Anatomy Of Fitness
10 Muscle Gaining myths BUSTED.
Updated: Jan 4, 2022
Muscles are metabolically active tissue, having a shape and a tone. They are also compact & dense. People who carry more muscle on their bodies appear aesthetically appealing. We all know the importance of muscles and must have experimented with numerous ways to gain more muscle. These ways must have included working out at a gym, jogging, taking up a sport, etc. However, there have been too many myths about gaining muscle mass over the last few years. Incorrect muscle gaining techniques waste our time. Some suboptimal muscle gaining methods exponentially increase the chances of injury. This article busts the most popular 10 muscle gaining myths.
#1 Lifting HEAVY WEIGHTS make us BULKY:
No! Lifting weights helps to hypertrophy muscles. A hypertrophied muscle is more significant in size. Compared to fat, skeletal muscle tissue is compact and dense. On the other hand, fat is like fluff and will wobble and jiggle. One pound of fat occupies much space compared to one pound of muscle.
Read more on the difference between fat and muscle here: What is the difference between Fat and Muscle?
Hence, a muscular person appears to be compact and dense, while an obese person seems to be bulky and heavy. Also, more muscle means a higher basal metabolic rate (BMR), meaning a higher potential of burning fat.
Read more on muscle gaining here: How, When & Why do MUSCLES grow?
Verdict: Lifting heavy weights helps gain muscle which makes us appear compact & dense and not bulky.
#2 CARDIO workouts REDUCE MUSCLE size:
Cardio is one of the components of fitness and is a part of general physical preparedness. It exercises the cardiovascular system, helping to increase stamina and muscular endurance. Compared to weight training, cardio exercises have lesser potential to increase muscle mass or burn fat. However, in no way do cardio workouts decrease or atrophy muscles. Instead, cardio workouts in conjunction with a correct lifestyle, nutrition, and quality sleep can increase muscle size and endurance.
Verdict: Cardio workouts increase muscle size (hypertrophy) and muscular endurance.
#3 We need to SHOCK or CONFUSE our muscles for better MUSCLE GAINS:
No! Muscles cannot think. Muscles only know to contract and lengthen. If there is a change in how we exercise, our body takes some time to learn the new form and technique. The learning process is time-consuming. There is more challenge to the central nervous system to master the form and technique with a minimal challenge to the participating muscle groups. Thus, it results in a waste of time without any gains.
Verdict: It is impossible to shock or confuse our muscles for better muscle gains.
#4 MUSCLE GAINING does NOT lead to FAT BURNING:
The higher the muscle we carry on our body, the higher is our basal metabolic rate (BMR). The higher the BMR, the higher is our fat-burning potential. The exercises that we do for muscle gain are the same exercises that help with fat loss and vice versa. No workout is done exclusively for muscle gain or only for fat loss.
Read more on fat burning: 5 tips for guaranteed FAT BURN.
Verdict: Muscle gaining leads to fat burning.
#5 MUSCLE GAIN results in WEIGHT GAIN:
Weight loss can occur due to fat loss or muscle loss. Similarly, weight gain can occur due to muscle gain or fat gain. As fitness enthusiasts, we are interested in weight loss arising from fat loss rather than weight loss occurring from muscle loss.
Read more on weight loss vs fat loss here: The difference between Weight Loss and Fat Loss.
Muscle gain may or may not result in weight gain. Here is a quick example:
Tom weighs 100kg and has 55% (55kg) fat. At 6 feet tall, Tom appears obese, bulky and unfit.
Harry weighs 100kg and has 7% (7kg) fat. At 6 feet tall, Harry appears compact, dense, muscular and fit.
Harry has only 7kg fat on his body, meaning the remaining weight comes from muscles, organs, fluids etc. On the other hand, Tom has 55kg fat meaning only 45kg is coming from muscles, organs, fluids etc.
Verdict: Muscle gain may or may not result in weight gain. We may gain or lose weight, but our focus should be on gaining maximum muscle and losing maximum fat.
#6 WOMEN should ONLY TONE their MUSCLES:
There is no difference between building muscles, gaining muscles or toning muscles. Gaining or building muscles is more associated with men, and toning muscles is more associated with women. However, both mean the same: increasing muscle mass. It means men can tone their muscles, and women can build their muscles. Also, gender-based exercises are a scam. Women should workout to their full potential and not focus only on lightweight exercises.
Read more on women and body toning here: What is Body Toning.
Verdict: Muscle gaining and body toning mean the same, so women should workout as heavy as possible.
#7 LIFT HEAVY with LOW REPS for SIZE and LIFT LIGHT with HIGH REPS for CUTTING or SHAPE:
There is no scientific evidence supporting this myth. Low weights with high reps is a waste of time. It will only tire us by the lactic acid buildup in the muscles. Instead, we should focus on optimising our workouts by investing less time and gaining more returns. One of the ways to do this is by lifting a weight that allows no more than 4 to 6 reps and eventually graduating to a weight that does not allow more than one rep. Muscles hypertrophy or atrophy, and nature, with the help of the origin and insertion points, decides the shape of our muscles. Thus there is no way to shape our muscles. However, to make them more prominent, we can increase their size and reduce the fat.
Verdict: Lifting heavier with lower reps is a way to optimise workout, and lifting light with high reps is only a waste of time.
#8 If you don't workout, the MUSCLE turns into FAT:
Muscle cannot turn into fat, and fat cannot turn into muscle. Both muscle and fat are very different kinds of tissues.
Read more on the differences between muscle and fat here: What is the difference between Fat and Muscle?
Simultaneously gaining muscle and losing fat gives an impression that the fat is converting into muscle. While on the other hand, gaining fat after quitting exercising gives an impression that the muscle is converting into fat.
Verdict: Muscle cannot turn into fat, and fat cannot turn into muscle.
#9 SUPER SETS or DROP SETS work for MUSCLE GAIN:
The burn experienced after super sets or drop sets is due to the lactic acid buildup and not because of muscle breakdown. Lactic acid is a waste component and does not help in muscle gain.
Verdict: Super sets or drop sets only build useless lactic acid in the working muscles and does not help with muscle gain.
#10 We can SHAPE our MUSCLES:
We cannot decide on the shape of our muscles. The origin and insertion points of a muscle determine its shape. We can only hypertrophy or atrophy our muscles.
Verdict: We cannot shape our muscles but only increase or decrease their size.
We hope you enjoyed busting the top 10 muscle gaining myths. Cheers to the myth-busting!
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