Bodybuilding FAQ and Myths
FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS AND MISTAKEN OPINIONS
King Arthur and the Knights of the Square Table are looking for a fretsaw and compasses.
‘What is bodybuilding?’
Bodybuilding is a process of growing and developing muscles by means of progressive weight training. Bodybuilding attracts lots of admirers exactly due to the fact that it assigns primary importance to appearance but not to strength or endurance. A regular weightlifter is much stronger than a regular bodybuilder regarding all compound exercises. Still, the last usually looks better and has more developed strength endurance (especially of small muscle groups).
‘What is better: bodybuilding or fitness?’
The answer depends on your goals. Simply speaking, a bodybuilder is a fitness admirer who didn’t want to stop at the right time. Bodybuilding priority is the size of muscles, fitness priority is their shape. Still, in order to achieve good shape of muscles one always needs to increase them to some extent. So, if you want to do fitness in order to improve the shape of your muscles, you’ll still have to workout in accordance with the programs rather similar to those of bodybuilders’ during the first workout year. When we say ‘fitness’ we mean effective fitness, which can improve and shape your body, because there are a lot of other fitness ‘schools’ not connected with power exercises that we are not going to discuss due to their less effectiveness.
If a woman does natural bodybuilding (without using anabolic steroids) she has no chances to become like one of those ugly muscular women from bodybuilding magazines. Numerous peculiarities of female organism (and first of all – paucity of male hormones and muscles in the upperparts) will simply not allow this to happen.
That is why a woman can become ‘mannish’ only if she either was bourn like this or is using male hormonal preparations. But this is absolutely another story. You need to remember the most important thing regarding this issue: no matter how hard a woman is training, she will not acquire mannish features without injecting male hormones or their analogues.
‘Aerobic Exercises are better than power trainings’.
Unfortunately, aerobic exercises cannot build up muscle tissue which means that they cannot shape muscles. When doing aerobics, muscle fibers responsible for endurance are set in motion but the size of muscles and their shape are due to power fibers. Still, aerobic exercises are extremely useful for training of the cardiovascular and respiratory systems and metabolism normalization. But most often aerobics is used to get rid of hypodermic fat. For this long-term low-intensity cardio workouts are the best means.
‘Bodybuilding leads to lack of flexibility’
It would be more correct to say: ‘they can lead to lack of flexibility’. The point is that this problem may really occur in case you reduce the amplitude of workout exercise movements. This can often happen when using heavy workout weights and some professional techniques of intensity increase (cheating, partial reps, etc.). Thus, muscles get used to more efficient way of lifting weights. However, if you perform an workout exercise correctly at all phases of its movement (and especially at the starting point), your flexibility will not decrease and can even improve. Heavy training makes muscles harder and more rigid. But this problem can be easily overcome by means of stretching performed between exercise sets. But anyway, this problem concerns really heavy trainings of high-level sportsmen. Beginners should not consider this problem for their first training year.
‘I want to be healthy and sound. What should I do?’
Start visiting a gym. Only there you’ll have possibilities to workout all your muscle groups adequately. In the majority of other sports only certain muscles groups and qualities are trained (endurance by runners, explosive force of pushing muscles by throwers and so on). Only bodybuilding can guarantee you workout of all your muscles groups (and using different training regimes). If you add to bodybuilding workout aerobics (cardio), you’ll be able to gain all characteristics of a healthy and sound body. The eating habits that are used in bodybuilding and fitness will also be extremely useful for your health.
This myth appears to be a usual reason for busy people not to go to a gym. Happily, it is absolutely groundless. Three 45-60 minutes’ workouts a week are enough for sufficient progress. Too frequent trainings, especially in the very beginning, can after all lead to general over-training and stop of growth. Workout duration is also to be reduced to the minimum. It will contribute to lesser output of catabolic hormones responsible for destruction of your muscles. Strictly speaking, the duration of your workout is not that important in comparison with their quality and in-between rest. Rest, by the way, is prior to the workout because muscles are growing when resting.
‘I heard that it is impossible to grow muscles without steroids’
Yes, without steroids you’ll not be able to achieve the level of bodybuilders who take part in professional sport competitions. Professional sport requirements of organism recovery abilities are very high. Still, an ordinary person simply doesn’t need the muscles of such level; and to achieve a prominent athletic form without special drugs is perfectly realistic. Drugs appear to be the means to support the same progress rate that existed during the first 1-2 training years. In the very beginning, muscle growth is achieved rather easily; it is performed in accordance with the plan. However, after some time the increase of the workout level will lead you to your physical upper limit; and there are two solutions of this problem: a simple and a difficult one. The simple solution is to start using stimulants… The difficult one is to experiment with workouts and meals. Anyway, everyone can reach his/her athletic ‘ceiling’; and, believe me, it is a great deal.
‘When workout in a gym it is required to use a lot of muscle supplements’
That’s not true. There are a lot of professionals who don’t use such muscle supplements at all. As a matter of fact, a supplement is just an addition to the food you eat. That is why you need to use them only in case you are not able to solve your dietary tasks within the limits of natural food products. For example, in case you have no possibility to eat regularly, you can replace a full-fledged meal with a protein cocktail; or in case you don’t gain adequate amount of protein from the food you can afford yourself to eat, you can correct the daily amount of received protein by means of supplements. You need to understand that basic supplements are just food, modified to fulfil certain tasks.
‘Muscles will turn into fat as soon as one stops weight training’
The roots of this myth lie in weightlifting. Weightlifters were never notable for toned-up figures; when they stop training and grow older their muscles become thinner and their depot fat starts increasing (especially if they like beer and fried potatoes before going to sleep). That is the ground of this myth. The truth is that muscles and fat are just absolutely different body tissues. Turning of one into the other is just as difficult ‘alchemic’ problem as turning lead into gold or finding the philosopher’s stone. In other words, there are no connection between losing muscles and becoming fat. One can grow fat; another can lose his muscles; the third can go both ways. Each goal presupposes particular techniques but if a persons stops doing sports at all, after some time he regains the form close to his natural one. If, for example, this person was stout and decided to quit, he will just get his fat figure back. So, if you do bodybuilding, you have more chances to avoid such situation, at least, due to more advanced ideas about appropriate eating.
Most often trainers say that the speed of progress depends directly on your genes. This appears to be a kind of universal pretext. Especially clever trainers can even recollect three constitution types. Still, I saw a lot of genetically gifted people who were not able to achieve anything as well as ‘weaklings’ who managed to ‘blow up’ their bodies just for a couple of years. It is easy to talk about genetic uniqueness of a sportsman who is participating in a professional competition – it is obvious. But only few people could really know it in the beginning of his sport career. You should remember the following idea: everything depends on your own wish and ambition. Ambition leads to true motivation; and motivation – to goal achievement. Just then you’ll don’t give a damn! Just then you’ll follow and assist the increase of your results! Just this kind of people achieves success in any type of activity (including the one performed in a gym).
The same Schwarzenegger was nobody else but a lanky guy with a hollow chest. His trainer liked his brother who was more genetically gifted much more than Schwarzenegger himself. But his brother did not have the ambition Arnold did. That is why he stopped training rather soon.
Arnold was approaching his form for 10 years. Still, it was quite long ago; and besides it, frankly speaking, his form is far from the current ideal standards. I believe that modern training and eating technologies can shorten this term twice; but anyway it will require 100% of your time devoted to training.
‘To shape your body slender you need to exercise workout with light weights and stick to lower amount of reps’
In 80-90s a significant lack of information on appropriate workout exercise program existed. Since this time ‘drying’ by means of multiple reps in a set came into fashion. At first glance, it seams rather reasonable but the truth lies in the fact that during any repetition regime work in favor of size increase but not ‘drying’ occurs. In order to get rid of excess fat one needs to manage meals but not the quantity of repetitions.
In addition, multiple reps can do you a bad turn because they train muscular fibers responsible for endurance while power fibers that are much more inclined to hypertrophy (growth) can lose their training level. Simply speaking, your muscles can grow thin while amount of fat can remain the same.
For upperparts workout in the very beginning it is advisable not to use more than 10-12 reps; for legs – no more than 15-20. These are upper limits; thought, for the sake of truth, I need to mention that in the very beginning it is possible to grow muscles doing 20 (or sometimes even 30 reps). Still, the effectiveness of such growth will be lower than when doing classic ‘corridor’ of 6-12 reps.
People often ask about breast when meaning just mammary glands. My answer will be simple: power trainings don’t cause mammary gland growth. It is possible to grow pectoral muscles but not mammary glands. Their size depends only on female sex hormones. Generally, the common idea of a women breast is a combination of fat tissue and mammary glands. It is clear about mammary glands but what comes to fat tissue – its size depends mostly on the nature of the food each particular woman eats but not on trainings. Still, when training the body general expenditure of energy increases and breast can, on the contrary, grow thinner.
The good news of trainings is that they can ‘heave’ your breast due to development of muscles under mammary glands. This can visually change the breast shape and make it look heaved.
‘As a matter of fact, I am keen on soccer but am thinking about bodybuilding. Is it worth doing?’
Definitely yes! Preparation of any serious sportsman of a power sport includes weightlifting exercises. And sport games are not exception.
A gym is just the place to train the very muscle groups that are important for a particular sport. There are lots of serious theories proving this statement. Finally, training programs of all Olympic sportsmen (wrestlers, rowers, hockey players, soccer players, etc.) include weightlifting exercises. Soccer players, for example, train in gyms their general strength endurance level + explosive force of legs; rowers – strength endurance of back; throwers – explosive force of the shoulder girdle and so on.
Even if you play draughts, training in a gym will be useful for you because it will assist metabolism normalization and improvement of your general health level. As everyone knows, a sound mind is in a sound body.
‘When workout in a gym it is allowed to eat more greasy and high-calorie food because workout burn all excess calories’
Generally, it is true but before making final conclusions let’s try to calculate and compare your possible expenditure of energy.
A person weighing 80 kilos, when performing intensive aerobics exercises (or lifting weights) for 30 minutes, will burn for about 250-300 calories. This very quantity of calories can be regained by eating 100g of ice-cream or drinking half a liter of milk. Now you should consider whether it is worth doing.
That is the reason I use to say, ‘Diet but not trainings is the main open sesame to a lean body’. If you are not interested in this, you can afford yourself eating more high-calorie food. But you need to understand that by doing this you just postpone your achievement of the ideal form you strive for. In the end, it is the question of motivation and your choice of what’s more important for you: gluttony (that’s one of the seven deadly sins, by the way) or your dream.
Still, if you are a man and at the present time are interested in maximum gaining muscle mass then you can ignore what’s been said above for some time. During this period you are to eat a lot of food because it assists increase of ‘bulking’ gain speed. But later on the necessity of ‘burning’ will definitely become an issue.
Written by: Dennis Borisov
© April 2010 www.gymper.com. All rights reserved. Reprint article with link only.