Muscle Gain Myths

Common points to consider when

aiming to build lean muscle mass include:

Exercise requirements

Repeated high-resistance exercise
will result in a measurable increase of muscle size and strength. (3)

DeLorme was the first to
distinguish in a scientific paper between the adaptations to resistance and endurance exercise; he advocated the use of high-resistance exercise rather than endurance exercise for stimulating muscle hypertrophy (3) Hypertrophy refers to an increase in the size of muscle.

Dietary requirements

Adequate energy intake to meet
the needs of training and carbohydrate intake sufficient to maintain glycogen stores are important. (1)

Protein intakes in the range of
1.3-1.8 g x bodyweight (kg) per day consumed as 3-4 isonitrogenous meals will maximize muscle protein synthesis. (2)

The early provision of
carbohydrate (>1 g·kg−1) and protein (>10 g) early after an exercise
session will enhance protein balance and optimize glycogen repletion (1)

Elevated protein consumption, as
high as 1.8-2.0 g · kg(-1) · day(-1) depending on the caloric deficit, may be advantageous in preventing lean mass losses during periods of energy
restriction to promote fat loss. (2)

Adequate sleep and rest

Sleep is when muscle growth
occurs. Most athletes think that you build muscle when you train or lift or sprint or jump. Your physical training or workout of the day is only a small part of a much larger growth process. Once your workout is over your body begins to react to the stimulus of your workout and also to the damage you induced. This is the biological work now left up to your body system. (4)

Now to 4 myths that I have heard
over the past 8 years as a Personal Trainer.

When weight training the only way to promote muscle growth is to lift to failure (incapacity to complete a repetition in a full range of motion due to fatigue)(5)

An interesting topic this one.
Studies have shown that on untrained individuals its suggested that training to failure isn’t necessary for increases in strength and muscle growth when
performing High Intensity training (5)

However going to failure is suggested to be essential when performing low intensity training to achieve the
same results as high intensity training (5)

With regards to trained individuals, evidence show greater increases in muscle strength after high intensity strength training performed to muscle failure compared to no failure

Similarly to untrained individuals, muscle failure at low intensity weight training could be an interesting strategy for maximizing muscle growth (5)

It does however not promote
maximal increases on muscle strength when performed by strength trained individuals (5)

You must avoid cardio completely if you want to build muscle mass

Wrong! There are many benefits to
including cardio as part of strength and resistance regime as long as its
programmed correctly and suitable for the individual.

More recent research suggests
that moderate amounts of cardio can actually boost the effects of strength
training. (7)

Cardio training can improve your
aerobic capacity to train (7) (basically ability to stay more consistent for
longer periods of your session and improve recovery between sets)

The timing and overall volume of
cardio and strength training seem to be the biggest factors in designing a
successful concurrent training program (7)

You have to train one muscle group per day to get muscle growth results

When I have spoken to many keen gym goers, in particular those looking to “put on muscle”, the majority tend to follow a 4-5 day split routines including typical days such chest, back, legs

Whilst, if programmed correctly,
this style of routine will assist in muscle growth however muscle growth results can be achieved with 2 day, 3 day routines. The gym goer can also include whole body workout days into their regime as well as upper and lower body split days. As much as I could go on these all relate to periodisation of the individuals training. Doing the same routine over and over again can lead to long term strength and muscle growth plateaus.

Its all about protein consumption, carbs are not important

As much as protein is an essential nutrient for muscle growth, so is carbohydrates and fats.

The body relies greatly upon muscle glycogen (Carbs) when undergoing resistance training, so if a person’s

muscle-glycogen levels were low, you could assume that that would impair their high intensity exercise performance i.e. resistance exercise performance (6)

When talking about carbohydrates
and gaining body (muscle) mass, is to have the right amount of muscle glycogen levels in your body enough so that muscle growth and development is supported.

Research has shown that even one training session at the gym can reduce muscle glycogen stores anywhere from 24-40% (6)


Building muscle: nutrition to
maximize bulk and strength adaptations to resistance exercise training. Mark A.

Dietary protein for athletes:
from requirements to optimum adaptation. Phillips SM1, Van Loon LJ.

How nutrition and exercise
maintain the human musculoskeletal mass. Henning Wackerhage1 and Michael J

Sleep and Recovery An applicable
approach to a lifestyle of recovery and rest for athletes John Underwood:
Director Life of an Athlete Human Performance Project Keara White: Research

Is Resistance Training to
Muscular Failure Necessary? Sanmy R. Nóbrega and Cleiton A. Libardi*

The Role of Protein and
Carbohydrates in Gaining Body Mass Elijah Luken

Can Cardio Ruin Your Gains? Ciaran

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