Getting shredded and achieving lean physique is beyond doubt one of the toughest thing to accomplish for a bodybuilder. Your journey to pack on quality lean muscle can become even tougher if you surround yourself with lies and myths.
The best way to start a journey to well-conditioned and lean muscle is by making yourself aware of the truth behind all the claims by made by your so called ‘gurus’ both in and out of the gym.
So, here’s the truth behind popular lean muscle myths that you have been waiting for so long.
MYTH 1 – Low-Intensity Steady State cardio for long intervals will burn a lot of fat and put on lean muscle mass.
TRUTH – Since your heart rate is not high enough, your body doesn’t really get a quality fat-burning workout session from low-intensity long cardio routine.
SOLUTION – High Intensity Interval Training sessions(HIIT) or Fast Cardio, where you sprint for 1 minute and walk for 2 are one of the best ways to get rid of fat and build quality lean muscle.
Apart from fat loss, HIIT also increases EPOC(Excess Post Workout Oxygen Consumption) aka after-burn effect. Over the period of time, this after-burn effect will increase your body’s ability to use oxygen for energy and hence increase in endurance and ability to withstand more work for long period of time.
Myth 2 – Fasted cardio burns a lot of fat.
TRUTH – You don’t need to starve yourself because you are more likely to get better results on fed state than doing cardio on empty stomach.
SOLUTION – For getting best results out of your cardio training, you need to make sure that you do these two things. First, don’t indulge in long cardio sessions on an empty stomach. And second, avoid eating 45 minutes to an hour before cardio training. Both carbs and fats take a lot of time to digest.
So when you consume them right before training, more energy is diverted towards digesting the food and thus making the workout less effective.
For better performance, keep yourself hydrated enough throughout the training session.
Myth 3 – Lifting light weights for high rep range will tone muscles and generate lean muscle gains.
TRUTH – Your body fat percentage determines how lean and better muscle definition you can achieve. You simply can’t achieve your lean muscle goals with high body fat percentages.
Solution – The problem with training with light weights is that they don’t build muscle. And when you don’t have any muscle mass, you will never burn enough body fat. This makes it very necessary to do away with the idea of light weight lifting and muscle toning.
Reduce your body fat percentage with the help of strict diet and HIIT routines coupled with strength training routine that includes heavy compound lifts.
Myth 4 – Doing cardio before weights will help you get shredded faster.
TRUTH – Running miles on a treadmill before weight training will rob you of the energy which you can utilize for lifting weights and thus compromising with the goal of building lean muscle, strength and muscle gains.
SOLUTION – Apart from decreasing energy levels, doing cardio before weights will also increase the risk of injury due to fatigue. To lose body fat and get shredded, your body needs to utilize stored fat as a fuel during exercise. And in order to unlock this mechanism, you first need to exhaust your glycogen stores.
So, when you weight train, your body reduces glycogen levels by using them as fuel and now, when you are low on glycogen you can simply hop on a treadmill and get rid of stubborn body fat.
Related article: 4 training loopholes making you weaker
Myth 5 – The only way I can stimulate lean muscle growth and lose fat is by cutting out my carbs entirely.
TRUTH – Since carbohydrates are directly connected to recovery and muscle growth, cutting them out entirely will derail your muscle gains and make you weak and small by each day.
SOLUTION – No doubt, cutting out carbs for a small period will certainly create dramatic results. But, if a low-carb diet is what you are considering as a long term fat-loss approach, then you may want to rebuild your strategies.
Keep in mind that not all carbs are bad. If you stick to donuts, burgers, and fries, you are never going to get lean BRO. Instead, change sides to unprocessed whole grains, veggies and fresh fruits for your daily carb intake. I know it’s tough to get hands off junk food, but you gotta do it to like that ripped guy in the magazine covers.
Myth 6 – You need to have good GENES to get ripped and build a lean muscular physique.
TRUTH – The amount of body fat you carry on your body has very little to do with genes. You cannot blame your genes for your poor eating habits.
SOLUTION – I have seen people often complaining about poor genes that got from their parents and difficulties they face and blah blah. Sure, your body type, structure, the connection of muscle, the bone structure has got something to do with genes. But, the amount of fat you put on because of your bad eating habits is entirely up to you.
To be very honest, if you want to get maximum lean muscle mass then you gotta take your meal prep very seriously.
The bottom line is that genes do have a role in deciding how much muscle you will be able to put on but don’t make it a scapegoat for your laziness.