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Bodybuilding Myths – Separating Fact From Fiction

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Trends in the fitness world are in a constant state of ebb and flow. Just in the past five decades, fitness trends have gone from bodybuilding with Jack Lalanne (in the ’60s), to jogging (in the ’70s), to aerobics (in the ’80s), to body sculpting in the 90s. Today’s fitness trends are a combination of the old and the new-combining these past favorites to develop a totally new fitness style (strength training with aerobics). But these ever-changing fitness trends have caused much confusion (and many myths) about which forms of exercises are optimal for obtaining ultimate fitness. This confusion is particularly evident in the amount, and nature, of the bodybuilding myths that have been propagated over the years.

The Origins of Bodybuilding Myths

Bodybuilding is a fitness arena wherein many “experts” routinely spar in an effort to draw adherents to their programs and money to their pockets. To that end, thousands of books, videotapes, and infomercials about bodybuilding have flooded the market over the years, much of which offers conflicting information. Consequently, a fair number of bodybuilding myths have emerged over the years.

But while mythological figures like Hercules may be archetypes that many bodybuilders strive to emulate, in the real life world of bodybuilding, there is no room for mythology. Here we will attempt to debunk some of the more pervasive bodybuilding myths and along the way attempt to separate fact from fiction.

The Right Program Brings Immediate Results

Building muscle is a gradual process. Despite much-publicized merchandising claims to the contrary, there are no miracle supplements or machines that will bring immediate results.

Rather, if one wants to achieve bodybuilding success, one should develop realistic expectations, say experts. For example, if the goal is to gain muscle mass, start with the simple goal of gaining just one pound a week. If the goal is weight loss, do not expect to lose more than two pounds of fat per week (otherwise, what is lost is likely to be muscle as well as fat). Though these realistic expectations may seem to be ponderously slow for those who wis to see immediate results, experts say that they work to change the body’s composition and that such change does not-and cannot-occur overnight.

The important quality to have, say experts, is that of dedication and commitment. Expect to see the changes emerging gradually over a period of months.

Consistency Is Not as Important as a Good Workout

Consistency is one of the most important components for long-term success (or short term failure) in bodybuilding, say experts. No matter how brilliantly designed the diet and workout program might be, they are of no consequence if not practiced regularly. Even a weak workout program practiced consistently will be more effective than the best-engineered workout performed inconsistently.

Comparisons with Others’ Bodybuilding Success Brings Results

Comparing yourself to others in order to “bulk up” is a bodybuilding myth that can put unrealistic pressure on the individual, say experts. In bodybuilding there will always be another who is larger, stronger, leaner and more muscular.

The only type of comparisons that are worthwhile, say experts, are the comparisons that you make with your own past fitness achievements. By measuring your own progress, and resolving to make the necessary adjustments to gain musculature, lose body fat, and tone your physique, you will see continuous improvement in both your appearance and confidence levels.

You Can Never Work Out Too Much

This is a common bodybuilding myth. Many believe that if they work out for several hours a day, every day, they will achieve better results. Actually the opposite can be true. The muscles need time to rest and repair in between workouts. Failing to provide the muscles with an opportunity to rest-commonly called “over-training”-can cause stress and injuries. Furthermore, muscle building will be inhibited.

It’s Impossible to Build Muscle Without Supplements

This is one of the many bodybuilding myths that have been spurred by advertising revenue. Many supplements with purported bodybuilding benefits have been publicized and promoted on television and in magazine ads, on store shelves and at gyms. It is easy for one to believe, therefore, that supplement usage is mandatory for successful bodybuilding. However, this is simply not true. There are very few supplements that are specifically designed to yield results in terms of building muscle, enhancing endurance without dangerous side effects and decreasing recovery time. Such supplements are expensive, but well worth the expenditure for those committed to optimal health in all areas.

The bottom line is that one should not simply rely on dietary supplements to do the work that is the province of good nutrition and exercise.

Nutrition Doesn’t Matter as Much as the Workouts

There is a saying in the fitness community that “great abs are made in the kitchen, not the gym.” While this is indeed a truism for a reason, there are specific exercises that will yield muscle development which is revealed once extraneous body fat is lost.

Proper nutrition for bodybuilding means eating small meals, five or six a day and keeping those meals both lean and healthy. That means minimizing carbohydrates, processed foods, and refined sugars while ensuring a sufficient intake of lean protein and healthy fats. In addition, high-quality meal replacement powders can provide a balanced diet of lean protein, fiber, and vital micro nutrients that are so important to successful bodybuilding.

The End of Bodybuilding Myths

The secret of bodybuilding success is not a mystery nor is it a myth. While not everyone can become a Mr. (or Ms.) Universe contestant, it is no bodybuilding myth that with hard work, diet and discipline one can obtain one’s bodybuilding goals.

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