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Busted: 7 most common muscle building and fitness myths debunked

We talk to experts who help us clear the air about the most popular fitness myths circulating in every gym.

fitness Updated: Aug 17, 2018 11:25 IST
Abhinav Verma
Abhinav Verma
Hindustan Times
Gym Myths,Health and Fitness,Fitness Myths
The fitness industry is full of pseudo experts doling out half-baked information that is often lapped up by newbies and experienced fitness enthusiasts alike.(Getty Images)

No sooner have you stepped into the gym than you are bombarded with information — mostly untrue — from not-so-qualified trainers and know-it-all gym rats, which leaves you confused instead of enlightening you. You eventually turn to the internet for advice — the internet, which again, isn’t reliable.

The fitness industry is full of pseudo experts doling out half-baked information that is often lapped up by newbies and experienced fitness enthusiasts alike. To cut through all the noise, we spoke to fitness experts Amaresh Ojha and Ilu Singh to bust a few commonly-believed gym myths:

Myth 1: More protein means more muscle

More protein does not mean increase in muscle size. It’s just more, that’s all, and often uselessly so. The maximum amount of protein one can consume per meal to build muscle is 30 grams (depending on the body type, kind of workout you do and metabolism). Exceeding that 30gm doesn’t mean you will see increased muscle size. It will only put a strain on your kidney and colon — or even lead to weight gain. Experts say that one should focus on a balanced diet and make a note of how much protein they consume per day, before turning to supplements.

It is also wrongly believed that eating protein every few hours is important to maintain muscle. As long as you get the required amount through your main meals, there is no need for more.

Myth 2: Lift heavy with less repetitions for muscle size, and lift light with more reps for cutting

This is a common myth peddled in gyms and fitness circles, and hence the assumption. The truth is that muscle building is all about progressive overload. This means working out muscles harder than they are conditioned to. You will cut more with proper nutrition and lifting well, so be not afraid.

Myth 3: Muscle will turn into fat if you stop working out

This one is funny — muscle and fat are two totally different tissues. According to experts, if you stop working out, your muscle size would go down, but muscle itself wouldn’t turn to fat! Not working out and not monitoring your diet could increase your fat, but one won’t become the other.

Myth 4: No pain, no gain

Muscle soreness is never an indicator of progress. Most fitness to this day have this strange belief that only pain will bring gain. Muscle soreness could well be a sign of fatigue and nutrition deficiency. Increased lifting ability and number of reps, and physical appearance are more reliable as indicators.

Myth 5: The longer you train, the better the results

As in every sphere of life, quality over quantity will hold you in better stead, even when it comes to fitness. Rest and recovery are as essential as workout itself. The notion that training for longer or going without rest will yield results, is a misconception. Focus on short and intense workouts, instead.

Myth 7: It’s harder for vegans to build muscle

This is a very contentious argument put forward by some. The truth is that muscle building on a purely vegan diet is definitely possible, only a little slow. Experts say that soy-based protein sources such as tofu and tempeh are excellent choices for vegans to build muscle. One serving of tempeh offers 30gm of protein. A lot of people also swear by the power of chia and flaxseeds, quinoa and good old lentils, which are packed with protein.

First Published: Aug 17, 2018 11:25 IST