies such as yourself rethink your decisions.
Yes, too much muscle can make it difficult to scratch your back, but that shouldn’t keep you from pursuing your muscle-bound dreams.
Most people follow the crowd, they believe the rumors, misconceptions, and myths. Today, I dare you to be different, I want to arm you with the truth behind these myths so that you can focus on what really matters.
I am talking about building strength, developing your physique and improving your overall athletic performance.
Myth 1: If I Stop Exercising, My Muscles Will Melt
Fact: muscle never melts or turns into fat.
Citing a 2013 study, healthline.com claims that it takes up to four weeks without exercise for athletes to start noticing a drop in strength performance.
So, is this myth true? Will I be transformed into flab if I stop working out?
“turn that fat into hard muscle”
I’m sure you’ve heard that statement countless times. I brought it up because it is highly likely that the myth “my muscles will melt if I stop exercising” was derived from that mantra, why?
Fat tissue and muscle tissue are two very different things that some people can’t tell apart.
Katie Rickle, Ph.D. (psychologist) wants you to know that fat tissue occupies more space under your skin than muscle tissue, also, muscle tissue utilizes more calories than fat tissue. What’s the significance of this?
If you don’t exercise for extended periods of time, more fat tissue will occupy the space under your skin. However, your muscles will not melt, instead, muscle tissue will break down.
The good news is, both athletes and non-athletes can reach peak fitness levels after a break.
“But, Angie from HR stopped going to the gym and is now fat”
During my research, I found countless articles that claim that muscles can transform into fat. That is simply NOT TRUE. The issue here is, if you stop working out, you will start burning fewer calories than what you consume. The science behind that is very simple: if you eat let’s say 3,000 calories a day and you only burn 1000 calories from activities such as walking from your couch to the bathroom, you will have an excess of 2,000 calories.
The excess calories will be stored as fat mostly in your midsection resulting in muffin top and or man boobs, in other words, just like Angie from HR, you will gain weight.
Myth 2: “I Will be Covered With so Much Muscles After Lifting Weights”
Fact: how big you get depends on how much work you put into training.
I think I’m qualified enough to call myself a bodybuilding expert. From experience what I can tell you about building mass is it requires tremendous effort. It is true that some people are naturally big, but the rest of us, the only sure route is to put in the work.
The point is, you can’t build muscles overnight.
Should I train like a bodybuilder or a powerlifter? A better question is, what are my goals? Do I want to be strong and lean or do I want to go full Hafþór Júlíus Björnsson? That’s the guy from Game of Thrones.
The point I’m getting at is, you must start with a clear goal. For example, if you want to become as big as humanly possible, you need a sensible diet and an experienced professional by your side. Another thing, don’t be afraid to ask for help.
Wait, will I be able to bend at the waist if I get too big?
Have you ever watched Hafþór Júlíus Björnsson or any other gargantuan bodybuilder/powerlifter warming up? Did you notice how flexible the professionals are?
The truth is, if done properly, repetitive movements will improve your flexibility. But be warned, if you don’t follow instructions properly, you may end up compromising your flexibility. That will leave you with problems such as not being able to scratch your back.
Can I lift my arms over my head if I get too big?
Will I be able to scratch my back?
The answer is yes, but only if you focus on a program that includes deadlifts, pull-ups, heavy bench presses, and deep heavy squats.
Will I look manly?
If you are female, lifting weights won’t turn your figure manly, that will only happen if you ingest large amounts of anabolic steroids. We’ll get to anabolic steroid later.
Myth 3: “You’ll get Really Big, But You’ll Become Weak in the Process
Fact: bodybuilding makes you stronger.
back in 2015, the Telegraph published an article titled Wimps are stronger than bodybuilders, why? The lead scientist whose work the article was based on professor Hans Degens from Manchester claims, quote
“most of us are impressed by the enormous muscle bulk of bodybuilders and think that these people must be extremely strong, like the ‘incredible hulk’.” He added, “the surprising thing, however, was that a gram of muscle from bodybuilders produced less force than that from a non-body builder, and it thus seems that the ‘muscle quality’ is less in bodybuilders.” He went on to say “it appears that excessive muscle growth may have well been better off with normal-sized muscles than with metabolically expensive large muscles”.
Note that the study’s findings were based on small muscle samples from the thighs of only 12 bodybuilders and 14 non-bodybuilders. Also, there are multiple studies that have found conflicting results.
Based on our research, we have found that some routines aimed at cutting fat deplete a person physically.
The fact remains, bodybuilding does not make you weak, the reasons why you may be getting weak include:
- Poor nutrition.
- Your workout routine might be too strict.
- Your recovery plan is flawed.
- You don’t get enough sleep or rest
From experience, I can tell you that powerlifters are stronger than bodybuilders. But that doesn’t mean that bodybuilders are weak, the only reason you might feel weak is because you are tired after workout.
Let’s look at this logically, what causes fatigue? Two things, one is too much effort and the other is sitting on your bum all day.
Therefore, feeling weak after a workout should not be something bodybuilders are criticized for.
Remember, as individuals, we see strength in different ways, some see strength in doing 30 pull-ups or push-ups, some see it in running marathons and some see it in lifting weights. The important thing to keep in mind is, we are all different and our bodies adapt in different ways. So, when someone tells you “bodybuilders are weak”, ignore that negativity.
Proceed to part two and the epic conclusion.