man and woman exercising

What Most People Get Wrong About Building Muscle

Everyone dreams of a body that looks good and is in top shape. Not only will you experience fewer health problems throughout your life, but your social media beach and fitness photos will also be a source of envy and inspiration. According to the Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS), active people should have at least 2.5 hours of moderate aerobic activity or 1.25 hours of high-intensity workouts. Strength training for at least two times a week should also be included to help the body get stronger and more durable.

However, what the HHS recommended is only the bare minimum to help the body regulate its different internal functions and systems — such as circulation, hormone production, and metabolism. If you want a physique comparable to famous action stars and sports legends, more effort and commitment are required to achieve your fitness goal. However, different quick-fix claims to building muscle and sculpting the body are a dime a dozen. Everyone should be careful with the information they read because it can jeopardize progress.

Here are a few myths people should watch out for:

Myth 1: Always exercise with heavier weights for stronger muscles

It might sound logical that the heavier you lift, the stronger your muscles become. But the body doesn’t care about what the numbers on the barbells and kettlebells say. It’s more concerned about the right amount of stress and contraction that can make it grow. The perfect weight will give you the space to control the movement and maintain a wide range of motion for the whole set. There’s a tendency to favor speed over proper technique when you’re rushing to lift heavier weights. You’re biting off more than you can chew. An added tip to ensure effective lifting is to lower the weights while your arm is lengthened for at least three seconds. This movement encourages the most optimal muscle damage that can lead to stronger muscles.

Myth 2: Skipping a day at a gym will risk your gains

Recovery days are as important as workout days because it gives the body time to repair the torn muscle fibers and build up energy again. It is through this process that the muscles can grow bigger and stronger. If you’re always at the gym, then the body will not be able to kick start its natural process of healing, which can leave you sore all the time. Feeling pain for more than 72 hours will need to be looked at by a doctor or physical therapist. Stagger your workouts throughout the week, and use the breaks to sleep longer, arrange a same-day laundry service for those sweaty clothes, and cook healthy meals.

Myth 3: Protein is all you need in your diet

Couple preparing a healthy meal

It seems that every bodybuilder and fitness aficionado you see are ingesting copious amounts of protein, whether through post-workout shakes or chicken breasts. The logic seems sound at first glance. Muscles are made of protein, so more protein will mean bigger muscles, right? Science doesn’t back up this correlation. According to a study published in the Journal of the International Society of Sports Nutrition, increasing protein intake, more than your body weight’s normal range, does not contribute to higher muscle gains. However, the other health benefits of high-protein diets should also not be discounted.

Having a deeper understanding of how the body grows stronger and healthier can help in speeding up one’s progress. Remember that heavier weights, straight training days, and a protein buffet are not effective methods in building muscle.

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