You are here today reading this report because you are sick and tired of all the conflicting information out there when it come to getting jacked. Should I bulk? Should I take creatine? Is cardio going to rob me of my gains and make my legs look like a flamingo?
Fortunately for you, we are sick of it to. There are too many guys who struggle to gain size because of this terrible information and poor advice. Keep reading as we put the 5 biggest myths about gaining size to rest.
- You need to bulk to gain size
If you want to gain muscle, you must be eating in a calorie surplus. A lot of guys use this as an excuse for eating everything in sight. Unfortunately, this just makes you fat.
The best way to gain size is gradually and with realistic expectations. Muscle gains do not come as quickly as you have more training experience and as you get closer to your genetic potential. Here are some guidelines we give to all our clients at DC Health Performance with great results.
Body fat: As you get leaner, your hormonal profile is better suited for faster muscle gains. As you get fatter, you have a higher predisposition for storing calories as fat rather than muscle. What we have found best is for guys to get themselves to 10-15% body fat and then start a mass gaining program from there. Get yourself remeasured every 2 weeks to check your progress.
Protein needs: You need to be consuming around 1 gram of protein per pound of bodyweight for the best muscle gain. To calculate this, simply times your bodyweight in kilograms by 2.2 and you have your number. For example, an 80 kg guy would need to eat 176 grams of protein per day for the best results.
Calorie Surplus: Find out roughly how much you need to eat to stay at the same weight (this is while you are training. Add 350 calories a day to your meal plan (a combination of carbs and fats) and see how you go. If you don’t gain weight, do the same the next week. If you do this 3 or more times and you don’t gain any weight, its time to reevaluate your training!
Actual weight gained: This will depend on your training age, which is how long you have been training properly. Here are some guidelines we have found to be true.
1 Year: 10-12.5 kilograms of muscle – 1 kg per month
2 Years: – 5-7 kilograms of muscle – Half a kg per month
3 Years: 2-3 kilograms of muscle – 250 grams per month
4 + Years: 1-2 kilograms per year – will vary
2. You need to train one body part a day
This myth is incredibly pervasive due to the huge influence of bodybuilding magazines. Quite often they will interview pro bodybuilders about their training programs and they tell them about how they destroy one body part per day. These articles are often written about a bodybuilder just before a competition (when they are dieting and trying to lean up) or are often totally made up!
The vast majority of bodybuilders will do very different programs throughout the year based on what the goal is for that particular training phase. They have strength phases, size phases and cutting phases.
The best way to determine your training split (how often you train each bodypart/movement) is based on your training age and your strength level. Here are some guidelines.
– Can’t deadlift or squat correctly – Learn these movements first. Get a Coach and master the techniques.
– Squat, Bench or Deadlift 1x bodyweight or below, no chin ups – Do full body training. You can train these moves often and you need to to develop the skill to do the movements.
– Squat 1x bodyweight, Deadlift 1.5x bodyweight, Bench Press, 0.75 bodyweight, 3-5 chin ups – Stick to full body training, train 4 times per week and vary the movements. Squat Monday and Thursday, Deadlift Tuesday and Friday.
– Squat 1.5x bodyweight, Deadlift over 1.5x bodyweight, bench 1x bodyweight or over, 5-8 chin ups – Now is the time to move onto split training. You would have 2 upper body days and 2 lower body days. Have a look at the end of this guide to see a sample training week.
As you get past these strength standards, you will then need to start experimenting with different variables. Some people need more frequency (training a lift more frequently) and some need more intensity and more recovery (lifting a heavier weight but training it once a week). This is where having an experienced Coach can make the process far easier.
3. Low reps for size and high reps for cutting
This one is another one that keeps on sticking around no matter how many times it has been disproved.
To train for muscle gain optimally you need to do ALL the different rep ranges to for development. Here are some of the benefits of all the rep ranges.
1-3 reps: This will teach you to recruit ALL your muscle fibres and develop maximal strength. This will allow you to do higher amounts of reps with heavier weights.
3-5 Reps – This will build high levels of strength and increase the ability to recruit your muscle fibers.
6-8 reps – This is the sweet spot where strength and size meet. This is where we at DC Health Performance recommend most people spend the majority of their training times.
8-10 reps – This is the pure muscle building zone. Spend time here frequently, particularly for isolation exercises like curls.
10-12 reps – More muscle building with a little endurance. Endurance work is important to build a high work capacity so you can force your body to adapt to more work.
12-15 reps and above – This is endurance. This can be great at the end of a workout to increase blood flow to the muscles and make our muscle fibres designed for endurance bigger.
4. Cardio will destroy your gains
“If you hop on a treadmill the Cortisol will eat your muscle!”
“ Cardio is Catabolic!”
“I saw you shrink on that bike man! Your legs look like chopsticks now!”
This particular myth really grinds our gears. Cardiovascular health is extremely important if you want to be able to train with weights for a long time. After all, your heart is a muscle! With cardio we need to be aware of the benefits for muscle building and also the potential drawbacks. After we have done that, lets look at what we actually recommend to our clients. Lets look the benefits first.
- Cardio improves muscle recovery: One of the best ways to reduce DOMS (delayed onset muscular soreness) is to restore blood flow to the working muscles. Light cardio workouts are one of the fastest ways to promote recovery between intense weightlifting sessions.
– Cardio improves nutrient usage: If we perform cardio, we increase our bodies insulin sensitivity. This then allows us to use carbohydrates more effectively for improving muscular recovery and fuel usage. All good things!
- Improved performance in the gym and recovery between sets: Cardiovascular fitness allows us to recover quickly between each set and that allows us to do more work in subsequent sets. The more work we can do when we train (and at higher intensities) means the more muscle we can gain!
Now here are some of the drawbacks of cardio.
- Joint stress: Excessive cardio on hard surfaces (road running) can load your joints too heavily. If you are squatting heavy, this may overload your knees.
- Volume: Too much cardio will circumvent your gains by compromising your recovery and increasing your weekly calorie needs, detracting from muscle growth.
The cardio sweet spot: What we have found is the sweet spot for cardio training at DC Health Performance is 2-3 sessions per week of about 20-30 minutes. This is enough to improve cardiovascular fitness, not detract from muscular recovery and improve performance in the gym. Your best options are anything that is low impact to preserve the health of your joints.
5. Every set must go to failure
This particular myth is responsible for more training inspiration memes than any other. What we need to ask though is it true and is it the best way to go about training for the most optimal outcome?
The answer to this one is both Yes and No. For exercises like curls, lateral raises and other isolation exercises, absolutely. These exercises where you are fairly safe and the risk of injury is low is an ideal environment to exhaust your muscles and train to absolute muscular failure.
What training to failure sucks for is the big compound lifts like squats, deadlifts, bench presses and other moves that are similar. Training to failure in these movements is a recipe for disaster as the risk of injury is far too high.
What we recommend at DC Health Performance is that each of these exercises be done with 1-2 reps reps left in the bank. What we mean by this is that at the end of every set you should feel you could of done one or two more reps if you really pushed yourself. This will give you the best of both worlds; you will train hard enough to make gains and safe enough to not get injured.
Hopefully this little report helped you overcome so things that have been holding you back from gaining size. Now go forth and get swole!