With a new wave of bro science and sub optimal gym advice being circulated throughout uni gyms I feel it is necessary to distinguish which pieces of advice are beneficial and which are pure fiction…
So below I’ve listed 8 of my least favourite myths and how to combat them.
Name: Daniel Olusina
Course: Actuarial Science
Year: Graduated in 2015
1. “Monday should always be Chest day”
- In actual fact you’ll find the squat rack is surprisingly empty on Mondays.
- Avoid the 30minute queue for a bench and train another body part instead to avoid delays.
2. “Doing lots of cardio will make you toned”
- My definition of being toned is for a person to have a physique that has a fair amount of muscle and a fairly low body fat (on average under 12% for guys 22% for girls),
- This cannot be attained through cardio alone.
- To achieve a more toned physique a person must be prepared to gain an adequate amount of lean muscle in a caloric surplus for an extended period of time (10 months – 1 year for example) before dieting for a period of time (around 6-8 weeks) in a caloric deficit.
- This cycle also known as bulking and cutting will enable you to gradually become more “toned” over time.
- It has also been known that doing multiple bulks and cuts over the years will improve the distribution of fat around the body and make your look even more toned during the bulk part of the training cycles.
3. “If you’re muscles aren’t completely sore the day after you haven’t worked hard enough”
- A LOT OF PEOPLE use how sore their muscles are as an indicator of how well their previous session has gone.
- This soreness is known as DOMS (delayed onset muscle soreness) and is a result of your muscle adapting to a new exercise or routine.
- As you continue to grow stronger, continue to do the routine more often and train that muscle group more frequently the DOMS will eventually decrease and you may end up receiving hardly any doms after your sessions.
- Instead, a better measure of progress should be if progressive overload is being achieved each session (either in the form of slightly heavier weights, more reps or more sets).
4. “High volume single body splits are more optimal for muscle gains than more frequent upper lower body splits”
- Studies have proven that our muscles are able to fully recover 72 hours after being trained
- So after you’ve trained your chest for 16 sets on a Monday, it may have completed recovered by as early as Thursday.
- As part of this process our muscles breaking down, repairing and growing back slightly stronger and/or bigger (muscle protein synthesis)
- Therefore instead of training a body part to ‘death’ with high volume (16 sets for example) it may be more optimal to adjust your routine so your training that body part twice a week (more frequently) with lower volume (about 8 sets).
5. “The mandatory 30 minute anabolic window post workout shake”
- It’s widely believed that you should consume a post workout meal/shake within 30 minutes of your session ending to reap optimal muscle gains.
- However unless you’re an endurance runner doing multiple glycogen depleting events in a day then there is no rush to rapidly replenish glycogen levels post workout.
- The average routine does not deplete glycogen levels to an extreme amount and therefore there is no need for urgent replenishment.
- Studies have shown if you’ve had a meal prior to workout then depending on the size of the meal, the meal could still be being digested and amino acids being released throughout and after your workout.
- So don’t be in a rush to neck that post workout shake!
6. “whey protein is a must to building muscle and strength”
- Supplements are called supplements as they aid to us building muscle and strength but they are not mandatory.
- Whey protein is an easier way of consuming protein in your diet if you are struggling to consume enough protein across your daily meals
- It can get quite expensive on the student budget to hit your protein targets from ‘whole’ foods such as chicken, mince, tuna etc… Which is where Whey protein can come in!
- It may be a cheaper option to have a shake that has 30g of impact whey protein instead which will has roughly the same amount of protein as 100 grams of diced chicken.
7. “If you’re not working up a sweat you’re not working hard enough”
- Sweating is not necessarily an indicator of exertion.
- Sweating is your body’s way of cooling down.
- It is possible to burn a significant amount of calories without breaking a sweat.
8. “Constantly pyramiding up to a one rep max builds strength and muscle”
- Pyramiding up to a heavy set allows you train at many rep ranges which may allow you to build strength and muscle in the short term
- However, all that is happening is that you are merely testing your max reps at each chosen amount of weight… Which may not be optimal for reaching your goals!
- A more optimal way of training would be to train at a certain percentage of your 1 rep max using given sets and reps and slightly increase either the weight, reps or sets each session (progressive overload)
- This will allow more volume to be achieved each session and thus allow you to become stronger in the given exercise.