Muscle isn’t something anyone can get overnight, lots of people get that wrong. I’m not sure why most people seem to think that it’s such a quick process but the reality is that a person can work for about three years just to put on fifteen pounds of muscle. I’m not referring to steroid users who pack on twenty pounds in four months that end up shrinking back down as soon as they stop using … Nor am I talking about teenagers who have all sorts of hormones erupting out of every pores of their bodies causing them to put on more or less that same amount of muscle whether or not they go to the gym (that is a natural occurrence by the way).
I’m here to talk about real, long lasting, time building, bone and ligament strengthening muscle. The kind you get from pain and sweat day in and day out without straying from the workout plan or nutrition. There are way too many unrealistic expectations regarding how people really gain mass. Here are a few common misconceptions:
1. Going to the gym every single day will get me faster results.
* Your body needs rest; going to the gym every day without rest will only fatigue your body. Take a day or two off to make sure that your body recovers from the week’s workouts. Muscle isn’t truly built at the gym, when you workout, you’re actually stressing your muscles and tearing them inside and out on a very small scale. It’s during your rest days that the body is able to gather all of the nutrients and build new cells and muscle fibers which in turn gives you that extra mass. Going to the gym every day without rest will only lead to muscular dystrophy or muscle shrinkage since you gave it no time to heal.
2. Hoarding on protein will give me more muscle.
* Okay, we all know that protein is very essential to weight lifting and packing on muscle. However, just like anything else you put in your mouth, if you use more protein than your body needs it’ll only make you FAT! Find out how much protein your body needs from your current weight and the weight you’d like to be. There are also other nutrients to keep in mind such as Carbs, fats and fiber as well as your micro-nutrients. Any one of those alone including protein won’t do much but when they come together each in the perfect level for your body’s specific needs they can grant you a well sculpted body like no other.
3. Lifting for high reps will make me big, the more I can do the bigger I’ll get.
* It’s a very common mistake and I see a lot of people doing it. There is nothing wrong with doing high reps, it still creates new cells and muscle fibers but it’s best used for obtaining a lean physique. Which is why you mostly see women and runners, people whose sport require a lean body using light weights for a count of about fifteen to twenty. Doing high grants you endurance and strengthens your body however it’s not going to make you big. If that as the case then everybody who’s ever touched a dumbbell would look like Ronnie Coleman. If your goal is to build muscle, going heavy at low 6 to 8 reps is what you need to shoot for. Don’t get me wrong, when I say “Heavy” I don’t mean get on the bench press and try to push five hundred pounds. Heavy is relative to the person doing the workout, meaning if your max weight is 190 and that might be heavy to you however your workout partner might have been working out a bit longer than you have and is able to lift 390 which is heavy to him all the while he weighs the same as you. Both of you work with what you consider heavy, enough to only be able to perform 6 to 8 reps. If you’re able to do more than that, up the weight. Stress is what builds muscles, pushing the body so hard that it is required to build new cells and muscle fibers in order to adapt to the heavy work it is subjected to.
4. Eating only 3 times a day. Breakfast, lunch and dinner.
* Although there is no harm to that meal schedule, whether your goal is muscle gains or weight loss you will need to eat a lot more often in order to boost your metabolism which helps your body burn more calories and to supplement you with the required amount of nutrients for muscular development. Extended time or between meals, not eating at all or not eating enough throughout the day tends to put your body in starvation mode which makes it harder to lose weight in the long run. For more details on metabolism, check out my other article “Metabolism Theory”.
5. Not Documenting progress, it slows me down.
* If you want to truly make huge strides in weight lifting, you’re going to want to mark down your progress. Document your max weight, reps and sets for each and every exercise and during every workout session. That way you can track your progress accurately and you will know if you need to make any adjustments to your workout program and what adjustments need to be made if you aren’t seeing any results after a certain period of time. If you don’t write things down, you won’t be able to tell if you need to make adjustments. It is very motivating to be able to look at your numbers and see how far you’ve come.
Erick Castelin Jr