Most Popular Training Myths
How many of these Popular Training Myths have you fallen for in the past? Don’t be fooled! These myths were created out of thin air without any thoughtful consideration, or proof. Most of them gained their popularity during a period where we simply didn’t understand the body as much as we do now. With advances in science and research, we now know much better, yet some medical professionals and fitness enthusiasts still hold steadfast to these myths. Below is a list of the Most Popular Training Myths debunked!
Myth # 1: Heavy Weights Make You Bulky
We get it. Not everyone wants to look like a shaved gorilla from working out. But, to be straightforward, if you don’t want to “get big”, you won’t. Getting big requires hours of specific attention in the gym, as well as considerable nutritional modifications to help grow the muscle tissue.
The idea that heavy weights make you “bulky” became popularized because lots of very big, very strong people were seen lifting heavy weights. As a result, it was blindly concluded that lifting heavy weights makes you big and bulky. This simply isn’t the case. Muscle tissue grows under two circumstances;
- A specific amount of volume and time under tension
- A steady increase in caloric intake
Volume/Time Under Tension
The best protocol to GROW muscle tissue is keeping a particular muscle group under 30-60 seconds of tension. For example, to grow the leg muscles, one would do squats, lunges, or leg presses for 30-60 seconds, or 12-20 repetitions over multiple sets. To perform that many repetitions, a heavy weight simply cannot be used. It is the use of light-moderate weight relative to the individuals strength potential that determines how much tension is applied to the muscle. Let’s compare two exercises side by side to see the total volume lifted:
Lifter A (60% of strength potential): 3 Sets of 15 reps of squats with 60lbs – 3 x 12 x 60lbs = 2,160lbs of total volume
Lifter B (80% of strength potential): 3 sets of 5 reps of squats with 80lbs – 3 x 5 x 80lbs = 1,200lbs of total volume
Notice that lifter B, although is using 20% more weight than lifter A, is doing far less volume. Therefore, Lifter A will be placing much more stress to the muscle tissue in order to make it grow. Now, you may argue that Lifter B is doing far less total sets and reps that Lifter A, and you’d be right. However, Lifter B (80%) would not be able to physically lift the higher weight for as many reps as Lifter A (60%) without risking detraining of the muscle tissue and injury.
Increase in Calories
Aside from the time under tension the muscle tissue needs to grow, the body also needs ample food supply. Without an increase in calories, your body simply won’t be able to support the increase in energy demand.
With these two examples, you can see that “getting big” is something you really have to try to do. It’s not something that comes on passively by lifting heavy weights. Lifting heavy weights, along with following sound nutrition habits, is the best way to:
- Maintain Lean Muscle
- Decrease Body Fat
- Increase Daily Caloric Expenditure
Myth # 2: Cardio is Best for Weight Loss
What’s your goal? Are you looking to drop a couple pounds before heading to the beach in a couple weeks? Or, are you looking to sustainably lose weight and keep it off over time? It’s an important question to ask yourself, and it’s also the reason this myth got as much traction as it did over the last decade. Only now is it starting to lose it’s edge, but still worth mentioning as one of the most popular Training Myths.
Here’s the truth: If you’re weight is stalled and not moving, and you’re not currently exercising, then usually doing some cardio a few days per week can help you lose a few pounds, roughly 5% of your body weight. For a 200lbs person, this would mean they could lose about 10lbs just doing cardio, assuming their diet stays the same. However, that well runs dry pretty quickly, and after the initial drop in weight, you won’t be able to lose any more weight, regardless of how much cardio you continue to add to your routine.
This is because your body relies on your metabolism to regulate how much energy you expend versus how much you take in. Since your body is primarily concerned with preservation, there’s only so much weight it will allow you to lose before it slows down how many calories it allows you to burn throughout the day. This becomes a problem when cardio was our primary source of weight loss. (For more on this, read our Article)
After a certain amount of time, you may even run the risk of going backwards, to the point where you gain body fat and lose muscle mass. So, if you’re looking to lose weight and keep it off, here’s what you should do:
- Make Smart Nutrition Choices
- Perform Resistance Training Regularly
- Incorporate High Intensity Interval Training
- Add in Some Steady Based Cardio (if you still have time)
The problem most people run into is that because the latter is easiest, it’s often the one people are attracted to. However, the former don’t necessarily have to be work if you find the right guidance. You’ll save yourself a lot of time and frustration by focusing on the former.
Myth # 3: Squatting is Bad for Your Knees
You’ve probably heard one of your Doctor’s tell you how squatting is bad for your knees. It’s probably the reason he decides not to workout. Now, before we go any further, if you have pain in your knees during or after squatting, then stop. You either aren’t doing it correctly, or should modify the way in which you do them to get the benefit without the irritation.
Here are two of our best videos for teaching how to avoid knee pain and activate the muscles necessary for squatting:
Myth # 4: Deadlifting is Bad for Your Back
Unless you’ve had chronic back pain for years or suffered a traumatic injury, deadlifting is not bad for your back. Deadlifting is one of the best exercises to train the muscles necessary to properly hinge through the hips. It work the lower back, glutes, hamstrings, and muscles of the core. The problem is people often jump into deadlifting before they are ready. Here’s some other great content that explains the proper progressions for the hip hinge. Training these patterns will result in a strong core, healthy back, and tight butt ;).
Myth # 5: More is Better
Here at Forge, we have a saying: Get the most out of your training. Don’t let it get the most out of you.
With this in mind, more isn’t always better. The process of losing fat, building lean muscle, and enhancing our health and fitness is a complex one. You have to give back to your body as much as you take from it.
Here’s a pretty good way to look at it; your body is a bank that you can make deposits and withdrawals. Below are some examples of each:
- Massage and Recovery Work
We sometimes forget that in order for a machine to run properly, we need to put into it as much as we take out. The expenditure of calories is a complex system that requires stability. We neglect the fact that training, work, family life, and additional life stresses all take their toll on our body, and this inhibits it’s ability to perform optimally. Before you think about adding something new to your life, one of our best strategies is getting more out of what you already have. This includes scheduling your days for optimal time management, modifying your nutritional habits, getting more sleep, and having guided training sessions to avoid injury and save time.