The Absolute Worst Myths About Bulking Up

Whether you’re trying to maintain tone or grow muscle, there’s a whole bunch of misinformation out there (isn’t that the case with everything, nowadays?). Little do you know, you could be sabotaging your own workouts with this misinformation, but we’re here to tell it how it is. Are you committing any of the workout crimes below?

Bench presses will help you tighten up flabby pecs ASAP

Spot training never works, as history has told us, but people are still in denial of the truth. Just like lifting weights won’t convert fat into muscle, bench pressing won’t help make droopy moobs into Arnold Schwarzenegger pecs overnight. Instead, invest in a workout program that promotes lean muscle growth, and focus on calorie burning, since that’s where the moob-decreasing action will kick in at first.

Lower back pain results from training too hard, and you need a break!

Lower back pain can be a tricky thing that you never want to overstrain – but often, the culprit of lower back pain isn’t injury from a workout, or something you pilled in your sleep. It can be from a weak core and tight hips. So to prevent that, instead of ditching the training altogether and considering that recovery, aim for a gentle workout that will open up and strengthen these areas. Try yoga – or even Bikram, if you’re looking to get deep into those tight muscles.

Cardio is the fastest way to slim down

If weight loss is your goal as opposed to bulking up, or you’re looking to tone instead of adding muscle mass, cardio won’t really help you in either capacity. While it’s great for your heart and overall health, too much cardio can result in rapid muscle loss. As a better alternative, you can find a way to integrate cardio into a strength or HIIT program, which will let you slim and tone simultaneously.

Working out on empty stomach makes a session more effective

Yes, this method uses stored fat as fuel, but it doesn’t make that stored fat disappear, but not eating before a workout can affect your performance. A low calorie snack like a banana or oatmeal, followed by a high-protein post-workout snack, will really help you maximize your workout and use your muscle groups more efficiently to bulk up.

Stretch before and after a workout

We’re always told to stretch, stretch, stretch. But sometimes, stretching isn’t always a restorative action! Stretching cold muscles can actually be bad for you workout, so skip the before and wait till your muscles are nice and toasty after the workout to get a relaxing session in.  If you try stretching pre-workout with cold muscles, it will make you less efficient for the duration of the workout, and can destabilize muscles, even tearing them.

Do the 110 percent and go that extra mile!

Sometimes, that extra mile is the difference between blowing your knee out and having all your muscles atrophy over the next months, versus knowing your limits and being able to cautiously train and get the results you want. If you overwork yourself, you can strain your body and have to take a break, which will ultimately decrease muscle mass, and even increase cortisol.

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