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Muscle Myths: 50 Health & Fitness Mistakes You Don't Know You're Making

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Visit http://www.bitly.com/mmprev-mm to learn more!

If you've ever felt lost in the sea of contradictory training and diet advice out there and you just want to know once and for all what works and what doesn't--what's scientifically true and what's false--when it comes to building muscle and getting ripped, then you need to read this book.

Let me ask you a question. Do any of the following claims sound familiar?

"I have bad genetics--I'm a 'hardgainer.'"

"You have to work your abs more to get a six-pack."

"When doing cardio, you want your heart rate in the 'fat burning zone.'"

"You have to do cardio for 20 minutes before your body starts burning fat."

"Don't eat at night if you want to lose weight."

"Steroids make you look great."

"I'm overweight because I have a slow metabolism."

You've probably heard one or more of these statements before, and the sad truth is lies like these have ruined many people's fitness ambitions. There are many, many more.

Thanks to the overwhelming amount of fitness pseudo-science and lies being pushed on us every day by bogus magazines and self-styled "gurus," it's becoming harder and harder to get in shape.

Muscle Myths was written to debunk the most commonplace and harmful gimmicks, fads, myths, and misinformation in the health and fitness industry.

Here are just some of the things you'll learn in this book:

- Why you don't have to cut carbohydrates (carbs), or fat, or eat weird combinations of food to lose weight.

- The truth about supplements and why 99% of them are a complete waste of money (and the few that are actually scientifically proven to work).

- What it actually takes to "tone up"--and it's not doing "shaping exercises" (these don't exist) or doing a million reps every workout.

- Why women shouldn't be training differently than men if they want the lean, toned, and sexy type of body that they see in magazines, TV shows, and movies.

- The scientific secrets of getting a six-pack. Forget 6-minute gimmicks, doing endless crunches, and hours of grueling cardio--it's actually pretty easy when you know what you're doing.

- Training and diet methods that will completely shatter any perceived "genetic barriers" that you think are holding you back from building a muscular, lean physique that you love.

- The proper way to stretch so you don't sap your strength and risk injury. (Most people do this wrong and suffer the consequences without even realizing it.)

- And much more.

With the information in this book, you can save the money, time, and frustration of buying into misleading diet plans and products that promise unattainable results. You can become your own personal trainer and start getting real results with your diet and exercise.

Visit http://www.bitly.com/mmprev-mm to learn more!

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Muscle Myths: 50 Health & Fitness Mistakes You Don't Know You're Making

  1. 1. MUSCLE MYTHS50 HEALTH & FITNESS MISTAKES YOU DON’T KNOW YOU’RE MAKING Michael Matthews
  2. 2. Copyright © 2012 Waterbury Publishers, Inc.All rights reserved. This book or any portion thereof may not be reproduced or used inany manner whatsoever without the express written permission of the publisherexcept for the use of brief quotations in a book review. The scanning, uploading, anddistribution of this book via the Internet or via any other means without thepermission of the publisher is illegal and punishable by law.Please purchase only authorized electronic editions of this book and don’t participate inor encourage electronic piracy of copyrighted materials.If you would like to share this book with another person, please purchase an additionalcopy for each person you share it with, or ask them to buy their own copies. This washard work for the author and he appreciates it.This eBook is a general educational health-related information product and is intendedfor healthy adults, age 18 and over.This eBook is solely for information and educational purposes and is not medicaladvice. Please consult a medical or health professional before you begin any exercise,nutrition, or supplementation program or if you have questions about your health.There may be risks associated with participating in activities or using productsmentioned in this eBook for people in poor health or with pre-existing physical ormental health conditions.Because these risks exist, you should not use such products or participate in suchactivities if you are in poor health or have a pre-existing mental or physical healthcondition. If you choose to participate in these risks, you do so of your own free will andaccord knowingly and voluntarily, assuming all risks associated with such activities.Specific results mentioned in this book should be considered extraordinary and thereare no “typical” results. As individuals differ, then results will differ.Cover Designed by: Damon FreemanPublished by: Waterbury Publishers, Inc.www.waterburypublishers.comVisit the author’s website:www.buildhealthymuscle.com
  3. 3. OTHER BOOKS BY MICHAEL MATTHEWS Bigger Leaner Stronger: The Simple Science of Building the Ultimate Male BodyIf you want to be muscular, lean, and strong as quickly as possible, without steroids,good genetics, or wasting ridiculous amounts of time in the gym, and money on supplements...then you want to read this book. Click here to learn more about this book!Cardio Sucks! 15 Excellent Ways to Burn Fat Fast and Get in Shape
  4. 4. If youre short on time and sick of the same old boring cardio routine and want to kickyour fat loss into high gear by working out less and...heaven forbid...actually have some fun...then you want to read this new book. Click here to learn more about this book! The Shredded Chef: 114 Recipes for Getting RippedIf you want to know how to forever escape the dreadful experience of “dieting” and learn how to cook nutritious, delicious meals that make building muscle and burning fat easy and enjoyable, then you need to read this book. Click here to learn more about this book!
  5. 5. You Have Been Lied to, and It’s Time to Learn theTruthThe health and fitness industry is notorious for scams, fallacies, and pseudo-science.Welcome.The War Against BS and BroscienceLearn about the biggest lie factories in the industry, and how to inoculate yourself.SECTION ONE: Weightlifting MythsMyth #1: I have bad geneticsMyth #2: I’m a hard gainerMyth #3: Deadlifts are bad for your backMyth #4: Squats are bad for your kneesMyth #5: You have to work your abs more to get a six-packMyth #6: You can turn your fat into muscleMyth #7: Low weight and high reps gets you tonedMyth #8: Women should train differently than menMyth #9: The more sets you, do the betterMyth #10: You can "shape" your muscles with certain exercisesMyth #11: You need to "feel the burn" and get a huge pump to grow your musclesMyth #12: You should always stretch before working outMyth #13: You can get rid of fat by working out a particular area of your bodyMyth #14: Its okay to cheat if youre going heavyMyth #15: Once you stop training, all your muscle turns to fatMyth #16: You should eat whatever you want when youre bulkingMyth #17: Weight training makes you inflexible
  6. 6. SECTION TWO: Cardio MythsMyth #18: When doing cardio, you want to get your heart rate into the "fat burningzone"Myth #19: Your body kicks into fat loss mode after 20 minutes of cardioMyth #20: You have to do cardio to get leanMyth #21: You shouldnt do cardio when bulkingMyth #22: You should do cardio before lifting weightsMyth #23: You should warm up with cardio before liftingMyth #24: Sweating more during cardio burns more fatSECTION THREE: Diet & Nutrition MythsMyth #25: Exercising on an empty stomach burns more fatMyth #26: Fruit juice is good for youMyth #27: The body can only digest 30 grams of protein per sittingMyth #28: I wont have to watch what I eat if I exercise a lotMyth #29: Dont eat at night if you want to lose weightMyth #30: Stay away from egg yolksMyth #31: Eating fats makes you fatMyth #32: Dont drink water while eating because it interferes with digestionMyth #33: Diet sodas are good for dietingMyth #34: Salt is bad for youMyth #35: Certain foods have "negative calories"Myth #36: I dont need to count calories if I watch my portionsMyth #37: Eating a lot of protein is bad for your kidneysMyth #38: Most carbs are badMyth #39: One cheat day per week is okay
  7. 7. Myth #40: Meal timing doesnt matterSECTION FOUR: Supplement MythsMyth #41: Steroids make you look awesomeMyth #42: Store-bought test/HGH boosters workMyth #43: Fat burners get you rippedMyth #44: Creatine is hard on the kidneysMyth #45: Protein bars are a good snackSECTION FIVE: Lifestyle MythsMyth #46: Stress and cortisol make you gain weightMyth #47: Sleep isnt that importantMyth #48: I dont have the time/opportunity to diet and exerciseMyth #49: Alcohol doesnt affect muscle growth or fat lossMyth #50: Im overweight because I have a slow metabolismWOULD YOU DO ME A FAVOR?You’re awesome for buying my book, and I have a small favor to ask...OTHER BOOKS BY MICHAEL MATTHEWSMore practical health and fitness advice to help you get into the best shape of your life.
  8. 8. You Have Been Lied to, and It’s Time to Learn the Truth This is the book I wish I had when I started training nearly a decade ago—backwhen I was full of wrong ideas. You know—when I thought that my genetics weren’t good enough, that I was ahardgainer, that a really sick pump was the key to muscle growth, that the secret to agreat chest was pounding away on the bench press, and when other fallacies werefoisted upon me by workout magazines and trainers (many of whom get theirinformation from magazines). Like many other guys, I would hit the gym regularly only to see little or noresults. Naturally, this leads to frustration and many guys eventually quit or turn tosteroids or develop unhealthy eating habits. Fortunately, I chose the path of bettereducation, and I hope this book will help you get great results from training naturallyand eating healthily. Because the fact is—and this is probably the biggest lesson I’ve learned over thelast ten years—building a great body just isn’t that complicated. It’s like good sex—sure,it requires effort, but the principles are few and simple and if you stick to them, you getthe job done. Here’s what it boils down to: If you’re willing to train for 45 minutes per day, 3–5times per week, and follow a sensible eating plan, you can have a great body thatyou’re proud of. And if you’re not already a seasoned lifter, you can easily gain 15–20pounds of lean mass in your first 10–12 weeks of training—a pretty dramatic change. In this book I’m going to address a bunch of myths and bogus claims in ascientific and straightforward manner. I’m not going to bother with pictures or fluffmaterial because you can get more than your fill of that in other fitness books or onvarious websites. I’m going to give you the straight facts and help you approach yourtraining and nutrition in a smarter way. But first I want to talk about the lie factories that spawn many of these bunkfallacies and how you can avoid the many more variations that are sure to come. Solet’s get to it.
  9. 9. The War Against BS and Broscience A couple decades ago, there wasn’t enough information on working out. These days, with the Internet and magazine racks full of glossed-up magazinesfeaturing roid monsters, the workout information market is like a mountainous garbagedump. Somewhere in the muck are the basic, workable truths—the stuff we’re actuallylooking for—but they’re greatly out-numbered by the worthless crap. If you hit the Internet and start participating in bodybuilding forums, you’reentering a land ruled by broscience and idiocy, where it’s almost impossible to sort outwhat’s true and workable, and what’s not. “What’s broscience,” you ask? Broscience isthe predominant brand of reasoning used by amateur bodybuilders where theanecdotal stories of drugged-up guys that really have no idea what’s going on insidetheir bodies takes precedence over credible scientific research. Just because a guy looksgood thanks to steroids doesn’t necessarily mean he has good advice for you (andsteroids definitely don’t guarantee you a great body). A million bad advices fall under the heading of broscience. You should do highreps and low weight to tone your muscles—BZZZT. The more sets you do, the better—BZZZT. Deadlifts are bad for your back—BZZZT. Wrong, wrong, wrong, bro. And what about the magazines? Here’s a fun fact that you probably didn’t know:MuscleMag, IronMan, Flex, Muscular Development, Muscle & Fitness, Muscle Media,and the rest of the mainstream bodybuilding magazines are owned by supplementcompanies and are used simply as mouthpieces for their products. Yup. MuscleMag iscontrolled by MuscleTech; IronMan is controlled by MuscleLink; MuscularDevelopment is Twinlab’s shill piece; Muscle & Fitness and Flex are owned by JoeWeider, and are thus promotion catalogues for his companies, such as Weider,Metaform, MuscleTribe, and several others; and MuscleMedia is the EAS cheerleader. The primary goal of these magazines is to pimp supplements for the companiescontrolling them, and they work damn well. The magazines push products in variousways. They have pretty advertisements all over the place, they regularly run“advertorials” (advertisements disguised as informative articles), and they balance thesales pitches with some articles that actually provide workout and nutrition advice(which also, in many cases, end with product recommendations of some kind). So, this is the first blow that magazines deal to you: They give you a lot of“advice” that is geared first and foremost to selling you products, not helping youachieve your goals. The supplement companies know that if they can just keep getting thesemagazines into people’s hands, they will keep selling products. So, how do they ensurethat you will keep buying? By coming up with a constant flow of new advice and ideas,
  10. 10. of course. And this is the second, probably more harmful, blow: They inundate you with allkinds of false ideas about what it takes to get into great shape. If they told the simpletruth every month, they would have maybe twenty articles or so that they could re-print over and over. Instead, they get quite creative with all kinds of sophisticated (butuseless) workout routines, “tricks,” and diets (that include certain supplements to reallyMAXIMIZE the effectiveness, of course). The bottom line is that you can’t trust these types of magazines. They’re nothingmore than shiny lobbyists for the supplement companies. So how do you get good information, you wonder? Well, this book will give youa great head start. Forgive the shameless plug, but another book of mine, Bigger LeanerStronger, is also an excellent resource that gives you everything you need to createyour own training program and diet that will help you achieve your goals as efficientlyas possible. I also like StrongLifts.com and SimplyShredded.com for no-BS trainingadvice that actually works. Alright, now that we have all that out of the way, let’s get to the myth busting,shall we?
  11. 11. Section One:Weight Lifting Myths
  12. 12. MYTH #1: I have bad genetics This one gets tossed around a lot. Genetics are a favorite scapegoat for peoplewho can’t build enough muscle or lose enough fat. But how much do they actuallyinfluence your results? A lot less than these people want to believe. Sure, your genes determine certainthings like which muscle groups tend to be your “strong points,” your natural hormonelevels, and where you tend to gain fat, but they’re not standing in your way in terms ofgaining muscle or losing fat. You can get in amazing shape if you know what you’redoing. Period. I’ve known quite a few “hardgainers” over the years that have gained 30, 40, andeven 50 pounds in their first two years of training correctly (and with no drugs). I’veknown countless people who were convinced that they were genetically programmedto be fat get in the best shape of their lives once they fixed what they were doing wrong. Now, genetics can make it easier or harder. Some guys have naturally hightestosterone levels, which means faster muscle growth and a leaner physique. Somepeople’s metabolisms are naturally faster than others, making weight loss an easierendeavor. Genetics also play a role in the shape of your muscles. Not everyone canhave that perfect square chest or ridiculous bicep peak. But none of these things arelimitations. So, who cares if you gain muscle or lose fat slower than the other guy? As long asyou get to where you want to be, the added time is irrelevant. And big deal if you can’thave the same aesthetics as that fitness model. You can still look awesome and feelgreat, and that’s what it’s all about.
  13. 13. MYTH #2: Im a hard gainer This is a cousin of the “bad genetics” myth and is a common gripe of skinny guyseverywhere. They believe that their bodies are genetically programmed to stay scrawny and thatthey can’t gain large amounts of muscle, regardless of how hard they train or howmuch they eat. Sometimes they turn to steroids and sometimes they just quit. While it’s true that some people have an easier time putting on muscle than othersdue to hormone levels and genetic predispositions, nobody is doomed to have aforever-frail physique. The thing is, every person I’ve known that has made the hardgainer claim wastraining and eating incorrectly—every single one. They were all making several (or insome cases, all) of the following mistakes: working out too little or too much (not givingyour body enough rest is severely detrimental to gains), lifting too light and wussy,doing the wrong exercises (relying mainly on isolation machines and not doingcompound mass-builders is a sure way to stay small and weak), and eating way lessthan they should’ve been eating each day. I’ve also seen quite a few ex-“hardgainers”start training and eating correctly and get big fast. If you’re an ectomorph type who has had trouble putting on size, I actually envyyou. Your natural leanness is a blessing because when you start lifting hard and eatingproperly, you’ll build muscle like the rest of us, but you’ll put on less fat, making youlook better. And when you want to cut down to super-lean body-fat levels, you’ll find itmuch easier than most. Yet another benefit of being an ecto is that you don’t need as much muscle mass tolook big when you’re lean. Fifteen pounds put on a lean frame can be quite a dramaticchange, and if you know what you’re doing, that’s two to three months of work, tops. If you want to know exactly what to do to accomplish that, then I recommend youread my book Bigger Leaner Stronger for the full answer, but I’ll summarize a fewpoints here: 1. You must eat enough to grow. Here’s a simple way to calculate your needs: • Eat 1.5 grams of protein per pound of body weight per day. • Eat 2 grams of carbs per pound of body weight per day. • Eat 1.5 grams of healthy fats per 5 pounds of body weight per day. For a 150-pound male, it would look like this:
  14. 14. • 225 grams of protein per day • 300 grams of carbs per day • 55 grams of fat per day That’s about 2,600 calories per day (protein has about 4 calories per gram, as do carbs,and fats have about 9 calories per gram), which should be enough to maintain steadymuscle growth. If, for some reason, it’s not, then you would simply add 200 calories perday and see how that goes for a couple of weeks. If you’re still not happy, add another200 per day. As long as you’re training correctly, you will start gaining muscle once youhit the dietary “sweet spot.” 2. You must eat 6–7 times per day. Not only would it be almost impossible to eatthat much in only 2–3 meals per day, it would be unhealthy to try. Instead, eat 6–7smaller meals per day (one every three hours or so) that add up to your total caloric andnutritional requirements. 3. Lift heavy and make sure you’re doing compound exercises. The ideas thatyou have to “feel the burn” and “get a huge pump” are myths that I will be addressing.Muscle growth comes from overload, not fatigue, and overload is caused by one thing:heavy weight. The training method that has worked best for me and countless other people whowanted to gain muscle fast has simple principles: • Go to failure every set. • Adjust your weight so you can only do 4–6 reps. When you can do six, go up inweight. • Do nine heavy sets per workout. • Train one muscle group per day (five training days per week). And in terms of exercises, you must be doing the following exercises every week: • Squats • Deadlifts • Barbell or dumbbell bench press • Military press or dumbbell press These are the primary mass builders and I promise you that you’ll never build agreat physique without doing them regularly and heavily.
  15. 15. MYTH #3: Deadlifts are bad for your back Most guys that use this myth to skip deadlifts are really just saying, “I don’t likedeadlifts because they make my va-jay-jay sore.” The fact is deadlifts are one of the most intense and rewarding exercises you can do(along with squats, which many guys also love to skip). And much to the contrary ofthis myth, deadlifts are good for your back and actually strengthen it from bottom totop—when they’re done correctly. When done incorrectly, well, it can be pretty scary(search for “bad deadlift” on YouTube if you want to cringe). Proper deadlifts have other benefits. They train quite a few other muscles such asthe trapezius, abs, calves, quads, and hamstrings. They also trigger increased growthhormone and testosterone production, greatly enhancing your gains from all of yourworkouts. As long as you don’t have an existing back condition, I highly recommend you startdeadlifting right away. Before you do, however, make sure you have perfect formdown. To learn it, head on over to BodyBuilding.com and watch their video on theexercise (http://www.bodybuilding.com/exercises/detail/view/name/barbell-deadlift).
  16. 16. MYTH #4: Squats are bad for your knees If by “bad for my knees” you mean “will make my hair gel run,” then yes, squats are“bad for your knees.” In all seriousness, the worst leg exercise for your knees is actually the leg extensionmachine, which puts a ton of strain on your kneecap. The squat, however, is a verynatural, functional movement that allows you to work out your legs in the way theywere intended to move. It’s also the best overall leg exercise that you can do. Putsimply: You’ll never have great legs unless you do squats. As with deadlifts, however, the key to keeping squats safe is to have perfect form.The most common mistake I see guys making is loading the bar up and thenperforming half- or quarter-reps. That is bad for your knees. Another dangerous habit isleaning too far forward at the bottom of the squat, putting undue strain on your neckand lower back. Proper form starts with your feet, which should be shoulder-width apart andslightly turned out. As you squat down, you should keep your chest pushed out andyou should be looking upward. And I’ve saved the best for last: You need to squat untilyour legs form a 90-degree angle (until your thighs are parallel to the ground).Anything less than this is cheating, which means you either need to suck it up and getlower, or drop the weight until you can. As a whole, the movement should feel likeyou’re sitting straight down into a chair and standing straight up. If you’re not squatting every week, I highly recommend you start; you might beamazed by not only how quickly your legs respond, but also how it affects your overallstrength and growth (due to increased testosterone and growth hormone production).
  17. 17. MYTH #5: You have to work your abs more to get a six-pack These days, having “six-pack” abs is basically synonymous with being sexy and in-shape. Workout magazines are constantly touting new ab workouts. There are a plethora ofnew supplements released every week that promise to kick your fat burning into highgear and help you get a lean, rippling stomach. There are quite a few “ab” gurus onlineselling eBooks on the “secrets” of getting a six-pack. Well, I have good news for you: Having awesome abs is much easier than youmight think. You don’t have to train your abs every day to have a six-pack (this wouldactually lead to overtraining and stunt your gains). You don’t have to do 50 reps perexercise to have a six-pack. What do you have to do? What is the mystical secret to a sexy stomach? Get your body-fat percentage under 10%. Yup, that’s the big secret. As a guy, whenyour body-fat percentage reaches the 7–9% range, your abs will pop whether you trainthem or not (they’re actually one of the body’s naturally stronger muscle groups as theyhold the body upright all day). So how do you get your body-fat percentage below 10%? You can’t burn “stomach”fat by doing crunches—that’s not how the body works. All you have to do is follow adiet designed for weight loss and do cardio a few times per week until you’ve reachedyour goal. (There’s actually a very precise way to calculate your dietary and cardioneeds, which I go over in my book, Bigger Leaner Stronger.) Now, that doesn’t mean that you shouldn’t train abs, because you should. Having astrong core helps with other lifts and a regularly trained set of abs usually looks betterthan one that gets no training (I say “usually” because some guys just have awesomeabs despite rarely training them). But they should be trained like any other musclegroup—work them once or twice per week, with 9–12 sets per workout. You should also know that some people’s abs are shaped better than others’. Someguys will never have a symmetrical six-pack because that’s just not how their musclesare formed. Some guys have small abs that look almost under-developed, which can beremedied with ab training.
  18. 18. ARE YOU READY TO BUILD THE BODY OF YOUR DREAMS?If you’ve ever felt lost in the sea of contradictory training and diet advice outthere and you just want to know once and for all what works and whatdoesn’t—what’s scientifically true and what’s false—when it comes tobuilding muscle and getting ripped, then you need to read the rest of thisbook.Muscle Myths was written to debunk the most commonplace and harmful gimmicks,fads, myths, and misinformation in the health and fitness industry.Here are just some of the things you’ll learn in this book:  Why you don’t have to cut carbohydrates (carbs), or fat, or eat weird combinations of food to lose weight.  The truth about supplements and why 99% of them are a complete waste of money (and the few that are actually scientifically proven to work).  What it actually takes to “tone up”—and it’s not doing “shaping exercises” (these don’t exist) or doing a million reps every workout.  Why women shouldn’t be training differently than men if they want the lean, toned, and sexy type of body that they see in magazines, TV shows, and movies.  The scientific secrets of getting a six-pack. Forget 6-minute gimmicks, doing endless crunches, and hours of grueling cardio—it’s actually pretty easy when you know what you’re doing.  Training and diet methods that will completely shatter any perceived “genetic barriers” that you think are holding you back from building a muscular, lean physique that you love.  The proper way to stretch so you don’t sap your strength and risk injury. (Most people do this wrong and suffer the consequences without even realizing it.)  And much more.Click here to buy this book now and learn the no-BS truth of how to get bigger, leaner, stronger, and healthier!
  19. 19. OTHER BOOKS BY MICHAEL MATTHEWS Bigger Leaner Stronger: The Simple Science of Building the Ultimate Male BodyIf you want to be muscular, lean, and strong as quickly as possible, without steroids,good genetics, or wasting ridiculous amounts of time in the gym, and money on supplements...then you want to read this book. Click here to learn more about this book!Cardio Sucks! 15 Excellent Ways to Burn Fat Fast and Get in Shape
  20. 20. If youre short on time and sick of the same old boring cardio routine and want to kickyour fat loss into high gear by working out less and...heaven forbid...actually have some fun...then you want to read this new book. Click here to learn more about this book! The Shredded Chef: 114 Recipes for Getting RippedIf you want to know how to forever escape the dreadful experience of “dieting” and learn how to cook nutritious, delicious meals that make building muscle and burning fat easy and enjoyable, then you need to read this book. Click here to learn more about this book!

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