As a professional strength coach I sometimes get asked some pretty strange questions on training. It's become pretty clear to me that the general public is misinformed on a lot of issues that relate to muscle building and training for muscle growth.
Whether this poor information gets passed on through bodybuilding magazines, friends, or supplement companies is anyone's guess. All I know is that these myths about training for muscle gain are harmful to your progress.
I am going to dispel some of the more common myths here. If you currently believe in any of these myths then it's time to change!
Myth #1: More is better
Whether it's more protein, more creatine, or more workouts, it seems that people have a tendency to take a good thing and overuse it. This is a symptom of our culture of excess, which is especially present in the bodybuilding community where everyone wants to build as much muscle as possible.
Unfortunately life doesn't work like this. Just because eating 200 grams of protein a day gives you good results doesn't mean that 500 grams will give you great results. In the case of protein, there is a definite limit to what your body can utilize to build more muscle. If you aren't on steroids there is no way that you need 500 grams per day.
I hear the same type of thing with creatine. Five grams of creatine everyday will give you good results, but increasing the dose to 15 or more grams per day won't give you any additional benefit since there is a limit to how much creatine can be stored in your body.
The same goes for your workout schedule. If you're working out 3 days per week and getting good results, this doesn't mean that 6 days per week will bring you twice the results. Keep in mind that muscle growth occurs while you are resting. For most people training 6 days per week will not allow for enough recovery time between sessions. This leads to a plateau in strength and muscle gains.
Myth #2: Supplements are the answer
No one ever comes right out and says they believe supplements are the answer, but based on the number of questions I get about which supplement to use I know this is the case for many people.
The fact of the matter is that your training and nutrition programs are going to bring you 95% of your results. That's a hard pill to swallow for a lot of people (pun intended). Properly executing a solid training and nutrition program will never be as easy or cool as taking the latest miracle supplement, but the results are always better.
If building muscle were really as easy finding the right supplements don't you think everyone would be huge and muscular already?
Listen, if 95% of your results come from your training and nutrition program, don't you think you should invest some money in a good one? Here's an idea, give up your supplements for a month and spend that money on a professional training and nutrition program. This investment will give you a much better return on your money than any supplement, but it will never be as cool or sexy.
Myth #3: Your genetics are to blame
I get this all the time from the skinny guys. They tell me that it's impossible for them to gain weight no matter what they do. They tell me how they eat thousands of calories and train hard, yet they don't gain an ounce. They may as well resign themselves to being skinny because they don't have the genetics to build muscle.
This is not true! Sure, some people are more genetically gifted in the muscle building area than others, but we all still have the same basic physiology.
When I look at these guys' training and nutrition programs I can usually spot at least 10 huge mistakes that are holding back their gains. They think it's genetics, but really it's the actions they are taking.
These guys need to stop using genetics as an excuse. What they need is an objective observer to put together a training and nutrition program that is suited specifically to their needs.